A record amount, $3,544,000, was paid for a Strad on this day in 2006

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STRAD (strad)

A violin made by the Italian luthier, Antonio Stradivari

Common clue: Fine fiddle; Valuable violin, for short; Cremona collectible; Priceless instrument; Precious strings

Crossword puzzle frequency: 3 times a year

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Antonio Stradivari (1644? - December 18, 1737) was an Italian luthier (maker of violins and other stringed instruments), the most prominent member of that profession. The Latin form of his surname, "Stradivarius" - sometimes shortened to "Strad" - is often used to refer to his instruments.

Antonio Stradivari was born in the year 1644 (by some sources also in 1649 or 1650) in Cremona, Italy to Alessandro Stradivari and Anna Moroni. Probably in the years 1667 through 1679 he served as a pupil in Amati's workshop.

In 1680 Stradivari set up for himself in the Piazza San Domenico, and his fame as a instrument-maker was soon established. He now began to show his originality, and to make alterations in Amati's model. The arching was improved, the various degrees of thickness in the wood were more exactly determined, the formation of the scroll altered, and the varnish more highly coloured. His instruments are recognized by their inscription in Latin: Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno [date] (Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, made in the year ...). It is generally acknowledged that his finest instruments were manufactured from 1698 to 1725 (peaking around 1715), exceeding in quality those manufactured between 1725 and 1730. After 1730, some of the instruments are signed sub disciplina Stradivarii, and were probably made by his sons, Omobono and Francesco.

Apart from violins, Stradivari also made harps, guitars, violas, and cellos — more than 1,100 instruments in all, by current estimate. About 650 of these instruments survive today. Antonio Stradivari died in Cremona, Italy on December 18, 1737 and is buried in the Basilica of San Domenico in Cremona.

His instruments are regarded as amongst the finest stringed instruments ever created, are highly prized, and still played by professionals today. Only one other maker, Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, commands the same respect among violin soloists.

Other famous Stradivarius instruments are the Davidov Strad, a cello currently owned and played by Yo-Yo Ma, and the Duport Strad cello owned by Mstislav Rostropovich. The Soil Strad of 1714 is owned by virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, and many consider it among the finest of all Strads.

The world's two largest publicly-accessible collections of Stradivari instruments belong to the King of Spain, consisting of two violins, two cellos, and a viola, exhibited in the Music Museum at the former Royal Palace (Palacio Real) in Madrid, and the U.S Library of Congress' collection of three violins, a viola, and a cello.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Antonio Stradivari".

9 Th- >1 08 Fine fiddle AMATI

8 Tu+ >1 06 Valuable violin, for short

6 Th- >1 05 Valuable violin AMATI

5 We >1 08 Fine fiddle, for short

4 >1 97 Valuable fiddle

4 Th >1 04 Cremona product, for short

2 Tu >1 92 Famed fiddle

2 We CSy 01 Famous fiddle, familiarly

2 Th- >1 99 Fine violin AMATI

2 Th- >1 04 Expensive violin, for short

2 Th LAT 05 Priceless instrument AMATI

2 Th >1 00 Precious strings AMATI

2 Th WSJ 03 Fancy fiddle

2 Th >1 01 Pricey strings

2 Th >1 97 Cremona collectible

2 Sa- LAT 04 Dear fiddle

03 Fancy violin, for short

03 Fine instrument, familiarly

1 Mo NYT 87 Fine violin, for short

1 Tu NYT 06 Costly strings

1 Tu NYT 01 Expensive violin, briefly

1 Tu LAT 99 Rugged rock

1 Tu NYT 95 High-priced violin

1 We CSy 09 Finest of fiddles, for short

1 We CSy 09 Short violin?