Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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One-Handed Musicians--More Than a Gimmick

K.H. Woldendorp, W. van Gils
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 27 Number 4: Page 231 (December 2012)

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Abstract: There are many musicians with acquired limitations in making music, and there are many people with a disability who would like to play a music instrument in a modified way. There is discouragingly little information about this topic in literature. This article gives an overview of "making music in a modified way." It focuses on the possibilities for musicians with one-handed functionality to overcome problems with regards to their physical condition, insufficient muscle strength, or missing parts of the upper extremity. Five categories of possibilities for the functional one-handed musicians are described: 1) one-hand reconstructed instruments, 2) one-hand compositions, 3) adaptations of the instrument for the other hand, 4) prostheses to make it possible to play with both hands/arms, and 5) other techniques which enable the use of the leg(s). The solutions described make clear that playing music in an adaptive way requires an interdisciplinary approach. The purpose of this article is to inform, and to inspire, the healthcare professional about the many possibilities for functional one-handed musicians.

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