Effect of stick use on rapid unimanual tapping in drummers

Percept Mot Skills. 2009 Jun;108(3):962-70. doi: 10.2466/PMS.108.3.962-970.


Drummers achieve impressive musical performance by using drumsticks. The present study investigated the effect of drumstick use on rapid unimanual tapping performance. 17 drummers tapped a force transducer as fast as possible for 10 sec. with a finger and a drumstick. No significant difference between finger and stick tapping was found for tapping speed and variability of peak force, but there were significant differences in contact time with the tapping surface, mean peak force, and intertap interval variability: Stick tapping had a shorter contact time, a larger peak force, and more stable intertap interval than did finger tapping. Thus, stick use makes it possible to produce a larger impact force and enhances the ability to control timing during rapid manual movement, allowing drummers to play drums powerfully and stably, which is clearly important for the role they have in controlling or enhancing musical rhythm.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Music*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Time Factors