- Total Numbers of Musical Instruments Made By Antonio Stradivari: 1,116
- How Many Stradivarius Violins Made? : 960
- How Many Stradivarius Violins Are Left in the World? : Estimated 200
The exceptional craftsmanship that the Stradivarius violins are known for has made them one of the most valuable instruments ever made by man. Its ingenuity cannot be replicated even with numerous attempts from experts. There is no exact explanation of why it produces such beautiful sound with distinctive clarity despite the advanced technological knowledge that we have today.
Millions of dollars being paid during a bid for an original Stradivarius violin is no longer a surprise. However, there are those who are still skeptical if the brilliance of the Strad is a myth that musical experts have tied to its name. Studies after studies have been made about its unique sound, and there are no definite conclusions as they vary from one another. During blind comparison studies conducted between the Strad vs. new violins, some experts say that the sounds of newly made violins are clearer. However, some would still choose the superiority of the Strad. While most people agree that musical taste is subjective, the legacy of supreme quality of Stradivarius violins will continue until proven otherwise. There is only one other luthier that commanded quite the same respect given to the maker of the Strad but not as popular, and that is Guarneri.
Who Created the Stradivarius Violin?
The famed luthier, Antonio Stradivari, was believed to have been born between 1644 and 1649 in Italy. Most of his childhood facts are debatable due to conflicting stories, and even his apprenticeship in other shops are all but theories. There was no paperwork that can validate all the claims before he started making his own violins. However, dedicated researchers have found a connection between Antonio Stradivarius to other luthiers such as Amati, Rugeri, and Guarneri. They were all master luthiers during those times because of some similarities in the little details in his violin design.
He established a musical instrument shop in Cremona, Italy, which is famous for violin making shops. While he was famous for the brilliance of his violin-making ingenuity, his skills were not limited to violins but also other instruments. In fact, music antiquity experts have estimated there were about 1,116 musical instruments that were made from Antonio Stradivari’s shop back in the 17th century.
How Many Stradivarius Violins Been Made?
The 960 instruments were violins, and the rest were violas, cellos, guitars, and harps. Unfortunately, out of that number, only about 650 are in existence right now, and only over 200 violins were accounted for. All his instruments were labeled, “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno (date),” which is why all his work are popularly called Stradivarius or Strad.
How Much Is the World’s Most expensive Strad Violin?
It is not surprising that the most expensive Stradivarius violin is worth $20 million when it was appraised due to its pristine condition as it has been rarely played. It can be found in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology aptly named “Messiah Stradivarius” donated by the family of W.E. Hill & Sons for preservation purposes. The donor believed that the violin would serve as the benchmark for future violin makers and inspire them to produce high-quality instruments.
The Genuine and Fake Stradivarius
When it comes to the Strad, the Latin label, “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno [date],” that can be found on it is not enough to validate its authenticity. When inspired copies were made of the violin, the makers purposely put the label not to deceive but to indicate when it was made. The label can guide music enthusiasts to easily identify that what they are buying is just a copy of the original Strad during those times. However, the labels often confused people today, and some are even scammed to believe that what they have are originals.
As in any type of rare objects, the Stradivarius violins’ authenticity can only be validated through detailed testing by experts. There are music enthusiasts that can easily see through the faked ones just by looking at it, but it would be best to seek a Strad’s expert’s opinion. There are certain parameters that a violin needed to go through to be declared an original Stradivarius violin, such as wood material, varnish texture, form, and other intricate details.
Not everyone has access to violin experts, and if one is seeking legitimate Strad expertise, the best way is to send photographs of the violin to the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, Inc. and ask any member for help.
What Makes Stradivarius Violins Special
Mineral-infused Maple wood has been used to make the Strad. Some studies were made, and it is believed that those minerals are the reason why it is quite challenging to replicate Stradivarius violins. It made a huge difference in the kind of sound that they produce that even if violin makers of today would use the same geometry and type of wood, they will not achieve the same result.
Brightness and Brilliance Tones
If there are consistent words that often described the high-frequency tones that Strad violins have been known to produce, it would be brightness and brilliance. It behooves many people, including those in the violin-making business, that up to this day, no violin can emit the same tonal qualities which are often compared to the female voices.
Decades have passed, but the debates about Antonio Stradivari’s secret continue and even science have their own conclusion. One study concluded that the wood that was used to create Strads was treated with chemicals, including calcium, aluminum, copper, and many more. However, no one can absolutely say that it has a direct connection to the exquisite sounds that come from the instrument. The study also cannot pinpoint for certain if the Stradivari family of violin makers would intentionally treat their wood or if the wood was treated in the forest even before they were cut and sold.
The worth of a Stradivarius Musical Instrument
If a musical instrument has been proved to be made from Antonio Stradivari’s shop in Cremona, it would certainly fetch millions of dollars. The amount would highly depend on its condition and the date of its creation. It is said that instruments made during Stradivarius’ golden years are more valuable than those he made in his later years. His advancing age has definitely affected his work. While the instruments were still tremendous and possess such superiority when compared with other violins, they have lesser quality when compared with his earlier work.
In the past decade, we see Strad violins attract many buyers during auctions, and some can fetch from two million dollars to 20 million dollars. Violinists will continue to be in awe of its ingenuity. Even if some modern studies try to debunk the uniqueness of the superb sound of the Stradivarius violins, its legacy will remain unparalleled.