"Behind that Stradivarius je ne sais quoi ( something that cannot be adequately described or expressed) , the authors of the new paper suggested, was a bath: the lost art of giving violin and cello wood an extended chemical soak. “This type of chemical seasoning was an unusual practice,” the scientists wrote, “unknown to later generations of violin makers.” "It was not possible to determine who would have conducted such a treatment. But the researchers had a hunch that Italian wood sellers bathed their lumber — before the violin makers began their work — to stave off worms and rot". "The mineral bath, coupled with three centuries’ worth of high-frequency vibrations, could have altered the wood fiber structure. “In their current state, maples in Stradivari violins have very different chemical properties compared with their modern counterparts, likely due to the combined effects of aging, chemical treatments and vibrations,” concluded the Taiwanese scientists".