Music, School of


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Published in Medical Problems of Performing Artists, v. 21, no. 1 (March 2006), pp. 10-16. Used by permission. MPPA is the official publication of the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) & and the Dutch Performing Arts Medicine Association (NVDMG).


This study was intended to examine whether differences exist in the motions employed by pianists when they are sightreading versus performing repertoire and to determine whether these differences can be quantified using high-speed motion capture technology. A secondary question of interest was whether or not an improvement in the efficiency of motion could be observed between two sight-reading trials of the same musical excerpt. This case study employed one subject and a six-camera digital infrared camera system to capture the motion of the pianist playing two trials of a repertoire piece and two trials of a sight-reading excerpt. Angular displacements and velocities were calculated for bilateral shoulder, elbow, wrist, and index finger joints. The findings demonstrate the usefulness of high-speed motion capture technology for analyzing motions of pianists during performance, showing that the subject's motions were less efficient in sight-reading tasks than in repertoire tasks.

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