Effects of hand span size and right-left hand side on the piano playing performances: Exploration of the potential risk factors with regard to piano-related musculoskeletal disorders

Kuan Yin Lai, Shyi Kuen Wu, I. Ming Jou, Hsiao Man Hsu, Mei Jin Chen Sea, Li-Chieh Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study used biomechanical techniques to objectively investigate the effects of the size of hand span and right/left hands on the kinematic and kinetic performances when playing the piano. Twenty pianists were recruited and assigned to two hand-size groups. The parameters of interest, such as ratio of maximal digit-to-digit abduction angle (RD-Dabd), range of motion (ROM) of finger and wrist flexion-extension (F/E), radial-ulnar deviation (R/U), and movement units of F/E of finger joints (MUF/E), were measured while striking the piano keys. The fingertip force was also estimated by a kinetic model. The RD-Dabd was significantly larger for the small hand-span pianists when playing both chords and octaves. The ROM of wrist F/E was significantly larger for small hand-span pianists when playing chords. There was no significant difference in the fingertip force between two groups. However, the values for MUF/E and fingertip force of the right hand were significantly larger than those of left hand. Pianists with a small hand-span should aware that they have higher exposure risks for hand injuries while playing the piano. Relevance to industry: Hand anthropometric issue might be one of potential risk factors which result in piano-related musculoskeletal disorders. This study provides preliminary evidence that can be used to aid in injury prevention and music education for pianists as well as to reconsider issues with regard to the piano design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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