The Stradivarius violin gets its name from master craftsman Antonio Stradivari. When he died in 1737, his secrets died with him: No one has ever been able to duplicate the sound of the violins or violas he made.
His instruments have taken on a mythical quality. Today they fetch millions of dollars at auctions; Sotheby's will soon auction off a viola that it expects to sell for $45 million.
Nearly 300 years after the death of Antonio Stadivarius, the classical music world is paying up more and more millions for his violins. Â And audiences attend concerts advertised more for their instruments than those playing them.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks: should fiddles be calling the tunes?