Item #: SCP-1687
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-1687 is kept in a locked violin case in secure storage at Site 19. All non-D-class personnel that interact with it are required to be tone-deaf. D-class assigned to experiments with SCP-1687 should have at least a minimal proficiency at playing stringed classical instruments.
Any musical instrument used in conjunction with SCP-1687 or otherwise discovered to be affected by it is to be quarantined and destroyed, with the exception of a single example of each type of musical instrument, kept in long-term storage for studies on the longevity of SCP-1687's effects.
Description: SCP-1687 is a violin of uncertain provenance and age. At baseline, it appears to be in a state of great disrepair, with chipped F-holes, a partial crack through the neck, and fraying sheepgut strings. When played while in this state, the quality of music is extremely poor, in keeping with the apparent condition of the instrument.
However, when played simultaneously with other musical instrument(s), it repairs itself at a rate directly correlated to the number of other instruments and the duration and quality of the musical performance. The quality of the music it produces improves simultaneously, matching the apparent state of repair of SCP-1687. When used as part of a full operatic orchestra, SCP-1687 was able to improve from baseline to world-class1 within 17 minutes of cumulative playing. Once SCP-1687 is no longer being played, it begins to rapidly return to its baseline state, taking a maximum of 370 hours to decay from a fully repaired state.
Any musical instrument that is played with or in the immediate presence2 of SCP-1687 loses its "musicality". Any attempts to play instruments so affected will produce sounds that are sonographically identical to music as determined by computer analysis, but that no living organism will recognize as music. Tests using human beings, apes, canines, cetaceans, bees and plants all result in no discernable difference between the sound produced by affected instruments and sound produced by a white noise generator. This effect appears localized to the instruments themselves, as test subjects confirm that they remain able to hear and enjoy music produced by other musical instruments.
SCP-1687 was recovered, along with numerous affected instruments, from the ██████ Symphony Orchestra following the publication of the following review (excerpted):
The Death of Figaro
August 23, ████
Richard St. James
Last night, the ██████ Symphony Orchestra was the scene of what can only be called musical murder.
The debut performance of what has been dubbed The Lost Stradivarius was marred, nay, destroyed by what was apparently a concerted effort by all the performers to deliver the most banal, mindless backdrop of a-musical sound that this reviewer has ever heard. […] What should have been a hushed, reverential silence among the audience following the violin solo instead became a frightful scene of total loss of decorum as the remainder of the orchestra proceeded to mock all conventions of musical propriety and professionalism by "playing" (and this reviewer uses that word lightly) a faltering, confusing mess of pure unmusical sound. In shock from this abomination, individuals ranging from stately matrons to young couples began to demand the performers stop their travesty, and then rushed to demand a refund from the theater. Needless to say, this reviewer would have joined them, had he not been struck speechless by the total lack of professionalism.
It is with great disappointment that this reviewer must declare the season's opening to be a disaster hard to overcome. The only moment of purity came from the Lost Stradivarius itself, as it was played as beautifully as its name suggests. If the Orchestra is to recover their reputation after this monumentally awful opening, they will have to make every performance an apology to their abused audience. This reviewer, for one, hopes that the Orchestra manages to find their way back from the precipice of irrelevancy that this performance has brought them to.
Interviews with the violin soloist, ███ ███████, revealed that SCP-1687 was gifted to him by an anonymous benefactor, with a note instructing him to "play it well and keep the life of music flowing." Mr. ███████ further claimed that SCP-1687 was in pristine condition prior to the performance which brought it to the Foundation's attention.