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Why a Strad sounds so good

Saturday 5 January 2002

Dr Joseph Nagyvary attributes the brilliant sound of Antonio Stradivari’s violins to borax and alum, used as insecticides.

‘These chemicals were prescribed and made by the local drugstore chemist for wood treatment, and they were used by Stradivari and the other violin makers,’ Dr. Nagyvary said. ‘They did not intend it for the improvement of the sound, and that was just an accident or fringe benefit which they were not aware of at all.’
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