Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fungus-treated Violin Outperforms Stradivarius

As a (former) violin player, there's something both sad and amazing about this story (ScienceDaily):

The violin they had created using wood treated with a specially selected fungus was to take part in a blind test against an instrument made in 1711 by the master violin maker of Cremona himself, Antonio Stradivarius. [...] Of the more than 180 attendees, an overwhelming number – 90 persons – felt the tone of the fungally treated violin "Opus 58" to be the best. Trusler’s stradivarius reached second place with 39 votes, but amazingly enough 113 members of the audience thought that "Opus 58" was actually the strad! "Opus 58" is made from wood which had been treated with fungus for the longest time, nine months.
There's something immensely empowering to know that this essentially democratizes the soul of a Stradivarius. On the other hand, there's a small part of me that thinks it's a bit of a small loss that a symbol of human achievement like the Stradivarius may in fact be replaceable and even superceded.

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