Shepherd Stradi: The Thomas Edison of Violin Strings

In early 16th century Italy, a shepherd named Stradi was unsatisfied with the strings on his violin as they made a high-pitched, grainy, squealing noise, not a noise for a quiet shepherd such as Stradi.

The shepherd tried many filaments ranging from strips of bark to cricket legs strung together – after all, crickets make beautiful noises when they rub their legs together. After making the first string from 53 crickets, Stradi became discouraged when he had three more strings to go and no more crickets.

Stradi searching for a violin string on one of his helpless lambs.

Months passed by and one day a horse came to graze in the pasture near Stradi’s sheep. Stradi sauntered over, lifted up two hairs from the horse’s tail and rubbed them together. What beautiful music followed! Stradi played long into the night. That fateful night changed the course of violin history and the lives of future junior high students.

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