Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Violin Test

I just ran across this piece on Deceptive Cadence about comparing old violins with modern ones. Go read the article, but play the clips comparing the two instruments before going on. What was your conclusion? Mine was that while both instruments sound fine, the second one sounded older because the sound was warmer and more open. This commentor came to the same conclusion:
As a a bassist and composer, I found the test to be rather easy. However, I was not listening for which violin sounded "better", rather I was looking for the warmth of sound that an older violin (not necessarily a Strad)would provide; an instrument that has been vibrating for a long time. The first violin had a nasal quality in the mids that gave away the fact that is was a newer instrument. If you were to ask which I liked better, I would say that either instrumetn would sound wonderful in the hands of a truly gifted player
It really didn't seem that difficult to hear. As a guitarist, I have played a lot of instruments, though none 300 years old! Older instruments have a different, less 'edgy' sound than new ones. So I'm a bit puzzled that the violinists participating in the study were so unable to tell the difference. New instruments are 'tight' and need to be 'played in'. And this is without even getting into the question of the absolute quality of the Cremona builders.

UPDATE: Here is another article on the same test:


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