Finger joint force minimization in pianists using optimization techniques

J Biomech. 1993 Dec;26(12):1403-12. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(93)90091-r.


A numerical optimization procedure was used to determine finger positions that minimize and maximize finger tendon and joint force objective functions during piano play. A biomechanical finger model for sagittal plane motion, based on finger anatomy, was used to investigate finger tendon tensions and joint reaction forces for finger positions used in playing the piano. For commonly used piano key strike positions, flexor and intrinsic muscle tendon tensions ranged from 0.7 to 3.2 times the fingertip key strike force, while resultant inter-joint compressive forces ranged from 2 to 7 times the magnitude of the fingertip force. In general, use of a curved finger position, with a large metacarpophalangeal joint flexion angle and a small proximal interphalangeal joint flexion angle, reduces flexor tendon tension and resultant finger joint force.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Finger Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Music*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology