“A great violin is alive; its very shape embodies its maker’s intentions, and its wood stores the history, or the soul, of its successive owners. I never play without feeling that I have released or, alas, violated spirits.”
Check out this fascinating article by Laurie Niles about Stradivari’s genius. I was especially struck by the realization of an old instrument’s “memory”, that, being made of wood, somehow the sound vibrations created by violin masters of old are woven into the very fibers of the instrument and recalled sympathetically when another musician attempts the same piece on the same instrument. This is partly what creates such a unique bond between player and string instrument.
See? String players aren’t all entirely crazy… 😛