Superiority of Stradivari Violins: Fact or Myth? What Can Science Tell Us?

Lecture and Recital at Brookhaven Lab, December 18

1715 Stradivari violin enlarge

1715 Stradivari violin: shape of how the violin back vibrates at 471Hz

UPTON, NY — Fan-Chia Tao will present recent research on "Superiority of Stradivari Violins: Fact or Myth? What can science tell us?" at a lecture and recital at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Wednesday, December 18, at noon in Berkner Hall. Sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates, the event is free and open to the public. All visitors to the Laboratory 16 and older must bring a photo I.D.

The violins made by Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri 'del Gesu' 300 years ago are considered the finest violins ever made and are worth millions of dollars today. These violins also hold special fascination for scientists, who have tried to figure out what makes them so special. In this lecture and recital, Tao will describe some of his latest research done in collaboration with violin makers and scientists. He will show results from the 2006 Strad3D project, which was the first time the mechanical vibrations of a violin were measured in all three dimensions, giving further insight into how a violin produces its sound. Tao will also discuss the double-blind 2010 'Indianapolis' old-versus-new violin experiment which generated enormous controversy and received worldwide media attention when published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tao is an accomplished violinist and also holds engineering degrees from California Institute of Technology and Princeton University.  He is the director of research and development at D'Addario & Company where he designs musical strings. He is active in the violin acoustics world, organizing meetings, workshops, and research projects, and is a frequent guest speaker on strings and violin acoustics.

Violinist Aaron Boyd will add audio illustration to the lecture with short musical selections on an old Italian violin and a violin made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz, a Brooklyn violin maker whose instruments are played by soloists and professional musicians. Boyd has played on many of the greatest violins in the world.  He was a member of the Strad3D project team and participated in the 'Indianapolis' double-blind test.  A member of the acclaimed Escher String Quartet, Boyd will share his extensive experiences of playing violins made by Stradivari and Guarneri.

Call (631) 344-2345 for more information.

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