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International Symposium on Performance Science. Program Proof. 02-05 September 2015. ABSTRACT Empirical. PIANISTS' HAND BIOMECHANICS: ...

International Symposium on Performance Science 02-05 September 2015

Program Proof ABSTRACT Empirical


of Music, University of South Florida, USA of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of South Florida, USA * Correspondence: [email protected] 2.Department

Background Skilled piano technique involves finger technique, arm weight, relaxation, weight transfer, and physiological mechanics of the torso. Piano techniques have evolved over time in parallel with the change of instrument and stylistic pianism. While pedagogues have taught ways to produce the desired tones with controlled finger-touch in coordination with the arm and the body, hand size and shape have not been a part of our piano pedagogy heritage until recent years. We wonder if skilled touch control may be influenced by biomechanics of piano-playing hand. Aims The study was aimed to compare skilled pianists hand biomechanics and their evenness touch control in tempo and dynamics. Method Skilled pianists were classified into four groups: artists (n=9), graduate pianists (n=8), undergraduate pianists (n=5), and injured professional pianists (n=9). Hand biomechanics were measured by hand length and width, composite finger lengths, composite finger spans, hand and arm weights, weight ratio between them, and ulnar deviation at the wrist. Performance outcomes in playing seven piano tasks were measured by temporal and dynamic evenness of MIDI data, quantified in a hybrid acoustic-electronic piano. DataGlove 5DT was used to capture motion at 14 finger joints to compare an injured and a healthy pianists' joints motions in playing a rapid scale. Results There were NO differences in hand biomechanics among the four pianist groups. Significant differences in hand size, shape, and weight were observed, as expected, between male (n=16) and female (n=15) pianists. However, surprisingly, there was no significant difference between male and female in finger spans 1-5, 2-4, 3-5, ulnar deviation, and hand-arm weight ratio. In legato playing, artists, graduate, and injured pianists were similar in articulation (p=0.83, p=0.523) and tempo evenness (p=0.60, p=0.15). Undergraduate pianists showed significant differences in both temporal and articulation evenness control (p=0.045, p=0.045). Injured (p=0.024) and undergraduate pianists (p=0.042) showed significant differences from the other two groups in tempo evenness in staccato playing. An injured and a healthy pianist’s motion data showed a large variation in MCP and PIP joints. Conclusions Our study demonstrated that the knowledge of pianists’ hand biomechanics can support effective skills development and the understanding of the relationship between hand biomechanics and touch control were essential to pianists’ injury-prevention and rehabilitation. Keywords skilled piano playing; hand biomechanics; pianists’ finger motion analysis; piano pedagogy; heritage Acknowledgments We acknowledge USF’s Neuroscience Collaborative Motion Disorder Grant, the initial co-PI, Dr. Yu Sun of the Computer Science Engineering Department, and our capable research assistants, Dr. Sun Lin, computer scientist, and Jeffrey Chodil, pianist.