Feedback/Notes

 

Latest Activity

Richard Levison posted a photo

Atheist Space Station!

Thank you China!
2 hours ago
Ian Mason commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"An interesting discussion. The point seems to be where and when to draw a line. There are European…"
5 hours ago
Stephen Brodie commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"Current Events with Stephen Fry | Self-Censoring of Scientific Publications"
10 hours ago
Stephen Brodie commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Can you imagine what would have happened to Paine if the English Church authorities had managed to…"
16 hours ago
Loren Miller commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other…"
yesterday
Richard Levison left a comment for Nikki Alenius Hanninen
""Happy Birthday!""
yesterday
Stephen Brodie commented on Chris's group Right Wing Whackos
"Right-Wing R.I.P. - The Cost of COVID Conspiracy Theories"
yesterday
Mrs.B commented on Julien's group The Music Box
"Not a favourite of mine."
yesterday
Mrs.B commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"About her granddad."
yesterday
Mrs.B commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Bald IS a hair colour!! A friend's little granddaughter said so!"
yesterday
Grinning Cat commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"And it's probably no coincidence that many who'd like to impose religion on us would also…"
yesterday
Stephen Brodie commented on Julien's group The Music Box
"The great Peggy Lee. Peggy Lee -- Is That All There Is? 1969"
yesterday
Randall Smith commented on Julien's group The Music Box
"Loren, VOCES8 rendition was nice. I couldn't find the King Singers."
Friday
Loren Miller commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position. -- Bill Maher And like bald is a hair…"
Friday
Mrs.B commented on Julien's group The Music Box
"This is music from the north-eastern part of India and not Bollywood. The language is Assamese :…"
Friday
Mrs.B commented on Adriana's group Science!
"Yes, interesting topic."
Thursday
Idaho Spud commented on Adriana's group Science!
"The Human journey was interesting.  Thanks Stephen."
Thursday
Mrs.B commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Yes!"
Thursday
Stephen Brodie commented on Adriana's group Science!
"Human journey, with Alice Roberts and Jim Al-Khalili | Humanists UK Convention 2021"
Thursday
Stephen Brodie commented on Julien's group The Music Box
" Loren very beautiful A Capella "
Thursday

We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

Professional violinists cannot distinguish between a Stradivarius and a top-quality modern instrument

This is a hybrid post, it belongs in the music category, of course, but also in a science group. What could be better than an enlightened fusion between one of the most beautiful art forms and science? As you probably all known, the old Italian Stradivarius violins have survived the test of time and are presumed to be so much better than any other violin, ancient or modern built, that professional musicians are willing to pay millions of dollars for one of them. Violinists swear that there is a huge difference between the Stradivarius and modern counterparts, and all of them when asked, declared they could tell the difference, hands down, between the sounds produced by one of these old Italian masterpieces and other top-quality instrument. But can they? A scientific experiment involving 21 professional violinists and 6 violins, 3 Strads and 3 top-quality modern violins, one of which built only a few days before the experiment. The experiment was truly double-blind, since neither the violinists nor the people handing them, the violins were played in the same dimly lit hotel room, while the musicians were wearing goggles to disturb their visual acuity, and the instruments were perfumed to remove any possible telling smells Not only were the violinists incapable of telling which one was old and which one was new, but they slightly preferred one of the new instruments over the other 5, and the least valued instrument was the most venerable and most ancient Stradivarius of all the 3 old violins. Ed Yong wrote a great article on this story, which i post below. Read through all the comments too. one of the commenters is one of the professional violinists, John Solonika, who was one of the 21 musicians participating in the experiment and says: "It was a privilege to be involved and fascinating. If, after this, you cling to picayune critiques and dismiss the study, then I think you are in denial. If 21 of us could not tell in controlled circumstances and 1500 people could not tell any differences in a hall, and this is consistent with past studies…then it is time to put the myths out to pasture."

Violinists can’t tell the difference between Stradivarius violins a...

Antique Italian violins, such as those crafted by Antonio Stradivari or Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesu”, can fetch millions of dollars.  Many violinists truly believe that these instruments are better than newly made violins, and several scientists have tried to work out why. Some suspected at the unusually dense wood, harvested from Alpine spruces that grew during an Ice Age. Others pointed the finger at the varnish, or the chemicals that Stradivari used to treat the wood.

But Claudia Fritz (a scientist who studies instrument acoustics) and Joseph Curtin (a violin-maker) may have discovered the real secret to a Stradivarius’s sound: nothing at all.

The duo asked professional violinists to play new violins, and old ones by Stradivari and Guarneri. They couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups. One of the new violins even emerged as the most commonly preferred instrument.

Ever since the early 19th century,  many tests have questioned the alleged superiority of the old Italian violins. Time and again, listeners have failed to distinguish between the sound of the old and new instruments. But critics have been quick to pick holes in these studies. In most cases, the listeners weren’t experts, and the players and researchers knew which violin was which – a flaw that could have biased the results.

What’s more, no one has tested whether violinists themselves can truly pick up the supposedly distinctive sound of a Strad. The common wisdom is that they can, but Fritz and Curtin showed that this isn’t true. “Many people were convinced that as soon as you play an old violin, you can feel that it’s old, it’s been played a lot, and it has a special sound quality,” says Fritz. “People who took part in the experiment said it was the experience of a lifetime when we told them the results. They were fully convinced they could tell the difference, and they couldn’t.”

During the Eighth International Violin Competition of Indianapolis – one of the world’s most important competitions – Fritz and Curtin persuaded six violinists to part with their instruments. Three of the violins were new; one was made a few days before. The other three had illustrious, centuries-long histories. Two were made by Stradivari and the other by Guarneri. One of the Stradivari, denoted “O1”, currently belongs to an institution, and is loaned to only the most gifted players. All three have featured in concerts and recordings, bowed by famous violinists. Their combined value is around 10 million US dollars, a hundred times more than the three new ones.

Curtin’s influence was essential in persuading people to give up such prized, fragile possessions, especially to be played by blindfolded strangers. “Joseph is a well-known person in the community and people trust him,” says Fritz. “That’s why we managed to do the study: the combination of me as the scientist and him as the violin-maker.”

Back in the lab, Fritz and Curtin asked 21 professional volunteers to play the six violins. They had played for anywhere from 15 to 61 years, and some of them were even involved in the competition as contestants and judges. They played the instruments in a dimly lit hotel room chosen for relatively dry acoustics.

Read the rest here.

Views: 369

Replies to This Discussion

I'd like to see them do the same with guitars. There has always been the thought that guitars "open up" with age. Improved sustain and tone. Supposedly caused by many factors, but still no scientific evidence that I am aware of. People pay tens of thousands of dollars for older models of guitars that could be bought brand new and for much less.

Guitars do sound different. The woods that are used, whether solid or laminates. How the bracing is designed, neck set; many many variables. When I bought mine, I was set on getting a Martin. In fact, I had a specific model that I wanted. I ended up buying one that was half the cost of the model I had picked; it sounded better to me than all the rest.

Yes, guitars are another prime target for this kind of studies. I hope someone does it. These studies are fun because they tell us a lot about how our brains "perceive" things. We convince ourselves of something, and then our perception molds to our preconceptions. Kind of like the wine study (even though it did not use sommeliers.

You'll like this A:

So much for objectivity. But results like this shouldn't be surprising. I've blogged about this before, but it's such a cool experiment that it's worth repeating. In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.

The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary vin du table. Despite the fact that they were actually being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly opposite ratings. The grand cru was "agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded," while the vin du table was "weak, short, light, flat and faulty". Forty experts said the wine with the fancy label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the cheap wine was.

I love it :-) Although I bet I would distinguish between a red and a white wine. 

So would I.

Curious,

Old aged wood  seems to have better revertave qualities.

A strativarious by name  may not exhibit the same quality as a newer aged and proprly built instrument.

An inexpensive guitar will always be in inexpensive guitar. Some musicians are able to play - even off tune and make good music. As musicians learn more about the instrument they are likely to graduate to a better quality instrument.

I think back a while ago when some -especially in country and rock mucic that off tune was a signiture of the performance.

Ron's Guitar just outside of Hermiston Oregon is a good place to have guitars repaired and purhase 'classics.'. [I haven't been there for a while].

As I recall they repair Violins, Chellos, and other string intruments as well.

I used to work on amplifiers.  I have a giant box of tubes that I picked up at a goodwill store or something such as that of course along with tube testers and what not.

The study of music accousitics is interesting - especially for people who have hearing difficulty.

I just wanted to say, I miss Adrianna.  a lot.  What happened to her?? where did she go? 
is she still out there splicing DNA and stuff?
otherwise, all these posts are very cool.   interesting.

I've been here for several years, & never seen her.

what a loss... she was a one of a kind, brilliant, kind, scientist with a very level head.   Very interesting person.  SHe was so so smart, she was scarey, hahah.

see, i used to belong here, many years ago, and now i am back, but some of the 'regulars' i once knew, are all gone.   

Many group ''owners'' never seem to show up.

RSS

© 2021   Created by Atheist Universe.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service