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Tuesday, July 9 • 11:30 - 11:50

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A particular approach to piano performance, developed and taught at the Faculté de musique de l'Université de Montréal, encourages the use of proximal segments (i.e. trunk and pelvis) to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders while ensuring a fine control in the production of loud piano tones. The objective of his study is to effectively assess the role and contribution of the proximal body segments to the generation of force and speed applied to the piano keys, in terms of joint kinematics and muscle activations. For this purpose, twelve pianists performed right-hand keystrokes (A4) at a high sound intensity (forte). They were asked to vary : i) the body segments involved in the attack (only upper-limb segments versus a gesture combining the pelvis, the trunk and the upper-limb), ii) the type of touch (pressed touch, which involves starting the key-depression with the fingertip in contact with the key, versus struck touch, which implies striking the key from a certain height self-determined by each pianist), and iii) the articulation (staccato versus legato). Data was collected using a 3D Motion Capture system composed by 18 cameras, surface electromyography put on 8 upper limb and torso muscles, pressure sensors placed on the piano keys, and a sound recording device. Our preliminary results show on that the use of proximal body segments allows the implication of larger muscle groups less prone to fatigue. Moreover, the pelvis and the trunk appear to have an anticipating role during the different phases of the attack, thus generating momentum before the key depression and decelerating the attack while the key reaches the key-bed. This study is part of a larger project aiming to develop a multi-physical simulation of the complex system formed by the pianist's body, the instrument's mechanism, and the sound produced.

avatar for Caroline Traube

Caroline Traube

Associate professor, University of Montreal


Tuesday July 9, 2019 11:30 - 11:50 EDT
Outremont 7
  T14 Musical acoustic, SS03 Biomech cntrl of music instrum