The Science of Siren Songs: Stradivari Unveiled - A Conversation with Joseph Curtin

by Howard Burton (Author)
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This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and master violin maker and acoustician Joseph Curtin, recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. This in-depth conversation explores Curtin?s long quest to characterize the sound of a Stradivari violin and the rigorous series of double-blind tests he and his colleagues developed to probe whether or not professional musicians can really tell the difference between a Stradivari and a modern violin. The conversation also covers violin acoustics and how Joseph Curtin marries acoustic science to the art of violin making and merges time-honoured techniques with new materials and design.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Finding What You?re Looking For, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:
I. Finding One?s Niche - Becoming a violin maker
II. Confronting Biases - Measuring a mystery
III. Characterizing Sound - Towards objectivity
IV. Making Modern Violins - In search of a new aesthetic
V. The Future Awaits - Digital violins, new books and more

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series:

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert through a focused yet informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website:

Book details

Publication date
January 11, 2021
File size
1 MB