Biomechanical analyses


Musicians will need to request a biomechanical investigation at the HBCM via the contact page at this website and provide a brief motivation. Newly referring medical specialists may also use this contact page.


Firstly, an exploratory on-line meeting will be scheduled with the musician. The aim is

  • to determine whether a biomechanical analysis could be useful,
  • to determine which measurements would be suitable for the given case, since the configuration of the measurement set-ups depends on the instrument and the specific complaints,
  • to estimate what this analysis would imply in time and costs.

This on-line meeting will be free of charge and will allow for efficiently preparing a biomechanical analysis. Depending on this case review, a date for a HBCM analysis will be scheduled.

Biomechanical analysis

The duration of a biomechanical analysis will be several hours, up to half a day, depending on the complexity of the measurement set-ups and the number of parameters that will be quantified. The musician must bring his/her instrument. For pianists, the HBCM has a digital piano with a realistic key-action (Kawai ES 520). See below for further procedures and preparations.

Discussion of results

The data from a biomechanical analysis may be quite complex, but software developed at the HBCM generally allows processing and visualizing the data sufficiently to review the main results with the musician during the measurement session itself. For a final report for the referring medical specialist, data will need to be further processed after the measurement session. Exceptionally, an additional measurement session at a later date may be required. 


Upon request by the treating medical specialist, the HBCM might be involved in treatment through a clearly specified plan for functional (quantitative) monitoring of the treatment effects.


The costs will be discussed in advance with the musician and the musician will have to pay for the consultations in advance. The referring medical specialist may help in mediating the costs of these biomechanically-diagnostic investigations with the musician's health care insurer.   


The analyzes are non-invasive. It concerns measurements of finger forces, of movements (joint angles as a function of time) of fingers and hand/arm in measuring devices or when playing the instrument, and of performance parameters (keystrokes). These types of measurements have been carried out over the past 30 years in research on musicians and test subjects at the various universities where Prof. Leijnse worked (EUR, Kleinert Institute, UofL, ULB), under the authorization of Medical Ethical Committees (MECs). The MECs qualified the measurements as risk-free and no risk factors were ever observed. The HBCM is insured against personal accidents.

Hygiene and preparation

 - During the measurements, hands in devices come into contact with sensors. Pianists also play on the keyboard of the HBCM. The contact surfaces of devices and the keys will be disinfected between measurement sessions. Before measurements, musicians will be asked to wash and disinfect the hands. Facilities are available for this.

- For playing analysis, in addition to video, motion tracking may be used. For this, reflective markers will be placed on the arm, hand and fingers. Cameras record the motions of these markers in space during playing. The markers will be attached to the skin by double-sided, anti-allergic tape approved for human skin applications. Skin hair may need to be removed at the location of the markers. To save time (and costs), the musician might prepare by shaving the hand/arm at home.

- For motion tracking, markers can be placed up to the shoulder. In that case, the musician will have to put on a vest without sleeves, available at the HBCM. There is privacy for changing clothes.

Data privacy

Videos of instrumental performance will be standard taken. In these videos, the musician will not be portrayed recognizably. (Recognizable) jewelry must be removed from the hand and fingers for the recordings. The data will be stored anonymously in a numbered database of which the master key (name/number list) will be kept separately. This anonymous data storage allows data from musicians, illustrative of biomechanical conclusions, to be discussed with musicians or scientific colleagues at the HBCM without violating privacy. 

Informed consent

Musicians will be asked whether their anonymized data can be used for scientific research and publications. The musician can freely give or refuse permission to make these anonymized data available for publication without affecting the services provided by the HBCM. Consent is given by signing a contract called 'informed consent', which has been approved by a Medical Ethical Committee (MEC). The informed consent specifies how the anonymized data might be used.