Listener evaluations of new and Old Italian violins

Bridging the Divide : A Conversation with Professor Jim Woodhouse

By Joseph Curtin

“At the stately, historical William Penn Hotel in the once-sooty, now cleanly-scrubbed city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, members of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers gather for their 2005 convention: three days of lectures, exhibitions, panel discussions, and banquets. A distinctly British voice among the generally North American mix belongs to Jim Woodhouse, a Cambridge scientist and one of the most highly respected figures in violin acoustics. Woodhouse has been flown in to talk about his recent work on the violin bridge. In its published form, the work is highly technical, but Woodhouse has the rare ability to explain complex ideas in cheerful, workshop English. He also has a genuine interest in how violinmakers approach their work:”

The Strad

The Indianapolis Experiment

By Joseph Curtin

“Two years before Guadagnini’s death in 1786, King Louis XVI of France appointed a committee directed by Benjamin Franklin to investigate Franz Mesmer’s claims for the healing powers of "animal magnetism," then being used to treat Marie Antoinette. "Mesmerists" were asked to identify trees, flasks of water, and other objects previously filled with "vital fluid." They could not. This was the first blind-test on record, and it provides early evidence of what we now call the placebo effect.”

The Strad, November 2012