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Violinists cannot differentiate between Stradivarius and new violins, was: "golden ears"
kraut
post Jan 3 2012, 07:03
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not so golden after all:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocke...s-and-new-ones/

QUOTE
What’s more, no one has tested whether violinists themselves can truly pick up the supposedly distinctive sound of a Strad. The common wisdom is that they can, but Fritz and Curtin showed that this isn’t true. “Many people were convinced that as soon as you play an old violin, you can feel that it’s old, it’s been played a lot, and it has a special sound quality,” says Fritz. “People who took part in the experiment said it was the experience of a lifetime when we told them the results. They were fully convinced they could tell the difference, and they couldn’t.”


Having read the article first in the German "der spiegel", I do not have to wait for the usual excuse of those that will maintain those listening tests were done wrong, the wrong violins were chosen etc.etc., all the usual bull those of the golden ear persuasion come up with to not have to accept test results that speak counter to their religion that "everything influences sound and everything is audible".

QUOTE
The test was a true “double-blind” one, as neither the players nor the people who gave them the violins had any way of knowing which instrument was which. The room was dimly lit. The players were wearing goggles so they couldn’t see properly. The instruments had dabs of perfume on the chinrests that blocked out any distinctive smells. And even though Fritz and Curtin knew which the identities of the six violins, they only passed the instruments to the players via other researchers, who were hidden by screens, wearing their own goggles, and quite literally in the dark.


It seems to me reading through the article, that just about everything had been done to eliminate bias by double blind testing.

QUOTE
There are some issues with the study. Curtin, being a maker of new violins, has an obvious bias, but the double-blind design should have prevented that from affecting the results. The sample size – six violins and 21 players – is fairly small, but as large as can be expected when dealing with rare and incredibly expensive objects. There might also other variables that could affect the players’ perceptions – perhaps, for example, they might feel differently in rooms with different acoustics.


This post has been edited by kraut: Jan 3 2012, 07:08
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knutinh
post May 16 2012, 11:09
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If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the qualities of one instrument, and learning a new one will "unlearn" the appreciation of the previous one, then what does this tell us about the instruments that expert players use and advocate?

It would mean that most people owning and loving a Stradivarius have little idea if that instrument is the right choice for them. It might be that some other instrument costing 1/10th is really "better", but if they invest the required year of burn-in, they would have to compare it to the 1-year old memory of how it used to feel like playing the Strad.

Any theory is possible, but I think that this one needs some empiry before I am ready to accept it. Is it possible to make new Violins look exactly like a Strad, to the point that any perceived difference must be in the sound and physical feel? In that case, one might ask 20 violin players to make a complete swap to an unknown brand violin for a year. Give 10 players brand A, 10 players brand B, and figure out after that year who are most happy with their instrument, who are practicing the most, who use the least amount of anti-depressiva etc.

-k

This post has been edited by knutinh: May 16 2012, 11:16
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DonP
post May 16 2012, 14:33
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QUOTE (knutinh @ May 16 2012, 06:09) *
If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the qualities of one instrument, and learning a new one will "unlearn" the appreciation of the previous one, then what does this tell us about the instruments that expert players use and advocate?

It would mean that most people owning and loving a Stradivarius have little idea if that instrument is the right choice for them. It might be that some other instrument costing 1/10th is really "better", but if they invest the required year of burn-in, they would have to compare it to the 1-year old memory of how it used to feel like playing the Strad.


Do Stradivarius (or other high prestige violin) owners typically play just the one on a regular basis? For that matter, do the players generally own the instrument, or are they usually on loan from some patron/collector?
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DVDdoug
post May 17 2012, 21:34
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QUOTE (DonP @ May 16 2012, 06:33) *
Do Stradivarius (or other high prestige violin) owners typically play just the one on a regular basis? For that matter, do the players generally own the instrument, or are they usually on loan from some patron/collector?
I assume most are kept in a vault, or in a highly-secure museum-like setting. At this moment, probably only 2 or 3 are out of their vaults. If you own a $1 million diamond, you don't wear it every day, and you can't take the Stradivarius to every practice. You might not even use it for every performance… Maybe only for very-special solo performances. You can’t keep it in your closet, or lying around your music room, and you can't just grab the Strad and jump into your car, or into a taxi and drive to the concert hall without security guards.

Wikipedia has a list of instruments that includes ownership and location for many of them. I would guess that most people with the means and desire to own a Stradivarius are not violinists. Or perhaps they can "play", but they don’t feel their skills do it justice. For example, I could imagine an orchestra-conductor who knows how to play a violin, but he/she rarely if-ever performs violin in public, and he/she only takes the Stradivarius out of the vault when a master uses it to perform a very-special solo. Or, perhaps the 3rd-violinist in the orchestra happens to own one, but it would be audacious to play it himself/herself…

I know someone who has a grand piano in her house, but she can't play. As far as I know, she, nor anyone in her family, plays any instrument. It's just a beautiful piece of art (and at least once, she has hired a pianist for a party).






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Posts in this topic
- kraut   Violinists cannot differentiate between Stradivarius and new violins   Jan 3 2012, 07:03
- - hlloyge   Thank you for interesting read - I was, too, for s...   Jan 3 2012, 07:57
- - hawkeye_p   QUOTE (kraut @ Jan 3 2012, 08:03) Having ...   Jan 3 2012, 09:08
- - botface   Am I missing something here? As I read it the test...   Jan 3 2012, 13:17
- - dhromed   Did you expect a grand finale where the violinists...   Jan 3 2012, 13:36
|- - db1989   QUOTE (dhromed @ Jan 3 2012, 12:36) Did y...   Jan 3 2012, 15:25
- - kraut   QUOTE As I read it the test shows that 21 violinis...   Jan 3 2012, 15:15
|- - botface   QUOTE (kraut @ Jan 3 2012, 15:15) QUOTE A...   Jan 3 2012, 16:33
|- - Gumboot   I seem to be having some pretty serious reading co...   Jan 5 2012, 12:10
- - Porcus   Next task: Make the new violins look old, so peopl...   Jan 3 2012, 15:25
- - Takla   I think it's worth noting that the modern inst...   Jan 3 2012, 17:57
|- - Jebus   QUOTE (Takla @ Jan 3 2012, 09:57) I think...   Jan 3 2012, 19:22
|- - Takla   QUOTE (Jebus @ Jan 3 2012, 18:22) Yes, an...   Jan 3 2012, 20:28
- - bred   I've never heard a Stradivarius. But the soun...   Jan 3 2012, 18:55
- - zipr   Here's another story on it, which includes aud...   Jan 3 2012, 19:14
- - Carledwards   The biggest factor in how violins sound is who is ...   Jan 3 2012, 20:08
- - bred   QUOTE (zipr @ Jan 3 2012, 19:14) Here...   Jan 3 2012, 21:34
- - andy o   The reasonable assumption is that the instrument t...   Jan 3 2012, 21:51
- - MichaelW   This test is another piece of evidence that there ...   Jan 3 2012, 22:39
- - Takla   I didn't see any evidence that there isn't...   Jan 4 2012, 00:00
|- - MichaelW   I quite agree, Takla. I thought that was what I wa...   Jan 4 2012, 00:41
|- - Takla   QUOTE (MichaelW @ Jan 3 2012, 23:41) I qu...   Jan 4 2012, 01:13
- - kraut   QUOTE I'd noticed that thread had originally b...   Jan 4 2012, 02:00
|- - Takla   QUOTE (kraut @ Jan 4 2012, 01:00) I don...   Jan 4 2012, 02:11
|- - andy o   QUOTE (Takla @ Jan 3 2012, 17:11) But the...   Jan 4 2012, 04:18
|- - MichaelW   QUOTE (andy o @ Jan 4 2012, 16:18) QUOTE ...   Jan 4 2012, 08:06
- - kawaiigardiner   QUOTE (zipr @ Jan 4 2012, 07:14) Here...   Jan 4 2012, 07:11
- - DonP   So in the study were the new instruments brand new...   Jan 4 2012, 15:25
- - MichaelW   IIRC one was three days old.   Jan 4 2012, 17:50
- - MichaelW   @gumboot, I'd been wondering about that, too. ...   Jan 5 2012, 15:55
- - MichaelW   One reason why this test, and the few others like ...   Jan 7 2012, 02:27
|- - Gumboot   I think the test, or the write-up cited, fails bec...   Jan 7 2012, 11:46
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (MichaelW @ Jan 7 2012, 03:27) Plac...   Jan 7 2012, 13:03
- - Porcus   More references at http://www.sciencedaily.com/rel...   Jan 7 2012, 15:36
- - godrick   Has anyone posting here actually read the study it...   Jan 8 2012, 22:23
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 8 2012, 21:23) but s...   Jan 9 2012, 00:45
|- - andy o   QUOTE (Gumboot @ Jan 8 2012, 15:45) QUOTE...   Jan 9 2012, 05:54
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (andy o @ Jan 9 2012, 04:54) Well t...   Jan 9 2012, 08:18
|- - Nessuno   A hopefully interesting contribution to this threa...   Jan 10 2012, 22:27
- - godrick   We seem to be caught in a certain cycle.... http:...   Jan 9 2012, 03:45
- - godrick   ...so Zimmerman's implication is that the test...   Jan 10 2012, 23:09
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 10 2012, 22:09) ...s...   Jan 10 2012, 23:46
|- - Takla   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 10 2012, 22:09) ...s...   Jan 11 2012, 00:42
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Takla @ Jan 11 2012, 00:42) Why ca...   Jan 11 2012, 01:20
|- - DVDdoug   QUOTE (Porcus @ Jan 10 2012, 16:20) Becau...   Jan 11 2012, 01:46
||- - Porcus   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jan 11 2012, 01:46) QUOT...   Jan 11 2012, 02:11
||- - MichaelW   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jan 11 2012, 13:46) I do...   Jan 11 2012, 02:11
|- - Takla   QUOTE (Porcus @ Jan 11 2012, 00:20) QUOTE...   Jan 11 2012, 02:30
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Takla @ Jan 11 2012, 02:30) When p...   Jan 11 2012, 02:58
|- - mzil   QUOTE (Takla @ Jan 11 2012, 00:42) I did ...   Jan 11 2012, 03:35
||- - Porcus   QUOTE (mzil @ Jan 11 2012, 03:35) QUOTE (...   Jan 11 2012, 09:07
||- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (mzil @ Jan 11 2012, 04:35) Do you ...   Jan 11 2012, 09:14
|||- - Porcus   QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Jan 11 2012, 09:1...   Jan 11 2012, 17:06
||- - Gumboot   It's how they make their money, isn't it. ...   Jan 11 2012, 09:17
||- - Porcus   QUOTE (Gumboot @ Jan 11 2012, 09:17) It...   Jan 11 2012, 10:43
||- - andy o   QUOTE (Gumboot @ Jan 11 2012, 00:17) It...   Jan 11 2012, 17:25
|- - godrick   QUOTE (Takla @ Jan 11 2012, 03:30) I did ...   Jan 11 2012, 15:31
|- - Takla   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 11 2012, 14:31) I do...   Jan 11 2012, 15:53
- - andy o   The evidence contradicts Zimmerman, no matter how ...   Jan 11 2012, 00:40
- - andy o   And he was being kind of a condescending dick to h...   Jan 11 2012, 00:47
- - godrick   I am a bit surprised anyone took exception to my p...   Jan 11 2012, 15:26
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 11 2012, 14:26) Zimm...   Jan 11 2012, 23:03
- - mzil   Takla, I'm still curious to hear from you dire...   Jan 11 2012, 16:45
|- - Takla   QUOTE (mzil @ Jan 11 2012, 15:45) Takla, ...   Jan 11 2012, 22:23
- - mzil   ^Oh, OK. Thanks. I had hoped you might be able to...   Jan 11 2012, 22:56
- - db1989   Totally legitimate analogy, A+++, would read again...   Jan 11 2012, 23:08
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 11 2012, 22:08) Total...   Jan 11 2012, 23:14
|- - Takla   QUOTE (Gumboot @ Jan 11 2012, 22:14) Is t...   Jan 11 2012, 23:48
- - godrick   Takla, you continue to miss my point, so I take it...   Jan 12 2012, 05:07
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 04:07) I am...   Jan 12 2012, 09:14
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 05:07) I am...   Jan 12 2012, 19:44
- - godrick   So once one learns how to play on a certain instru...   Jan 12 2012, 18:09
|- - botface   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 18:09) This...   Jan 12 2012, 19:39
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 17:09) So o...   Jan 12 2012, 22:39
|- - db1989   QUOTE (Gumboot @ Jan 12 2012, 21:39) QUOT...   Jan 12 2012, 22:57
|- - Gumboot   QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 12 2012, 21:57) Are y...   Jan 12 2012, 23:10
- - db1989   My bad—I’m tired too many words hurt poor brain.   Jan 12 2012, 23:19
- - knutinh   If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the...   May 16 2012, 11:09
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (knutinh @ May 16 2012, 06:09) If i...   May 16 2012, 13:14
||- - knutinh   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 16 2012, 14...   May 18 2012, 10:58
|- - DonP   QUOTE (knutinh @ May 16 2012, 06:09) If i...   May 16 2012, 14:33
|- - DVDdoug   QUOTE (DonP @ May 16 2012, 06:33) Do Stra...   May 17 2012, 21:34
||- - DonP   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ May 17 2012, 16:34) You ...   May 18 2012, 03:10
|- - knutinh   QUOTE (DonP @ May 16 2012, 15:33) Do Stra...   May 18 2012, 10:27
- - Porcus   Well, if violinists cannot identify the Stradivari...   May 25 2012, 16:22
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Porcus @ May 25 2012, 16:22) Well,...   Nov 19 2012, 16:58
- - mzil   ^That was interesting. --- To all: See if you can...   May 25 2012, 17:51


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