The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Complex hand dexterity: a review of biomechanical methods for measuring musical performance

Metcalf, Cheryl D., Irvine, Thomas A., Sims, Jennifer, Wang, Yu L., Su, Alvin W.Y. and Norris, David O. (2014) Complex hand dexterity: a review of biomechanical methods for measuring musical performance Frontiers in Psychology, 5, (414), pp. 1-12. (doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00414). (PMID:24860531).

Record type: Article


Complex hand dexterity is fundamental to our interactions with the physical, social, and cultural environment. Dexterity can be an expression of creativity and precision in a range of activities, including musical performance. Little is understood about complex hand dexterity or how virtuoso expertise is acquired, due to the versatility of movement combinations available to complete any given task. This has historically limited progress of the field because of difficulties in measuring movements of the hand. Recent developments in methods of motion capture and analysis mean it is now possible to explore the intricate movements of the hand and fingers. These methods allow us insights into the neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning complex hand dexterity and motor learning. They also allow investigation into the key factors that contribute to injury, recovery and functional compensation. The application of such analytical techniques within musical performance provides a multidisciplinary framework for purposeful investigation into the process of learning and skill acquisition in instrumental performance. These highly skilled manual and cognitive tasks present the ultimate achievement in complex hand dexterity. This paper will review methods of assessing instrumental performance in music, focusing specifically on biomechanical measurement and the associated technical challenges faced when measuring highly dexterous activities.

PDF Complex Hand Dexterity - a review of biomechanical methods.pdf - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (437kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 21 April 2014
Published date: 12 May 2014
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 400460
ISSN: 1664-1078
PURE UUID: adda3816-5128-4a3e-b703-c991dafcd673
ORCID for Cheryl D. Metcalf: ORCID iD
ORCID for David O. Norris: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Sep 2016 14:18
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 18:13

Export record



Author: Jennifer Sims
Author: Yu L. Wang
Author: Alvin W.Y. Su
Author: David O. Norris ORCID iD

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.