Study on Stradivari Dickson violin

Instrument description

This violin is based on the Antonio Stradivari Dickson Cobett violin made in 1703.

This instrument was made in collaboration with the Laboratory of Research of Violin’s Museum of Cremona.

Luca Trapasso graduated in 2014 with a thesis carried out on this instrument.

The classification of instruments tonal quality is one of the most difficult and pursued research.
This topic becomes even more interesting because it has a protagonist so fascinating and old as the violin. The violin famous thanks to the great Italian masters. Legend says that the sound produced by their violins is also determined by the recipe of their varnishes. Nowadays, the impact of the varnish on violin timbre, quality and acoustic remains almost unknown. Strings also provide a great contribute to violin tonal quality characterization. For this reason, understanding how the strings affect the tonal qualities can help musicians research a characteristic sound.
To this purposes, we inspect how the violin responds to changes performed on several manufacturing materials. In order to do this, we extracted as much information as possible from the sound produced by the violin, correlating them with two manufacturing parameters. The first concerns the varnishing process and the second is represented by the strings physical properties and tension.
The previous studies on the effects of varnishing have provided just a few considerations.

In this paper we propose an innovative solution. We analyze the tonal changes introduced firstly by the ground coat and secondly by the varnish. The analysis are performed using frequency responses integrated with audio cues. In the same way, the impact of different string sets on sound is analyzed. Part of the results are compared with those found in known literature for validation purposes.
In addition, we identify several effects on violin quality, timbre and acoustics introduced by ground coat and varnish.
These effects can be taken into account by violin makers during the making process.
Finally, a correlation is determined between the timbral effects introduced by the strings and their tension value.
These results can be used by musicians to facilitate the selection of suitable strings to customize their sound.

You can find Luca Trapasso thesis here.