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Chemicals: Secret of the Strad’s Brilliant Sound

January 24, 2007 | Michelle Bryner

It is the chemicals—and not just the craftsmanship—that give the Stradivarius violin its “pristine” sound, say researchers led by Joseph Nagyvary, professor at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX). The wood used to make the violin in the late 17th and early 18th centuries was treated with “harsh chemicals” to kill wood worms, as well as varnishes and fillers, Nagyvary says. Researchers are still trying to determine which specific chemicals were used in treating the wood, but so far believe they are oxidizing agents...

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