Of all the musical instrument manufacturers to have existed, Stradivarius is perhaps the most renowned and celebrated. Of the 1000+ instruments Antonio Stradivari hand crafted in the 17th and 18th centuries only around half remain. His violins in particular are often considered to possess a quality of sound that is unattainable from any other, lesser, instrument. Yet, new research suggests soloists recognised around the world actually prefer more modern instruments.
Ten “first-rate” violinists were blindfolded, as part of a study by Professor Claudia Fritz of Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, and allowed an hour to play six modern and six vintage instruments, including Stradivariuses. The results showed that six of the ten picked a modern instrument as a preference, while only three picked a Stradivarius.
You can test your ability to pick out a Stradivarius over on the Telegraph’s website. We can proudly (smugly?) say we got it bang on.
All this got us thinking. What other instruments would it be good to do a blind test with? Could you pick out a classic Technics SL-1210 Mk2 from a line up? How about a classic 50s Stratocaster?