How good are your ears?

If you were to give a number of different violins to professional violinists in a double-blind test, do you think they could pick older instruments such as a Stradivarius or Guaneri, from newer ones?

Claudia Fritz, an acoustics physicist from France’s National Center for Scientific Research, designed such a double-blind experiment to test this.

The research team gathered 17 professional violinists in a hotel room in Indianapolis. They had six violins — two Strads, a Guarneri and three modern instruments. Everybody wore dark goggles so they couldn’t see which violin was which.

Then the researchers told the musicians: These are all fine violins and at least one is a Stradivarius. Play, then judge the instruments.  No one knew which instrument was which until after the test.

To find out how the musicians responded click here. You can also test yourself!

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