. The Tartini Tones Combination tones generated by violins of good quality can be easily heard, affecting the perception of the intervals. The harmonic content of the dyad is enriched by the combination tones and this is positively perceived by the listeners. —Giovanni Cecchi, University of Florence Italian Tribune, November 17, 2022 Yes, it’s from Cremona—we’re not sure If made by Stradivarius. Who knows? Despite the sheer magnificence, the pure And bell-like vibrancy, the aural glows, There is no maker’s mark. The provenance Is vague and somewhat sketchy. It’s not nice, But dealers in old violins (to enhance The reputation and the asking price) Would say it came from Stradivari’s hand. And even if not true, the instrument Might well have all the excellence, the grand Style of that master craftsman’s sacrament. I don’t blaspheme. This fiddle channels grace. Just sit in holy silence while it’s played And hear the terzo suono (like fine lace) Intertwine tones, as if you knelt and prayed And heard angelic whispers from on high Hinting of what the sacred seraphs sing To Majesty Immortal. And you cry That you are not in their encircling ring. Those are Tartini tones. The seasoned wood Of deep Italian forests slowly growing Untouched through centuries, that had withstood The chill of countless winters’ frigid blowing Alone can give that terzo suono mix Of doubled, blended notes, and there’s no more. The forests are cut down. You cannot fix That loss, just as no person can restore The quarries of antico nero stone, Avranches cathedral, Bibliothèque Louvain, Or any precious thing for which we moan That stupid men have wrecked, for hate or gain. Perhaps this is not by Stradivari. Well, We hear Tartini tones no matter who Crafted the violin. It casts a spell Just as enchanting as those special few. The nameless maker of this violin In some ill-lit workshop with his plane, His pumice, iron moulds, and varnish tin, Wrought voiceless wood to sing against the grain. . Poet’s Note: Tartini tones are subtle resonances or vibrations produced by antique violins from Cremona, Italy, most particularly those from the workshops of Antonio Stradivari, Giuseppe Guarneri, and other neighboring luthiers. They were first identified and described by the composer Giuseppe Tartini in 1714, who called then a terzo suono (“third sound”) that enriched and deepened the played notes. Listeners and recent laboratory acoustical research both testify that these tones are audibly present in the old violins, and negligible or not present at all in modern instruments. Some persons have theorized that the wood used by these early violin makers was of an unusually dense quality, as a result of the “Little Ice Age” that afflicted the northern hemisphere from about 1300 to 1800. . . Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide. He is the editor of the literary magazine TRINACRIA and writes for Expansive Poetry On-line. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College.