Grit Laskin: The Stradivari Formula

Grit Laskin: The Stradivari Formula

For three centuries musical instrument makers and players have tried to reverse-engineer Stradivari violins. What was it that made them so exceptional, even among the other superb craftsmen of his era? Books and scientific papers have been written. But to this day there are only theories.

In preparation for a major musical instrument exhibit at Canada’s National Gallery, a problem is discovered on one of these Stradivari guitars. The two luthiers—guitar makers—given the task of handling the repair, discover something unusual buried in the neck where no insert of any kind is actually required. They discover a hidden fragment of a written formula, rolled into a small glass tube. The fragment’s cryptic text is in period Latin.

The discovery of this hidden fragment begins a cascade of events as the search is on for the remaining fragments, a journey that takes our Toronto-based protagonists to London, Paris, the island of Sardinia, Phoenix, Ottawa.

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