Navigation Links
Treatment with fungi makes a modern violin sound like a Stradiavarius
Date:9/7/2012

A good violin depends not only on the expertise of the violin maker, but also on the quality of the wood that is used. The Swiss wood researcher Professor Francis W. M. R. Schwarze (Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, St. Gallen, Switzerland) has succeeded in modifying the wood for a violin through treatment with special fungi. This treatment alters the acoustic properties of the instrument, making it sound indistinguishably similar to a Stradivarius. In his dinner talk at the 1st ECRC "Franz-Volhard" Symposium of the Max Delbrck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charit - Universittsmedizin on September 7, 2012 in Berlin-Buch, Schwarze reported on his research and gave a preview of what his wood treatment method could mean, particularly for young violinists.

Low density, high speed of sound and a high modulus of elasticity these qualities are essential for ideal violin tone wood. In the late 17th and early 18th century the famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari used a special wood that had grown in the cold period between 1645 and 1715. In the long winters and the cool summers, the wood grew especially slowly and evenly, creating low density and a high modulus of elasticity. Until now, modern violin makers could only dream of wood with such tonal qualities.

Professor Schwarze's developments could soon make similarly good wood available for violin making. He discovered two species of fungi (Physisporinus vitreus and Xylaria longipes), which decay Norway spruce and sycamore the two important kinds of wood used for violin making to such an extent that their tonal quality is improved. "Normally fungi reduce the density of the wood, but at the same time they unfortunately reduce the speed with which the sound waves travel through the wood," the researcher explained. "The unique feature of these fungi is that they gradually degrade the cell walls, thus inducing a thinning of the walls. But even in the late stages of the wood decomposition, a stiff scaffold structure remains via which the sound waves can still travel directly." Even the modulus of elasticity is not compromised; the wood remains just as resistant to strain as before the fungal treatment an important criterion for violin making. Before the wood is further processed to a violin, it is treated with ethylene oxide gas. "No fungus can survive that," Professor Schwarze said. That ensures that fungal growth in the wood of the violin is completely stopped.

Together with the violin makers Martin Schleske and Michael Rhonheimer, Professor Schwarze developed violins made of mycowood (wood treated with wood decay fungi). In 2009 the violins were played in a blind, behind-the-curtain test versus a genuine Stradivarius from 1711. All the violins were played by the British violinist Matthew Trusler. The result was surprising for all participants: Both the jury of experts and the majority of the audience thought that the mycowood violin that Schwarze had treated with fungi for nine months was the actual Strad. "Of course, such a test is always subjective," Professor Schwarze said. "There is no clear-cut, scientific method for measuring tonal quality."

Currently Professor Schwarze is working on an interdisciplinary project to develop a quality-controlled treatment for violin wood, with successful, reliable and reproducible results. Until 2014, within the scope of the project that is funded by the Swiss Walter Fischli Foundation, 30 additional violins shall be made from fungally-treated wood. Schwarze explained what opportunities this project can lead to: "The successful implementation of biotechnological methods for treating soundboard wood could in the future give young musicians the opportunity to play on a violin with the sound quality of an expensive and for most musicians unaffordable Stradivarius."


'/>"/>
Contact: Bachtler, Barbara
bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
49-309-406-3896
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. HIV treatment use increases in the US
2. Lyme retreatment guidance may be flawed
3. WSU/USDA scientist creates test, treatment for malaria-like sickness in horses
4. RI Hospital: Use of PMP may increase demand for drug treatment, reduce painkiller abuse
5. Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia
6. Should high-dose interleukin-2 continue to be the treatment of choice for metastatic melanoma?
7. Powerful class of antioxidants may be potent Parkinsons treatment
8. ECGs administered by paramedics can speed treatment for severe heart attacks
9. Reorganizing brain could lead to new stroke, tinnitus treatments
10. OHSU discovery may lead to new treatment for ALS
11. Real-life spider men using protein found in venom to develop muscular dystrophy treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution ... the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with ... of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of ... ID readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... , ,The global gait biometrics market is expected ... the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates ... be used to compute factors that are not ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership ... platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, ... index, and, when they opt in, share them with ... a local retail location at no cost. By leveraging ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of ... between the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at ... Ottawa , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, ... government. "In certain ... institutions have common economic goals, why not sit down and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores ... 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval ... of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the ... at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application ... team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: