In a lecture in Salt Lake City, the Texas A&M University professor said that the chemical used by the famed Cremonese violinmaker filled in gaps in the porous wood, making it harder. The effect was completed by Stradivari's unique varnish.
"I have proven more or less that the refinement of sound comes from a variety of chemical tricks that were not done by Stradivari himself, but by the local drugstore that developed a manner of preserving against the wood worm," Nagyvary said. "The drugstore chemist was the unsung hero."
Salt Lake City violinmaker Peter Prier was unconvinced. "After 250 years, the old materials are totally dry and open," Prier told the Tribune. "That is the difference."
Physicist Colin Gough, meanwhile, said that he attributed the sound of Cremonese violinists to the quality of the wood used and the skill with which the instruments were assembled.