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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 01:06 GMT
Row over Stradivarius 'secrets'
Auction-winning Stradivarius violin, The Hammer
In May, a Stradivarius violin called The Hammer sold for $3.5m
The professional descendants of "the king of violin-makers" have dismissed research that claims to have unmasked Antonio Stradivari's secret.

The Italian crafted over 1,000 violins, violas and violoncellos in the 1700s.

Experts have struggled to explain why the instruments sound so much better than anyone else's.

Researchers in the US said this week they believe a Stradivarius owes its distinct sound to a chemical treatment designed to kill woodworm and fungi.

But the BBC's Mark Duff in northern Italy says today's violin-makers in Stradivari's hometown Cremona - a small city in the floodplain of the river Po - are unimpressed.

One current violin-maker and restorer said it was absurd to try and reduce Stradivari's unique musical gift to a chemical reaction.

"What was the point of trying to dissect the beauty of a Strad?" asked another.

"To do so would be like trying to fathom the depths of Michelangelo's genius."

Earlier this year a Stradivarius violin, made in 1707, broke the record for the amount paid for a musical instrument at auction, selling for $3.5m (1.8).

Stradivarius tops auction record
17 May 06 |  Entertainment
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Stradivarius' sound 'due to Sun'
17 Dec 03 |  Science/Nature
Stradivarius sells for 767,200
11 Nov 03 |  Entertainment
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13 Nov 02 |  Entertainment


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