A Web Of Notes: Violinist Uses Spider Silk

Mar 11, 2012
Originally published on March 11, 2012 11:05 am
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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's hard to tell the difference - and I'm not sure I can - but we're listening to the sound of violin strings made from spider silk.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The spider-silk violin strings were made by a Japanese scientist and violinist Dr. Shigeyoshi Osaki. He twisted thousands of individual strands of the spiders' silk to form the strings.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The silk came from 300 female Golden Orb spiders - known for their intricate and strong webs - so strong that scientists say its three-times tougher than the Kevlar in a bulletproof vest. Dr. Osaki says that because the strands are so tightly compressed, the strings produce a unique tone.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Even professional musicians are praising the soft and soothing timbre of the spider silk strings. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.