Via NPR - Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

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Jeff White
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Via NPR - Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

Post by Jeff White » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:26 pm

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecaden ... -the-strad

I spent 10 minutes on this between listening and reading the article (without cheating by looking at the answer at the end!). I totally got it right and I'm pretty psyched about it. In the end I went with what sounded better to me. but I had to really critically listen. They are really close.

Jeff
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joelpatterson
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Post by joelpatterson » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:49 am

I heard that yesterday, and it sounded to me like the first one, especially at the very start, was harsh and scratchy, whereas the second one had a smoother tone throughout.

It was a great relief when they announced the "winner," I was on the edge of my seat...
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KoffeeKommando
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Post by KoffeeKommando » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:23 pm

The article didn't mention if the two violins had gut or steel strings.

Check out these two videos.
Steven Isserlis with the Academy Of Ancient Music.

Interview:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXz8UGOO40k

Watch this video (especially 2:40 on). They play the slow section from the CPE Bach piece:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd72VBTz ... re=related

Steven uses a 1700's Stradivarius cello with gut strings. It sounds so kick ass.
The Academy Of Ancient Music normally uses only period reproductions instruments with gut strings. They also try to have the players use no chinrests and no endpins for the cellos. This gives a more original sound.

I watched a perfectly recorded HD video from Musica Antiqua Koln after this and could not stand the way it sounded. They used all steel strings to play Bach. It killed the music. AAM spoiled me.

Pretty eye (ear?) opening stuff.

Another great video of them practicing. Hear Bach the way it was meant to be played:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLab3p8I ... ature=plcp
Last edited by KoffeeKommando on Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

standup
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Post by standup » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:28 pm

Heh. And they should only be recorded with a sheet of staff paper and a quill pen. Strictly vintage.

KoffeeKommando
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Post by KoffeeKommando » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:52 pm

standup wrote:Heh. And they should only be recorded with a sheet of staff paper and a quill pen. Strictly vintage.
Imagine 24 guys from the Studer family (of course) furiously writing away.....

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Post by fuzz » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:48 pm

I got it right too, but I wouldn't have bet more than a fiver.

I would be interested in seeing them do a similar double blind test, but with various groups of people. One with audio engineers, one with acousticians, audiophiles, conductors, ect. to see if the ratio of people who were right to wrong was consistent or changed.

It would seem there are more factors at play with actual violinists as the test group (ie playablility, feel, ) than just a critique of only the sound being judged.

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:32 pm

I think the point about gut strings is really important. My dad had this amazing bass molding away in the basement when I was a kid. (I was told, by a really great/knowlegeable) bassist that it might have been worth $10k, if fixed up a little. The back was one piece of wood?!) It had one gut string (no other strings on it) and I could play that thing for an hour just because it sounded so good. Warm like a fucking camp fire. So mellow it was exciting.
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