Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to identify and systematically categorize musculoskeletal assessments used in quantitatively based studies about posture and movement in musicians playing high string instruments (violin, viola) in order to inform further research and help to identify gaps in knowledge.
METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted in the databases Cochrane, CINAHL, and PubMed as well as the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists. Additional studies were searched within the reference lists of relevant articles. Sixty-four studies conducted since 1999 until May 2017 were included according to predefined inclusion criteria.
RESULTS: Various biomechanical measurement instruments were used in 24 of the selected studies in order to collect two- and three-dimensional kinematic data: optoelectronic systems with active and passive markers, electromagnetic systems, ultrasonic motion analysis systems, and image-based analysis of posture. In 11 studies, kinetics were measured by optoelectronic systems, force sensors, and a posturographic device. Further studies used electromyography to evaluate muscle activity (19 studies) as well as instruments to measure range of motion (2 studies). Additionally, a broad range of clinical examination techniques (35 studies) and self-reports (36 studies) were used to assess the musculoskeletal system of high string players.
CONCLUSION: The identified assessments could be used both in further research and in practical work in order to evaluate posture and movement in high string players. For future research, qualitatively based studies as well as psychometrically tested quantitatively based self-report assessments are required.