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Concert violinists 'can't tell a Stradivarius from a new violin'

Concert violinists have been found unable to tell the difference between a multi-million pound Stradivarius and a violin made last week.
This is according to research from the University of Paris, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Claudia Fritz asked 21 musicians to play six different violins; three modern instruments and three by Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu, made in 1700 and 1740 respectively.
They played the instruments in a random order in a darkened room and ranked them according to their playability, projection, response and quality of sound, the Guardian reported.
Ms Fritz even had the violins dabbed with perfume to disguise the aroma of the older instruments.
However, the results were perhaps surprising, as the violinists preferred the playing quality of the new instruments and even ranked one of the 300-year-old Stradivarius as their least favourite.
The musicians were also unable to identify if their favourite instrument was old or new, the news provider reported.
“It doesn’t matter if the violin’s old or new, all that matters is whether it’s a good violin or a bad violin,” Ms Fritz said.
“Many modern violin makers are doing a great job.”
Speaking to the Guardian, secretary of the British Violin Making Association Kai-Thomas Roth put the iconic status of Stradivarius down to “myth-making”, claiming that musicians will blame themselves if they cannot get a good sound out of a Stradivari, yet will dismiss a modern instrument if it does not work for them.
Last June, one of the most well-preserved Stradivarius violins, the Lady Blunt, was sold at auction for a record £9.8 million. It was once owned by Lord Byron’s granddaughter, although has been in possession of collectors for most of its life.
It is thought that there are around 600 Stradivarius violins that remain in existence.

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