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.”
The test was a true “double-blind” one, as neither the players nor the people who gave them the violins had any way of knowing which instrument was which. The room was dimly lit. The players were wearing goggles so they couldn’t see properly. The instruments had dabs of perfume on the chinrests that blocked out any distinctive smells. And even though Fritz and Curtin knew which the identities of the six violins, they only passed the instruments to the players via other researchers, who were hidden by screens, wearing their own goggles, and quite literally in the dark.
There are some issues with the study. Curtin, being a maker of new violins, has an obvious bias, but the double-blind design should have prevented that from affecting the results. The sample size – six violins and 21 players – is fairly small, but as large as can be expected when dealing with rare and incredibly expensive objects. There might also other variables that could affect the players’ perceptions – perhaps, for example, they might feel differently in rooms with different acoustics.
Having read the article first in the German "der spiegel", I do not have to wait for the usual excuse of those that will maintain those listening tests were done wrong, the wrong violins were chosen etc.etc., all the usual bull those of the golden ear persuasion come up with to not have to accept test results that speak counter to their religion that "everything influences sound and everything is audible".
As I read it the test shows that 21 violinists comparing 6 violins - both double blind and sighted - failed to favour the ones with the highest reputation.
They played each instrument for a minute, and said which they preferred. Unbeknownst to them, each pair contained an old violin and a new one. For the most part, there was nothing to separate the two, and the players preferred the new instrument as often as the old one
Did you expect a grand finale where the violinists don sunglasses and walk away in slow-motion from an exploding violin workshop?
QuoteAs I read it the test shows that 21 violinists comparing 6 violins - both double blind and sighted - failed to favour the ones with the highest reputation.I guess not everybody is good at reading comprehension.There is no "special" distinguishing sound that makes those violins special, they could not distinguish between an "old" and a "new" violin. QuoteThey played each instrument for a minute, and said which they preferred. Unbeknownst to them, each pair contained an old violin and a new one. For the most part, there was nothing to separate the two, and the players preferred the new instrument as often as the old oneI find this article especially interesting - for those I have to spell it out to: because if there is no distinguishing sound that you can seperate an old violin from a newborn one.....and then there are those who can distinguish between amplifiers, losless codecs, dacs, cables, pennies on top of your speaker.....
Joseph Curtin has been building violins and violas since 1978. His body of work includes museum-quality replicas of Old Italian instruments, personal models based on those of Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu, and innovative instruments reflecting 21st century design and aesthetics. His clients include some of the most distinguished artists of our time.
I think it's worth noting that the modern instruments are not just any new violin that was lying around, they are brilliant replicas, made by someone with over 30 years experience of reproducing those ancient instruments. The maker of the modern instruments is Joseph Curtin. From his website http://www.josephcurtinstudios.com/READinstruments.htm QuoteJoseph Curtin has been building violins and violas since 1978. His body of work includes museum-quality replicas of Old Italian instruments, personal models based on those of Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu, and innovative instruments reflecting 21st century design and aesthetics. His clients include some of the most distinguished artists of our time.
Yes, and the claim being tested here is that violins produce a richer sound as they age. So the ideal scenario would have been brand-new strads compared to classic ones; obviously not possible.
Here's another story on it, which includes audio samples:http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/...e-strad?ps=cprs
I quite agree, Takla. I thought that was what I was saying. It was certainly what I meant to say.
I'd noticed that thread had originally been inappropriately entitled "golden ears" (yawn)
However, the many blind tests from 1817 to the present (as of 2006) have never found any difference in sound between Stradivari's violins and high-quality violins in comparable style of other makers and periods, nor has acoustic analysis.
I don't give a flying fuck about your yawning......The term golden ear stands because .... but with those that defend their indefensible stance contrary to evidence commenting about those tests.
But the test wasn't about people making unreasonable claims and refusing to see reason or accept surprising results.
It described people who were willing to submit their ideas and opinions to empirical analysis, and who met the results with good grace and good sense.