Joseph Curtin

The Science of Siren Songs: Stradivari Unveiled is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and master violinmaker and acoustician Joseph Curtin, recipient of a prestigious 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:

  1. Finding One’s Niche – Becoming a violin maker
  2. Confronting Biases – Measuring a mystery
  3. Characterizing Sound –  Towards objectivity
  4. Making Modern Violins – In search of a new aesthetic
  5. The Future Awaits – Digital violins, new books and more


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