Music: Fiddle Findings

Shiny new violins and shabby old violins were tested by Acoustical Physicist Frederick Albert Saunders of Harvard, in collaboration with Virtuoso Jascha Heifetz. Their conclusion (announced last week at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Manhattan): A Stradivarius violin, when played slowly, is not superior in tone to the best modern instruments, but responds more quickly when difficult rapid passages are played—a result probably of aging, not of the makers' skill.

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