Strads and shrooms

Yet another researcher has found the secret of the Stradivarius sound:

Francis Schwarze of the Zurich-based Federal Materials, Science and Technology Institute (EMPA), made a replica of a violin by the Italian master Antonio Stradivari from the year 1698, which was presented this week at the “Swiss Innovation Forum” in Basel.

Schwarze found that treating the maple wood used for the violin with “Xylaria longipes” mushrooms — which grow on the bark of trees — meant the sound quality was akin to an original Strad.

This mushroom lightly “nibbles” away at the wood’s surface, thus reducing its density and improving the sound of the violin as a result.

I love this line of research. It’s like positing that Pinky Zukerman really must be an alien. Evidently the alternative explanation – that Stradivari (like Zukerman) was simply a genius at what he did, and, as a result of talent and dedication,  did it better than anyone else, without the use of magic, space DNA, or whatever the latest hot chemical might be – is simply not interesting enough to satisfy some folks.

I’d settle for mushrooms that, when ingested, make me believe that I’m Zukerman playing a Strad.


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