Hamilton Colloquium Series - Joseph Curtin, Joseph Curtin Studios: “Can Stradivari’s Sound Be Measured?”

Thu, Feb 25, 2016, 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Jadwin A10

A longstanding goal of violin research has been to establish objectively measurable parameters for violin quality. These would presumably substantiate one of the violin-world’s most passionately held beliefs: Violins made by Stradivari and his contemporaries in 18th Century Italy sound better than any made elsewhere or since. However, a team of researchers led by Claudia Fritz and Joseph Curtin have shown that, under double-blind conditions, neither professional violinists nor experienced listeners can tell Old Italian violins from new ones at better than chance levels. Moreover, players and listeners tend to prefer the new. Violin-maker, researcher, and MacArthur Fellow Joseph Curtin will discuss recent developments in violin science, and his own interest in measuring violin sound. He will also preview the team’s upcoming paper: “Objective parameters for violin quality.”