News | December 06, 2011

Researchers Use CT to Recreate Stradivarius Violin

CT scan of the front of the original Stradivari Betts violin.

December 6, 2011 — Using computed tomography (CT) imaging and advanced manufacturing techniques, a team of experts has created a reproduction of a 1704 Stradivarius violin. 3-D images of the valuable violin and details on how the replica was made were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"CT scanning offers a unique method of noninvasively imaging a historical object," said Steven Sirr, M.D., a radiologist at FirstLight Medical Systems in Mora, Minn. "Combined with computer-aided machinery, it also offers us the opportunity to create a reproduction with a high degree of accuracy."

Antonio Stradivari, an Italian who lived from 1644 to 1737, is regarded as history's greatest violin maker. Of the estimated 1,000 violins Stradivari made, about 650 still exist and are highly prized for their unique sound quality. There are many theories but no simple explanation for the superiority of the Stradivarius. Many factors influence a violin's sound, from the qualities of the wood to the instrument's shape, degree of arching and wood thickness.

To create a violin with the same characteristics as the 1704 instrument known as "Betts," Sirr worked with professional violin makers John Waddle and Steve Rossow of St. Paul, Minn.

"We have two goals: to understand how the violin works and to make reproductions of the world's most prized violins available for young musicians who can't afford an original," Sirr said.

The original violin was scanned with a 64-detector CT, and more than 1,000 CT images were converted into stereolithographic files; these can be read by a computer-controlled router called a CNC machine. The CNC machine, custom-made for the project by Rossow, then carved the back and front plates and scroll of the violin from various woods. Finally, Waddle and Rossow finished, assembled and varnished the replica by hand.

"We believe this process of recreating old and valuable stringed instruments may have a profound influence upon modern string musicians," Sirr said.

Of the Stradivarius and other prized violins still in existence, many are housed in museums and are never played. Others are sold for millions of dollars to top professional musicians. The Betts Stradivarius is held in the United States Library of Congress.

Sirr, an amateur violinist, first scanned a violin with CT out of curiosity.

"I assumed the instrument was merely a wooden shell surrounding air," he said. "I was totally wrong. There was a lot of anatomy inside the violin."

After he shared those first images with Waddle in 1989, the two spent years scanning more than 100 violins—including 29 valuable instruments pre-dating 1827—and other stringed instruments to better understand their composition.

"Just like human beings, there is a wide range of normal variation among violins," Sirr said. "When you are looking at an instrument that is hundreds of years old, you will see worm holes and cracks that have been repaired, as well as damage from being exposed to all kinds of conditions, from floods to wars."

For owners of authentic Stradivarius or other prized violins, CT imaging not only provides a definitive form of identification; it also helps establish a pedigree that may increase the value of their investment.

"CT is useful in measuring wood density, size and shapes, thickness graduation and volume measurements," Sirr said. "It also provides detailed analysis of damage and repair."

For more information: www.rsna.org

Related Content

Researchers Awarded 2018 Canon Medical Systems USA/RSNA Research Grants
News | Radiology Imaging | November 13, 2018
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research & Education (R&E) Foundation recently announced the...
The Fujifilm FCT Embrace CT System displayed for the first time at ASTRO 2018.
360 Photos | 360 View Photos | November 07, 2018
Fujifilm's first FDA-cleared compu...
MaxQ AI Receives FDA Clearance for Accipio Ix Intracranial Hemorrhage Platform
Technology | Artificial Intelligence | November 07, 2018
MaxQ AI announced that its Accipio Ix intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) detection software has received 510(k) clearance...
GE Healthcare Discovery RF Gen 2 system displayed at ASTRO 2018. It is a dedicated computed tomography (CT) scanner for radiation oncology
360 Photos | 360 View Photos | November 07, 2018
This is the GE Healthcare Discovery RF Gen 2 system displayed at the ...
Results of the vertebrae-based analysis (383 vertebrae in 34 patients) for detection of BME.

Results of the vertebrae-based analysis (383 vertebrae in 34 patients) for detection of BME.

Sponsored Content | Case Study | Computed Tomography (CT) | November 06, 2018
The following is a summary of a study published in the
The NeuViz 16 Essence from Neusoft Medical Systems.

The NeuViz 16 Essence from Neusoft Medical Systems.

Feature | Computed Tomography (CT) | November 05, 2018 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
According to an industry mark...
Carestream Spotlights Healthcare IT and Imaging Systems at RSNA 2018
News | Information Technology | October 31, 2018
Carestream announced it will be displaying several imaging and healthcare information technology (IT) offerings at the...
IMRIS, Siemens Strengthen Collaboration in Hybrid OR Neurosurgical Market
News | Hybrid OR | October 24, 2018
IMRIS, Deerfield Imaging, in partnership with Siemens Healthineers, announced a strengthened collaboration to advance...
Fujifilm Unveils FCT Embrace CT System for Oncology
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | October 23, 2018
Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. recently introduced the FCT Embrace computed tomography (CT) system. Powered by...
The Aquilion Precision CT system from Canon offers very high resolution imaging, which may aid in cancer detection and improved treatment planning in radiation oncology. #ASTRO2018 #ASTRO #ASTRO18

The Aquilion Precision CT system from Canon offers very high resolution imaging, which may aid in cancer detection and improved treatment planning in radiation oncology. 

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | October 19, 2018
October 19, 2018 – At the 2018 American Society of...