Music is the only truly universal human language. It lives on its own, and each instrument that produces a tone is essentially a separate being. One of the most important families of musical instruments is the famous Stradivari family. It is known that every manufacturing step and every material used can affect the final appearance of the instrument and its sound. However, the oldest legendary pieces often remain shrouded in mystery.
With modern scientific methods, however, it is possible to reveal various production processes that remained forgotten for many years. Using the SNOM method, it was possible to analyze microscopic samples and thus get an idea of the chemical composition of the individual layers of the tool. Finally, it was possible to answer the questions regarding the use of protein-based substances that were used in the manufacture of Stradivari violins in the past.
In the past, stringed instruments from the Stradivari workshop were often the subject of research, but individual studies sometimes produced contradictory or inaccurate results, whether due to the need to take only a microscopic sample or other limitations of the method used.
The s-SNOM method also reliably detected traces of proteins – components of substances with which the surface of the tool was treated: amide I and II bands are clearly visible in the spectra. Similarly, other substances were also identified as individual components of varnish and other layers. From the measurement results, it can be seen that the s-SNOM method is a valuable tool that not only allows us to develop the materials of the future, but also to reveal the secrets of the past and its genius masters. You can read the details of the study here.