What makes Stradivarius violins such superior-sounding instruments?



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    While it is obviously a lot due to the skill of the maker, Antonia Stradivari (and his descendents), there are some theories about the materials that may explain their superior sound. One theory is that, due to a period of low solar activity and therefore colder temperatures in Europe (the Maunder minimum little ice age from 1645 to 1750), trees had stunted growth and therefore denser wood. Another theory about the dense wood, which has been examined under x-ray, is that it came from the dense maples of northern Croatia. Some chemicals may also have improved the sound quality, including borax, fluorides, chromium and iron salts.

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