Sight-reading versus repertoire performance on the piano: A case study using high-speed motion analysis

Brenda Wristen, Sharon Evans, Nicholas Stergiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study was intended to examine whether differences exist in the motions employed by pianists when they are sight-reading versus performing repertoire and to determine whether these differences can be quantified using high-speed motion capture technology. A secondary question of interest was whether or not an improvement in the efficiency of motion could be observed between two sight-reading trials of the same musical excerpt. This case study employed one subject and a six-camera digital infrared camera system to capture the motion of the pianist playing two trials of a repertoire piece and two trials of a sight-reading excerpt. Angular displacements and velocities were calculated for bilateral shoulder, elbow, wrist, and index finger joints. The findings demonstrate the usefulness of high-speed motion capture technology for analyzing motions of pianists during performance, showing that the subject's motions were less efficient in sight-reading tasks than is repertoire tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Problems of Performing Artists
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science


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