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WHAT did the Fritz test achieve ?


Carl Stross
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To my mind this :

It showed that SOME violin players of unknown skill and perceptive powers would take home SOME modern violin in preference to SOME old Cremona after testing them for a VERY short time in a SMALL hotel room.

New makers got some publicity and confidence tricksters intending to sell "Strads" in small hotel rooms know the testing time should not exceed a minute or so.

Was there anything we didn't know from before ?

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New makers got some publicity and confidence tricksters intending to sell "Strads" in small hotel rooms know the testing time should not exceed a minute or so.

The assumption that the outcome would change if the players had more time is yours, and was not part of the testing procedure or it's conclusions. Your conclusion, and the language used to express it betray your prejudices. ;)

Actually, as happened once before, it sounds like someone else (someone specific, with a recognizable writing style) is feeding you your lines. :D

Was there anything we didn't know from before ?

That would depend on what you mean by "anything", and who you mean by "we".

To some people, the whole notion that Strads etc. aren't necessarily superior to new instruments may be new. To others, that notion, or the trend emerging from various tests may not be new, just the supporting data from this test.

One thing that was new for me personally:

Under those test conditions, I actually expected the musicians to do better than they did at making distinctions between the instruments. If I'd had to take a guess before the test, I would have guessed that the musicians would get old/new around 75% right.

I also expected that the players would do significantly better at determining old from new than listening audiences have done under similar time constraints in the past, but it looks like that hasn't been supported.

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What it proves is that there will never be a consensus on or proof of which is better. Because 'better' is in the ear of the listener and in the hands of the player and despite all our similarities everyone is different and everyone has a different perception. You might as well try and analyze whether a sunset is prettier than a sunrise.

hmm... I started to say something more controversial regarding clothes and emperors but never mind.

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To me it proves that after 300 years of trying things out in search of the sliver bullet, from wood cooking to tap tuning, etc, etc, New makers still aren't able to beat an old Italian man and an Italian drunkard, maybe there is no silver bullet? Or maybe you have to be drunk to make a good violin? Now that I would like to try :P

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Walter Van Der Hee wrote that "New makers still aren't able to beat an old Italian man and an Italian drunkard". Well, if so, we makers would never sell instruments to players who possess a fine old Cremonese instrument, and that is not true... Just sold a viola to fine player who former instrument was a 400K dollars fine Cremonese 18th century viola.

The Fritz test proved that old and contemporary instrument can be good.

We could make a MANFIO test to prove that both old and contemporary instruments can sound darn bad too, depending on the instrument. It would be easy to find instruments to this test, I think.

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The assumption that the outcome would change if the players had more time is yours, and was not part of the testing procedure or it's conclusions. Your conclusion, and the language used to express it betray your prejudices. ;)

Actually, as happened once before, it sounds like someone else (someone specific) is feeding you your lines. :D

That would depend on what you mean by "anything", and who you mean by "we".

To some people, the whole notion that Strads etc. aren't necessarily superior to new instruments may be new. To others, that notion, or the trend emerging from various tests may not be new, just the supporting data from this test.

One thing that was new for me personally:

Under those test conditions, I actually expected the musicians to do better than they did at making distinctions between the instruments. If I'd had to take a guess before the test, I would have guessed that the musicians would get old/new around 75% right.

I also expected that the players would do significantly better at determining old from new than listening audiences have done under similar time constraints in the past, but it looks like that hasn't been supported.

David, nobody is feeding me any lines. And have courage and say it loud : WHO would ?

And I do not have any prejudices. I would always prefer a new violin over an old one IF the new one sounds and plays as well.

My take is that the test was intended to be a publicity stunt. No "scientific" stuff could've possibly been gathered. As a publicity stunt it was counterproductive because the common man understands now that the only way to beat the old Cremonas is to play them for a minute, in a small hotel room while wearing welding glasses....

And another point : we know Strad and DG were there. WHO were the others ? Who was the winner and WHO were the LOOSERS ?

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My take is that the test was intended to be a publicity stunt. No "scientific" stuff could've possibly been gathered. As a publicity stunt it was counterproductive because the common man understands now that the only way to beat the old Cremonas is to play them for a minute, in a small hotel room while wearing welding glasses....

:lol: If we want to know how the common man views this, I think it would be best to ask him. If we want to know what the test was intended to show, or did show, I think it would be best to take it from the report, or ask the researchers. Unless either group has appointed you as their spokesperson. ;)

The type of environment where the instruments were tested is very, very familiar to most musicians and soloists, probably even more familiar to traveling soloists than a stage.

And another point : we know Strad and DG were there. WHO were the others ? Who was the winner and WHO were the LOOSERS ?

By applying some simple deductive reasoning, I think you can figure out on your own why many things were done the way they were. A few clues:

Was this intended to be a competition between new makers?

Had the new makers been identified, wouldn't people be more likely to view it as a publicity stunt?

What would have been one of the first criticisms of the test, had the old instruments not been identified by maker, to place them among the names most strongly associated with the most positive legends?

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There's an incredible amount of tilting at windmills going on here ....

The test wasn't a publicity stunt - it happened over a year ago, and when the results were published in a leading American scientific journal, the press seized on the story. I don't think the reserachers can be blamed for this!

The Fritz-Curtin experiment is/was part of an ongoing body of research aimed at assessing violins more from the perspective of a player than the perspective of a dealer, collector or armchair expert.

Why is everyone getting their knickers in a twist - no-one's being forced to do anything. The results of the experiment are presented in a very modest way and are hardly earth-shattering.

READ THE S**DING PAPER!

If it says anywhere "Strads are crap" I will happily self-immolate on YouTube ....

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:lol: If we want to know how the common man views this, I think it would be best to ask him. If we want to know what the test was intended to show, or did show, I think it would be best to take it from the report, or ask the researchers. Unless either group has appointed you as their spokesperson. ;)

By applying some simple deductive reasoning, I think you can figure out on your own why many things were done the way they were. A few clues:

Was this intended to be a competition between new makers?

Had the new makers been identified, wouldn't people be more likely to view it as a publicity stunt?

What would have been one of the first criticisms of the test, had the old instruments not been identified by maker, and confirmed as belonging to the "highest reputation" group?

Both groups appointed any of us as their CRITICS the moment they published the results. It works like that, no point in getting all upset about. The alternative would be "researchers" conducting studies and outsiders being prosecuted for not agreeing with their conclusions.

Of course this was not intended as a competition amongst new makers but even you might agree that Antony was not allowed to present his best work while the new makers WERE. Not fair !!! And nothing is changed by assigning the old violins to the "highest reputation" group. What EXACTLY is this group ? Nobody knows. Too vague.

Anders Buen is more in touch with these things and I'd like to read his comments : what was SCIENTIFIC about this test ?

And another point : if there was no agenda then why have the editor of The Strad magazine trying out the violins in a SMALL hotel room, for a couple of minutes or so while wearing welding glasses ? Some staff member, maybe. But The Editor ???

THAT was not a good ideea...

I always thought that the bussines of The Editor is to sell ad space not to take part in taking sides.

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As before, read the relevant copy and then comment .... you don't seem to be taking this seriously to the extent of actually reading and absorbing the data or the commentary from those involved.

Maybe this wasn't covered to your liking on other threads ... is that why you've started another?

The editor of The Strad very definitely didn't take sides, she wasn't asked to - though she did reveal an overall preference for what tuned out to be the Guarneri.

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There's an incredible amount of tilting at windmills going on here ....

The test wasn't a publicity stunt - it happened over a year ago, and when the results were published in a leading American scientific journal, the press seized on the story. I don't think the reserachers can be blamed for this!

The Fritz-Curtin experiment is/was part of an ongoing body of research aimed at assessing violins more from the perspective of a player than the perspective of a dealer, collector or armchair expert.

Why is everyone getting their knickers in a twist - no-one's being forced to do anything. The results of the experiment are presented in a very modest way and are hardly earth-shattering.

READ THE S**DING PAPER!

If it says anywhere "Strads are crap" I will happily self-immolate on YouTube ....

It doesn't need to say that. But it IMPLIES a lot of other things. Among those the fact there is an "expert" in these matters called Fritz who can scientifically set out to prove...NOTHING.

Let me repeat SO THAT YOU CAN UNDERSTAND : the test shewed that SOME modern violins may be perceived as better than SOME old violins when they're tested in a SAMLL hotel room, for a couple of minutes, while wearing welding glasses by SOME people.

Mind you that the players who matter ( long list here...) voted quite consistently over the past 150 years or so. Some of those, by the turn of the last century used to play three concerts per night. ( No Sony and juicy recording contracts, yet )

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As before, read the relevant copy and then comment .... you don't seem to be taking this seriously to the extent of actually reading and absorbing the data or the commentary from those involved.

Maybe this wasn't covered to your liking on other threads ... is that why you've started another?

The editor of The Strad very definitely didn't take sides, she wasn't asked to - though she did reveal an overall preference for what tuned out to be the Guarneri.

What DATA are you talking about ?

It's irrelevant if The Editor took sides - she should not've taken part.

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Under those test conditions, I actually expected the musicians to do better than they did at making distinctions between the instruments. If I'd had to take a guess before the test, I would have guessed that the musicians would get old/new around 75% right.

I tallied the verbal responses from the paper: 6 correct, 10 incorrect, and 8 no opinion. This is does not differ significantly from random guessing.

Identifying the old instrument in each pair has three components: two skills and one pre-condition. First, you have to be able to hear a difference between the instruments. Then to identify which one is old, you have to remember or guess the difference between new and old violins. It could be that the subjects heard a difference, but that many of them were simply confused about old vs. new. The assumption or pre-condition, of course, is that there is a systematic difference that applies to all or most of the instruments in question. This study does not support that assumption.

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The Fritz-Curtin experiment is/was part of an ongoing body of research aimed at assessing violins more from the perspective of a player than the perspective of a dealer, collector or armchair expert.

It has proved to me (not for the first time) that, where five hundred people debate something like this, there will be four hundred and ninty eight opinions - and two people, who agreed first off-line to take a united stand on the matter, will strongly agree on the outcome.

This is simply food for thought.

And nothing out of the ordinary.

"Armchair experts" - guffaw!

(yes, we are all perfectly well represented here, There are bound to be only a few true experts at any time evaluating these results, and their second-hand answers, assuming that they weren't there, are most likely about as bias- free or objective as anyone elses is in this regared... including the arnchair experts.)

I haven't participated much if at all yet in this discussion, because discussions like this always seem interesting, and yet futile.

Carry on.

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