Owning a Stradivarius is the dream of every violinist, but buying one will set you back to the tune of millions. In a feat that will strike a chord with any musician, US scientists have used computer technology to recreate the legendary instrument.
A team of radiologists and violin makers used computed tomography (CT) to create over 1,000 images of a 1704 original Stradivarius violin. The 3D images they received were read by a special machine, which carved a new identical instrument. The violin makers then assembled and varnished the replica by hand.
The result follows the original in every detail, including the tiniest cracks, wood thickness and shape – all factors which affect an instrument’s sound.
It’s hoped the news will be music to the ears of violinists around the world. Besides helping uncover the secret of the Stradivarius’ sublime sound, it will give musicians a chance to purchase their own replica – if not for a song, then at least at affordable prices. The makers say their work could have a profound impact on modern string music.
Hailed as the world’s greatest violin maker, Italian Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) produced around 1,000 instruments. Some 650 have survived and are extremely highly valued: a sale this June saw one go for a record $15 million.
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