Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 78, Issue 14, pp 19115–19139 | Cite as

What do luthiers look at? An eye tracking study on the identification of meaningful areas in historical violins

  • Piercarlo DondiEmail author
  • Luca Lombardi
  • Marco Porta
  • Tommaso Rovetta
  • Claudia Invernizzi
  • Marco Malagodi


Stylistic analysis of artworks is an important practice in the field of Cultural Heritage. Over time, significant stylistic characteristics have been identified for paintings and sculptures, but not for historical musical instruments. Even if various stylistic features of instruments are well known, their importance for attributing an instrument to its maker remains unclear. In this work, we propose a study carried out in relation to 34 luthiers’ examinations recorded with an eye tracker. Our goal was to find which regions of a violin are most closely observed by experts during the attribution process. The retrieved data were used to create a multimedia presentation that shows a violin in the same way in which luthiers look at it. This application can be employed for knowledge dissemination (e.g,. inside museums) or as an educational tool for students of violin making schools. The experiments were carried out on a series of images of 17th-18th century historical violins kept at the “Museo del Violino” in Cremona (Italy).


Eye-tracking User study Education Multimedia presentation Cultural heritage Historical violins 



We would like to thank “Fondazione Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari”, “Friends of Stradivari”, and “Distretto Culturale di Cremona” for their collaboration. We also thank all the luthiers and volunteers who participate in the experiments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CISRiC - Arvedi Laboratory of Non-Invasive DiagnosticsUniversity of PaviaCremonaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Mathematical, Physical and Computer SciencesUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Musicology and Cultural HeritageUniversity of PaviaCremonaItaly

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