The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL

Violin detectives

Dendrochronology can reveal counterfeit Stradivari instruments. Researchers compare the tree-ring pattern of the violin soundboard with that of thousands of living trees and old wood from the Alpine area. If the wood of the violin matches a more recent time period, it was not built by the Maestro.

Where the violins are born

Comparing tree rings on a violin with a master tree-ring chronology can also indicate the origin of the wood. For example, researchers discovered that Stradivari built the soundboard of his famous "Messiah" violin with wood from the same tree as another violin maker from that time.

Spruce tonewood comes from mountain forests from the Jura to the Romanian Carpathians. In Switzerland, tonewood can be found in western Jura, on the entire northern slope of the Alps, in the Grisons and in some places in Ticino and Valais.