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Highlights

Learning the finer points


Researchers had used the synchrotron micro-tomography technique to unlock a Guadagini’s tiniest secret, showing also a full and detailed description of the different modifications applied to the violin during the years.
F. Zanini , The Strad January  vol 123 pp. 36-41 

X-ray computed tomography (CT) is becoming a common technique for the structural analysis of ancient manufacts of cultural relevance, providing luthiers, art historians, conservators and restorators with a unique tool for the characterization of musical instruments. CT-derived information aid in the replication of original masterpieces and have an important role in the valuation, insurance, and identification of valuable stringed instruments.
The value of an historical instrument may decrease considerably if a defect or repair is discovered. For example, a violin with a crack in the sound post region of the back plate is conventionally valued at only 50% of the same instrument without the defect. Moreover, it is well known that many serious abnormal conditions may be concealed with glue, filler material, retouch, or varnish. Abnormal conditions that affect bowed stringed instruments include cracking, warping, and wormholes (caused by the infestation of larvae).

Unfortunately, conventional tomographic systems are not able to reach the desired spatial resolution (i.e. between 10 and 50 microns) or are able to analyse a whole instruments due to the reduced field of view of X-ray detectors and/or the dimensions of the commercial X-ray hutches. After the first feasibility studies, carried out at the SYRMEP beamline of the Elettra synchrotron laboratory in Trieste, showing the advantages and evaluating the effectiveness of synchrotron radiation X-ray microtomography, the first analysis of a instrument of historical importance (the 1735 violin by Giovan Battista Guadagnini) has shown the full potential of the technique.

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Learning the finer points,  F. Zanini The Strad January  vol 123 pp. 36-41 
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2012 18:24