Wrist muscle activity during rapid unimanual tapping with a drumstick in drummers and nondrummers

Motor Control. 2009 Jul;13(3):237-50. doi: 10.1123/mcj.13.3.237.


This study investigated performance and wrist muscle activity during rapid-repetitive unimanual tapping with a drumstick in right-handed drummers and nondrummers. Analyses of performances revealed no difference in tapping frequency and peak tap force between drummers and nondrummers, although the drummers showed less variability in intertap interval than the nondrummers. Analyses of the electromyographic (EMG) data obtained by recording the activity of the flexor carpi ulnalis and the extensor carpi radialis muscles of the right wrist revealed several distinct differences between the two groups: the drummers showed a lower level of muscle cocontraction together with an earlier decline of wrist flexor muscle activity and a smaller variability of muscle activation time in the wrist flexors compared with the nondrummers. We suggest that these characteristics in wrist muscle activity in the drummers have been acquired following extensive practice for the efficient use of wrist muscles and stable drumming performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Music*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Wrist / physiology*
  • Young Adult