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Old or new? Violinists can't tell, says study

Published on Apr 9, 2014 6:12 AM
The 300-year-old Stradivarius violin that was taken from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster in an armed robbery is pictured in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a news conference after it was recovered on Feb 6, 2014 . -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A centuries-old Stradivarius, or a shiny new violin? Aficionados often say that older instruments sound better, but a scientific study has found that actually, expert players preferred new ones.

Soloists were also unable to tell the difference between new and old violins at any better rate than simple chance, said the study in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ten professional violinists were asked to choose from six old and six new Italian violins, and decide which they would pick to replace their own for an upcoming tour.

The musicians were unaware which instruments were old or new, and the new ones were antiqued to give the appearance of age.

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