Research about Modern vs. Contemporary Violin
Setting aside the historical value of these magnificent instruments, many scholars have questioned whether violins made by the great luthiers of the modern era are genuinely better than those crafted by contemporary luthiers. Another question raised by scholars was to discover the secret of the ancient masters in creating their true works of art.
According to some violinists, the significant difference between old violins produced by the best luthiers of the time and those made today is the strength of these instruments in a concert hall.
In a study conducted by American and Dutch researchers using computer tomography, it was discovered that the wood density used in those ancient times was more homogeneous than the raw materials used in making violins today. Scientists already knew that a tree, in its natural growth, produces rings of different colors, but they found that the density of the growth rings in the wood used in older instruments was significantly lower.
In this way, it is possible to explain the superior sound of ancient violins with differences in density levels, which could affect vibration and, consequently, the sound itself. This is a point of discussion when analyzing what is distinct in the acoustics of modern violins and contemporary violins.
On the other hand, several studies have shown that these centuries-old violins are not necessarily superior to modern ones. There is no doubt that these violins not only have excellent construction quality but also hold significant historical value.
However, many internationally renowned violinists prefer modern instruments, considering their excellent high sound quality.
Among the various studies comparing modern violins, some built more than 300 years ago, with contemporary violins, one stands out, conducted by the University of Paris. It demonstrated that most of the 21 professional violinists participating in a simple test could not distinguish the difference in sound between various types of violins, old and recent.
What was even more curious was another result when they were asked which of the instruments they had played they would like to take home. The musicians’ response was surprising: they preferred contemporary violins.
The preference of many musicians for old fine violins is part of human imagination and traditions that describe these true works of art as unsurpassed instruments and creators of beautiful sound.
These violins created by great masters of the past are true icons that can be worth millions of dollars. However, violins built today by well-known international luthiers can be just as good or even superior to those from the modern era.
Price and Market Value for Modern and Contemporary Violins
Modern and contemporary violins’ price ranges and market values can vary significantly. Modern violins, often crafted by skilled luthiers with established reputations, may command higher prices, especially if they carry the legacy of renowned makers. In contrast, contemporary violins may offer a wider price range, influenced by factors such as the luthier’s reputation, materials used, and the instrument’s uniqueness. Some contemporary instruments, especially those made by emerging luthiers, can be more affordable, making them accessible to a broader range of musicians. Demand from musicians, collectors, and investors influences the market for both modern and contemporary violins, which can impact pricing and market value.