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Musician Keeps Precious Violins in Shape

In Cremona, Italy, where most experts believe history's best violins were made, Andrea Mosconi has the tall task of keeping the precious instruments in shape. For the past 30 years, six days a week, the old musician has gone to the museum in Cremona's city hall where the 300-year-old violins are stored in display cases. Each morning, before the museum opens to the public, Mosconi plays each violin for 6–7 minutes. He starts with basic music scales and then makes his way to Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Bartok. Over the course of an hour, he plays three violins by the Amatis, two by the Guarneris, and four instruments—3 violins and a cello—by Stradivari.

Why does Mosconi do this day after day? A violin needs to be played to perform at its best level. "The wood gets tired," explained Karl Roy, a German violinmaker and one of the field's top experts. "It's the same as with a human being. If you just sit and rest in your comfortable chair, when you get up after a while, you will feel crazy."

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