A controversial 2010 experiment,
which attempted to find out how easily players could distinguish
new violins from old Italians, is to have a follow-up. The study's
authors have announced that the new experiment will take place in
September at a venue on the outskirts of Paris, France.
Instead of violinists testing instruments within the confines of a hotel room, the follow-up study will allow them to perform on a concert-hall stage. The 400-seat Auditorium Jean-Pierre Miquel in Vincennes - a hall with well-regarded acoustics - has been chosen as the venue for the experiment. In addition, the designers have put out a call for 'expert listeners', such as string players, violin makers, conductors, sound engineers and music critics, to participate in the experiment by recording their own responses to the trials while seated in the auditorium.
Luthier Joseph Curtin, who was involved in the design of the original experiment, said that the conditions and parameters for the follow-up were still under discussion. However, factors that may be tested in the trials are: how closely a player's estimation of an instrument's projection corresponds with that of a listener; how much a listener's opinion depends on where they sit in the hall; and whether instruments that are quiet under the ear can indeed project well.