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Drumming movements

Starting from my doctoral studies, I have been doing a number of measurements on how drummers move in preparation for strokes. In order to arrive on time, the player typically start the preparation by moving the wrist and hand upwards, letting the drumstick follow. This is illustrated in the figure below, showing motion capture data of markers on a drummer's stick, knuckle, wrist, elbow and shoulder during a stroke. The markers are connected with lines, illustrating the position at specific points during the movement. The arrows indicate how the stick is moved up, and then flicked down in a kind of "whiplash" movement, gaining considerable acceleration.

 

This is just one example of a movement strategies and different players display very different movement patterns, making it difficult to compare between players. Movement patterns may also be more or less "appropriate". Some players develop different kinds of overuse syndromes after many years of playing.

How can one tell what is a "healthy" and sustainable playing technique when learning to play? In the project ASIAMS we characterize different movement strategies in music performance, comparing movements and acoustic measures from healthy players with those suffering from playing related disorders (e.g. chronic pain or musicians' focal dystonia).