Pure Chemistry: Scientists Uncover the Secret of the Magic Sound of the Stradivarius Violin

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Pure Chemistry: Scientists Uncover the Secret of the Magic Sound of the Stradivarius Violin

They say that musical instruments made by Antonio Stradivari sound special. Incredibly easy, magical, as if they were playing themselves, without the participation of a violinist.

Therefore, there are an incredible number of hypotheses about the reasons for this effect: they allegedly made strings from the insides of lambs, and used special Tyrolean wood for the body, and covered them with special furniture varnish, and their shape is ideal.

But this is all guesswork.

Scientists went further and naturally took a unique Italian instrument for research. Biochemist Joseph Nagiwari for another 40 years suggested that the secret of violins lies much deeper than form and material – it lies in the plane of chemistry! And this was confirmed, but only now.

“Probably, the craftsmen realized that the salts they used gave the wood additional mechanical strength and acoustic advantages,” he explained. “They kept their methods secret, because then there were no patents yet.

It is likely that the unique effect of Stradivarius violins was achieved by accident. When craftsmen, to protect tools from worms, impregnated the wood from which the tool was made with a special chemical composition: from borax, alum, copper, lime water (calcium hydroxide solution) and zinc. Nagiwari and his colleagues (led by chemist Hwang-Ching Tai) believe that no one else has done this, and that is why the secret may lie in this: “It gave the instrument useful mechanical strength and acoustic advantages.”

However, the scientist has to conduct a number of additional studies to make sure that the version is correct.

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