Applied Physics/Physics Colloquium: Violin Science

image of 3D laser scanning project, 'Titian' Stradivari
Violin Science, Can Stradivari’s Sound be Measured?
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Hewlett 200
Joseph Curtin (Joseph Curtin Studios, Ann Arbor, MI)
Abstract / Description: 

A longstanding goal of violin research has been to establish objectively measurable parameters for violin quality. Doing so 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. Over the past five years, 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, both players and listeners tend to prefer new instruments. Violin-maker, researcher, and 2005 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."


Held Tuesdays at 4:15 pm, in the William R. Hewlett Teaching Center, room 200 (see map). Refreshments in the lobby of Varian Physics at 4:00 pm.

Autumn 2014/15, Committee: A. Linde (Chair), L. Hollberg, B. Macintosh & Young Lee