Biomechanical Modeling and Analysis of Violin Bowing Using Motion Capture and Electromyography
Authors: Guo Qian, Dr. Jennifer Nichols
Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Nichols
College: Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) due to recurrent movement and muscle overuse are common complaints among violinists, affecting performances and careers. This study utilized 3-D motion capture (MoCap) and surface electromyography (EMG) to identify bowing and muscle activation patterns which may predispose violinists to RSI. This IRB-approved study recorded upper-limb movement of the bowing arm and EMG of the upper/lower trapezius of 4 college-level violinist. Subjects bowed 8 strokes at 4 beats per stroke at 100 bpm on strings G, D, A, and E. Joint angles were calculated using scaled upper-body models and inverse kinematics in OpenSim. Muscle activity was processed in Matlab. Shoulder joint angles varied by string. For example, in Subject 1, the average shoulder elevation joint angles data in degrees were 64.2, 65.4, 50.7, and 43.6 and the average acromion-clavicular joint angles data in degrees were 25.4, 25.9, 20.1, and 17.2 across the G, D, A, and E strings, respectively. Results indicated larger joint angles in the lower strings (G, D) compared to the upper strings (A, E), perhaps because elbows must be lifted and laterally extended to reach lower strings. This study highlights the physical demand on violinists and could point towards emphasizing ergonomic pedagogical playing techniques.
Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.