Tree Rings Shed Light on a Stradivarius Mystery

Must Read

History is revealed in tree rings. They have been used to determine the ages of historical buildings as well as when Vikings first arrived in the Americas. Now, tree rings have shed light on a longstanding mystery in the rarefied world of multimillion-dollar musical instruments.

By analyzing the wood of two 17th-century stringed instruments, a team of researchers has uncovered evidence of how Antonio Stradivari might have honed his craft, developing the skills used in the creation of the rare, namesake Stradivarius violins.

Mauro Bernabei, a dendrochronologist at the Italian National Research Council in San Michele all’Adige, and his colleagues published their results last month in the journal Dendrochronologia, and their findings are consistent with the young Stradivari apprenticing with Nicola Amati, a master luthier roughly 40 years his senior. Such a link between the two acclaimed craftsmen has long been hypothesized.

In the 17th and early 18th centuries, Stradivari created stringed instruments renowned for their craftsmanship and superior sound. “Stradivari is generally regarded as the best violin maker who ever lived,” said Kevin Kelly, a violin maker in Boston who has handled dozens of Stradivarius instruments.

Latest News

More Articles Like This