View Full Version : SUMMARY: music performers

04-13-1998, 12:56 AM
Hello all,

I want to thank to all who sent an answer to my message about
the music performers.
Here I am attaching the messages I have got (some of then are edited).

Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 15:38:20 -0600
Subject: music performers
Hello all,
I met a pianist today, we were talking about music performers, their need of
fitness when they play for large period of time sessions, stress, postures,
and the performer biomechanics. He teaches at National School of Music and
he would like promote some studies on this mater.
I wonder if there is someone who have got some references about biomechanical
research (also fitness) on music/instrument performance (piano, violin, cello,
flute, conductor, etc.).
I would appreciate any help, advise or tip.
Thank you and greetings.
1) From: Lammerse
I have been doing biomechanical work with trombone players for almost 20
years. A number of articles have been published on our research. Let me know
if you are interested.
Mark Lammers, Ph.D.
Gustavus Adolphus College
Saint Peter, Minnesota USA

2) From: "rafael lujan"
Hola Matilde.
No se si te sirva esta infomacion pero en Florida State University hay
de la mejor investgacion en "expertise". Una area de enfoque es musicos
expertos. No se la direccions pero si buscas en el homepage,
www.fsu.edu en el departamento de psicologia bajo
Anders Ericson y Andreas Lehman encontraras mas informacion.
Si necesitas mas informacion, escribeme a toylujan@hotmail.com

3) From: takeo@biomech.mech.tohoku.ac.jp (Takeo Matsumoto)
Dear Mat,
As an amateur flautist, I am also very much interested in biomechanics
in music, although I have not done anything about this subject so far.
(I am doing research on cardiovascular biomechanics, especially
on mechanics of arterial wall.)
Please send me or post the summary of the information you will receive
from your recent posting. Thank you very much in advance,
*********** Takeo MATSUMOTO (takeo@biomech.mech.tohoku.ac.jp) ***********
Biomechanics Lab, Grad School of Mech Engng, Tohoku Univ, Aramaki-Aoba
Sendai 980-8579, JAPAN Phone:+81-22-217-6944(diect)/Fax:+81-22-217-7027

4) From: Martha Hyde
Dear Mat,
Enclosed is the only reference I could find in my reference manager software:
1. Harding, D.C., Brandt, K.D., and Hillberry, B.M. Finger joint force
minimization in pianists using optimization techniques. J.Biomech.
26(12):1403-1412, 1993.
my notes say that they used infra-red LED's.
Martha L. Hyde

5) From: "Martha Jack,PhD"
There was an article about the ergonomics of clarinetists in an issue
of The Clarinet last year. This is the quarterly publication of the
International Clarinet Association.
The front cover of the advertisement for Novel pressure transducers
has a soprano saxaphonist playing from a wheelchair. I have heard of a
custom key placement for musicians who have lost digits, but this is
Each musician has their own unique ergonomical challenges that are
constantly solved. There are thumb rests that have been designed for
clarinetists. There are piano/organ benches that can be adjusted for
different height performers. There are string basses that have
extensions to accommodate smaller players. Some trumpets have the bell
pointing different either up or down, having the tube bent, so that the
players' embochure will be accommodated for and they can see the music
(if music is used) when their eyesight has been altered. There are
mouthguards for single reed players. Etc.
There have been biomechanical studies done on musician, but they
aren't prevelent.

6) From: "James F. Kramer"
Dear Matilde Espinosa-Sanchez:
In response to your research interest in the biomechanics of musical
performers, I'd like to make you aware of a hand-measurement device, called
the CyberGlove(R). The CyberGlove measures up to 22 different joint angles
of the hand and wrist, and could provide valuable static and dynamic
information about how a musical performer (or even a conductor) moves their
fingers and wrist while playing the piano, violin, cello, flute, etc. The
CyberGlove is a lightweight, flexible Lycra glove with sensors that
accurately measure joint movement at data rates of more than 100 Hz. The
fingertips of the glove are open so a performer could play their instrument
unencumbered. Using the CyberGlove along with our data-recording software
routines, you could easily take hand data on a performance and replay the
data back through a graphical reconstruction of the hand, or do spectral
analysis in Matlab.
Additionally, we have considered adding pressure-sensing pads to the
fingertips of the CyberGlove so you could determine joint-stress
information, but we haven't made it commercially available yet. Let me
know if you would find such a pressure-sensing option valuable.
If you'd like more information on the CyberGlove, please refer to our web
page at http://www.virtex.com, or email me directly, at kramer@virtex.com.
I wish you the best of luck with your research endeavors.
James F. Kramer, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Virtual Technologies, Inc.
Palo Alto, CA U.S.A.
tel: +1.650.321.4900 x520
fax: +1.650.321.4912

7) From: Jeffrey_E_Lewin@notes.seagate.com
Some research has been done at the University of Minnesota's Division of
Kinesiology related to violin playing. Oakner, et al. did a study on chin
rest forces and I believe she addressed general biomechanics as well. You
can e-mail the Director, Dr. Michael G. Wade, at mwade@maroon.tc.umn.edu
for more information.
-- Jeff

8) From: "Michael Dancisak"
Ola, M. en C. Matilde Espinosa-Sanchez
Look at the web site listed below, there is a unique piece of information
regarding violin biomechanics. Contact Dr. Thomas Kernozek at the
University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. Good Luck.
Mic Dancisak
Concordia University
Department of Kinesiology
275 Syndicate Street North
St. Paul, MN 55104-5494
(612) 603-6175

9) From: "Ian Kremenic"
I don't have any studies for you, but I run a website that has a page
on Cumulative Trauma Disorders and Musicians. It is in the Physical
Therapy Corner of the NISMAT website, and can be reached at:
It includes some references.
I hope this is somehow helpful.
Ian Kremenic, M.Eng. ian@nismat.org
Research Assistant/Network Admin. http://www.nismat.org
Nicholas Institute for Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma

10) From: Patrick J Ellis
Two good databases you should try are Medline and NIOSHTIC:
On Medline a strategy like the following should get you going:

#1 1240 "Music"/ all subheadings
#2 1019 #1 in mjme
#3 16476 explode "Occupational-Diseases"/ all subheadings
#4 4471 explode "Human-Engineering"/ all subheadings
#5 106580 explode "Biomechanics"/ all subheadings
#6 126428 #5 or #4 or #3
#7 129 #6 and #2

On NIOSHTIC, which indexes great piles of Occupational Health and Safety
literature, I find the searching terminology a bit looser than Medline
(which by the way has a subject heading for Muskrats, but not for
Good luck
Patrick Ellis

11) From: mike@qualisys.com
Hello Mat,
I recently came across your message regarding the need for proper form
for musicians during a performance.
It caught my eye due to a very similar problem that we are currently
addressing with dentists. It seems that there are many dentists that
suffer from lower back pain caused by improper mechanics while
performing every day dental procedures.
They are using our system to both monitor and train dentists for better
overall mechanics. This seems very similar to your application.
Take a look at our website at www.qualisys.com. I do not believe that
there is anything on this application but email back if you would like
more info.
Best Regards,
Michael Donfrancesco
Qualisys, Inc

12) From: sally@brissun.umd.edu (Sally Bogacz)
A friend told me about your message on the biomechanics
listserv. I see that you want information about performer biomechanics
for pianists. I do research on pianists, so maybe I can help.
There are two people that I know of who have written on this
subject, but their work is rather old. One is Otto Ortmann, who wrote a
book in 1929 called "The Physiological Mechanics of Piano Technique".
The other person is a student of his called Arnold Schultz who wrote a
book in 1936 called "The Riddle of the Pianist's Finger and Its
Relationship to a Touch Scheme". Ortmann's book was published in 1962
by E. P. Dutton of New York. Schultz's book was published in New York
by Carl Fisher.
I don't know of anyone currently who is working on this. The
researchers that I know about in North America and England seem more
interested in cognitive and expressive aspects of piano performance,
rather than biomechanical issues. But I think that might change soon.
Anyway, good luck with your search and I hope the above
information is useful to you.
Best wishes,
Sally Bogacz
Department of Psychology
University of Maryland
College Park MD 20742

13) From: maokner@stkate.edu
Dear Mat:
It was a pleasure to read your posting to the biomechanics newsletter,
because it's always fun to meet others interested in applying biomechanics
to musicians and their injuries.
I am a violin teacher located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I also teach
motor learning to physical education students at the College of St.
Catherine. A number of years ago I became interested in exploring ways for
teachers to prevent injuries in their students, so I pursued studies in
kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. Last year I completed my
dissertation on "chin rest pressure in violin playing" in which I examined
the effects of manipulating various shoulder pads, chin rests, and music on
the force applied to the chin rest. I am now hoping to find grant money to
expand upon this research by examining the effects of exercise on injured
Anyway, an important reference for you to know about is a journal called
Belfus, and they have a web site: www.hanleyandbelfus.com. The
journal is sponsored by the Performing Arts Medicine Association; there web
sit is: www.artsmed.org. There have been several articles published on
biomechanics of piano playing and other issues of injury prevention you
would no doubt find interesting.
I would enjoy chatting further, hope to hear from you!
Marla Okner, Ph.D.

14) From: "William R. Forrest"
Dear Matilde
It would seem that musicians require a system of exercises which strengthen
and tone the whole body in addition to improving the motor skills necessary
for their particular instrument. I am sure you have received many
suggestions and citations for various methods or studies which emphasize
particular aspects of conditioning. A major problem with exercise systems
in general is that they are boring for many individuals, making compliance
a problem. An area which may be of interest for your friend is the practice
of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, a Chinese martial art and exercise system which
benefits the whole body, building strength, stamina and flexibility as well
as concentration. A parallel system which is somewhat easier to learn is
the Five Animal Frolics of Hua T'o. Whether either of these systems is
available to you in Mexico City I do not know. Should you or your friend be
interested in more information I would be happy to provide you with
sources, most of which are unfortunately in English. Uno libro en espanol
es Tai Chi Chuan de Ferran Tarrago. El numero I.S.B.N. 84-7720-324-5
Colección Obelisco Artes Marciales 1994. I believe you will be surprised at
how complete these systems are in terms of exercising the whole body and
how relevant they may be for group practice.
Bill Forrest
. M. en C. Matilde Espinosa-Sanchez
. . Investigacion en Biomecanica.
. . Departamento de Multimedios,
. ... . Direccion de Computo para
. ... . la Investigacion, DGSCA.
. . . Universidad Nacional Autonoma
. . . de Mexico.
. . . . Circuito Exterior s/n,
. . . Ciudad Universitaria.
. . ... Mexico, D.F., 04510
. . . . ... Tel. (525) 622 85 66
. . . .. ... Fax. (525) 622 80 43
. . . . . . . . . . . . ... . .
. . . . ... email: matilde@servidor.unam.mx

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