May 9 (UPI) -- Can you tell the difference between the notes of a modern violin and one built by famed violinmaker Antonio Stradivarius?
New research suggests most listeners can't discern a difference between the instruments, and those who do often prefer the sound of the modern violin.
Claudia Fritz, with the French National Center for Scientific Research, had 137 study participants, some in Paris, some in New York, listen to nine pairs of violins, one old and prestigious, the other modern. Listeners, who could not see either violin, were asked to determine which boasted superior sound projection and which sounded best to their ears.
More listeners preferred the notes of the modern violin to those played by a Stradivarius violin. Modern violins also outperformed the famed Italian-made instruments in sound projection.
The new research was published in the journal PNAS.
"The new violins projected better than the Stradivaris whether tested with orchestra or without, the new violins were generally preferred by the listeners, and the listeners could not reliably distinguish new from old," scientists reported.