Effects of different violin playing techniques on workload in forearm and shoulder muscles

Stephanie Mann*, Helene M. Paarup, Karen Søgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Due to their working position, violinists are more prone to musculoskeletal pain than other instrumentalists. Playing the violin may cause increased activity in the shoulder and forearm muscles due to techniques such as vibrato (pitch variation), double-fingering (thirds), and changes in speed and volume (piano and forte). This study investigated how the different violin techniques affect muscle activity while playing scales and a music piece. Surface EMG was recorded bilaterally from the upper trapezius and forearm muscles in 18 violinists. Increased playing speed followed by playing with vibrato was the most demanding task affecting the left forearm muscles. Playing forte was the most demanding factor for the right forearm muscles. The music piece and the grand mean of all techniques showed similar workload demands. These results show that specific techniques require higher workload demands and should be considered when planning rehearsals with these techniques as a part of injury prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103999
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Muscle activity
  • Playing technique
  • String players


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