Chemicals used for soaking wood include borax, zinc, copper, alum, and lime water. The instruments they made remain the gold standard today in terms of acoustic quality. Our world-renowned violinist, like violinist Joshua Bell, has always supported a Stradivarius. But scientists have been debating for years about why these instruments have such a great sound. A recent article in Angewandte Chemie confirms a 2006 theory: The secret lies in the chemicals used to soak the wood, including borax, zinc, copper, alum, and lime water.
I've written a lot about this in the past. The unique (perceived) sound cannot be caused by geometry alone, although the extraterrestrial engineering approach has given us the violin's signature shape. One hypothesis is that Stradivarius may have used alpine spruce that grew during a period of unusually cold weather, bringing the annual growth rings together and packing the wood densely. Another popular theory about shellac is that Stradivarius used an ingenious mixture of honey, egg white, and gum arabic from desert trees—or perhaps salt or other chemicals.
Then again, the difference might be all on our minds. Musician preference is very subjective, and there is evidence of the game's so-called "psychic static": that is, we are very surprised by the name Stradivarius. It affects how one evaluates or responds to a Stradivari voice. Tools. In fact, a 2012 double-blind study of 21 experienced violinists found that most people prefer playing newer instruments. Stradivarius ranks last in his preferences. Most of them cannot distinguish between old and new tools, without an important relationship between the life of the tool and its monetary value. Rather than searching for a Stradivarius 'mystery', future research should focus on how violinists rate instruments, what particular musical properties are most important, and how these properties relate to the measurable properties of the instruments, whether old or new. It is used to treat the wood - not necessarily the wood itself - which was responsible for the unique sound of the Stradivarius violin. In particular, these were salts of copper, iron, and chromium, all of which are excellent wood preservatives, but which may have altered the acoustic properties of the devices as well. He based his findings on studies using infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance to study the chemical properties of many violin back panels (the back panel being the largest resonant component).Ad Zoom/close-up of the statue of Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) in Corso Garibaldi, Cremona, Italy. Elena Pichini / Fototeca Gilardi / Getty Images
In 2007, physicist George Besinger of East Carolina University used 3D laser scanning to precisely and quantitatively measure the acoustic properties of many Strad violins—principally how they vibrate to produce these sounds. He draws the sky. Basinger suspended each of the five violins with elastic bands, then hammered the top plate with a small hammer while recording and measuring the vibrations with a scanner.
He specifically wanted to measure what was inside the plane. And off-screen movement: Movement on the screen is a source of a lot of sound energy, and this translates into off-screen movement, which produces the rich tonal sounds we associate with good violin. In addition, he hired a first-class violinist to play each violin used in the study for an hour to obtain the sensory instruments and then provide a mental evaluation of each one. Then the mental analysis of the musician was compared to the objective vocal data. According to Bessinger, the measurements obtained were sufficient to reconstruct the hardness properties of the wood used to make the Strads. CT Scan
In 2008, Brand Stoll of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands partnered with Luthier named Terry Bormann to perform a multi-band CT scan using multiple instruments. The goal was to study the density of the wood used, because the difference in the density of the wood affects the efficiency of vibration and thus the production of sound. Stoll developed a computer program that calculated lung density in people with emphysema and adapted it to study wood density by computed tomography.
There is a significant difference between the average wood density of the classical and modern violin used in this study. However, the density difference between the initial and late-growing wood grain in the classical violin Kerman was much smaller compared to the modern violin. The authors conclude: "Our results clearly document substantial differences in raw material properties between the timbers used by classic Cremonese and modern builders." Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). They studied how the chemical composition of the varnish, the thickness and the degree of penetration of wood affect the acoustic instrument.
As I wrote to Gizmodo in 2016: Norway poplar is cut from a tree and covered with different types of varnish: two made by themselves and two by German violin makers. They then performed vibration tests on the samples over time and used X-ray tomography to measure the effects.
Researchers have found that all varnishes increase wood's wettability - that is, how well it absorbs and stops the vibrations of this additional damping, resulting in a warmer, softer sound than unpainted wood. beautiful. The preferred German Lutheran varnish performed slightly better in this area and also produced better acoustic radiance (higher tones). Maple. Their analysis showed evidence of chemical treatments in the form of aluminum, calcium, copper and other elements. Thanks to the decomposition of a woody component called hemicellulose, the Stradivari and Guarneri instruments used in this study contained 25% less water than modern instruments. "It's fundamentally important because the lower the humidity, the brighter the sound," Nguyari told the New York Times. "In 2007 at Christie's in New York." src="https://safirsoft.com/picsbody/2109/10306-2.jpg" alt="https://safirsoft.com This study confirms that the Stradivari super sound is generated by the lock" srcset="https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp- content / uploads / 2021/09 / strad1.jpg 2x "> Magnification / Violinist Adrian Pinte played in 2007 at the 1729 Stryhouse known as "Solomon, formerly Lambert" in Christie's, New York. Dan Emret / AFP / Getty Images
This latest study analyzes rare chemicals used in maple wood to make Stradivari and Guarneri acoustic panels. This study included a rare collection of cremon wood specimens of poplar and maple used by Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati, followed by modern poplar and maple, ancient Chinese law wood and ancient European violin. .
They found traces of borax and various mineral sulfates in wood samples between 1600 and 1750. As David Piersan explained in Forbes:
Borax is also known as sodium borate. It is produced naturally in evaporative sediments that are created by repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. Borax is still used in a variety of laundry and household cleaners to this day, and in the past was also used as an insecticide and fungicide to kill pests. Copper and zinc sulfate, often associated with copper ores, is likely to serve as a purpose. Alum, an evaporative mineral containing sulfur, aluminum, potassium, and sodium, was added to the mixture to create a weakly acidic environment in the wood and to prevent mold growth. Halite, the common salt, as a moisture control, keeps the wood very dry for germs and fungi, while preventing hardware from deforming due to moisture fluctuations.
This is welcome news. Nagyori is the author of this latest article. "This new study shows that Stradivari and Guarneri have their own unique way of processing wood, to which they can attach great importance," he told Texas A&M Today. "They understood that the special salts they used to impregnate wood also gave it useful mechanical strength and acoustic benefits. These methods were kept secret. There were no inventions at the time. How to tamper" It was impossible to guess wood in chemicals by examining the final product. visually.” “First, we need a few dozen examples, not only of Stradivari and Guarneri, but also of other builders of the Golden Age (1650-1760) in Cremona, Italy,” he said. “There must be a better collaboration between the original restorers of antique musical instruments, And the best makers of our time, the scientists who conduct experiments, often spare their spare time."
DOI: Angewandte Chemie, 2021. 10.1002 / ani.202105252 (About DOIs).
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