Were woodworms the key to Stradivarius success?

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A plague of woodworm and a handy local
drugstore were the secrets behind the extraordinary
success of the Stradivarius violin, a scientist

For centuries, historians of music, instrument makers
and chemists have been trying to decipher how Antonio
Stradivari, working in the small Italian town of
Cremona three centuries ago, was able to make violins
whose acoustic qualities have never been surpassed.

Theories abound as to how Stradivari worked his magic.

Did he have some special glue? Did his maple come from
old cathedrals? Or did it come from trees that had
grown during a mini-Ice Age in Europe and whose
bunched-up rings would have made for a denser wood?

But a study published on Thursday in the British
journal Nature by a Hungarian-born scientist who has
been exploring the Stradivarius enigma for decades
gives the lie to such thinking.

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