guit-box wrote: ↑
Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:51 pm
There is a term that gets thrown around that is likely being misinterpreted and/or applied incorrectly to situations where it does not apply. The term "co-contraction" gets used to say joints moving in opposite directions will cause the extensor and flexor muscles to fight against each other causing muscle tension. It may be the case that a person with focal dystonia does have problems related to co-contraction, but it's just plain wrong to say that moving joints in opposite directions will result in co-contraction. It may be that a certain amount of co-contraction is happening in the hands of concert guitarists because they are ALL moving joints in opposite directions, but the overwhelming prevalence of these movements is proof of the movement's correctness. You couldn't get out of bed in the morning without moving joints in opposite directions. You couldn't row a boat, throw a ball, shoot an arrow, push, pull, feed yourself, etc. It's a very natural movement for joints to move in opposite directions and it's just plain foolish to imply that muscles are fighting against each other when doing so. The problem is that guitarist have limited knowledge of how muscles work and they pick up on one medical term and misuse and misinterpret its meaning. It's irrelevant how guitarists think muscles and joints should work based on a limited knowledge of physiology, what matters most are the movements that concert guitarists are really doing to get the job done. We can see 100s of videos of concert guitarists all moving joints in opposite directions and zero videos of concert guitarists only flexing all the joints simultaneously or extending all the joints simultaneously. (Aaron Shearer's incorrect Principal of Uniform Direction of Movement)
All I can say to this is that two consultant surgeons have alluded to this when discussing my own issues. I don't recall them talking about joint opposition as you describe, but rather, they spoke of engaging the the flexors and extensors more fully which you can easily see by rolling your sleeve up and experimenting with how you move your fingers and seeing a very obvious exchange of muscles taking place when you engage more from the main knuckle. Of course, joints move in opposition, but speaking from my own experience, there is a definitive felt sensation of tension I get if I concentrate on playing from the tips as opposed to extending my focus to feel the whole hand at work in plucking. The way I visualise my hand is to visualise that I am clapping my fingers into my palm but with very relaxed fingers and moving the fingers from the main knuckles. Now, if you filmed me in slow motion it may be the case that I am notbin fact doing what I think and sense, but the actual end result, for me, is a much more stable hand, more power for less effort, and a distinct feeling that I am not burning my finger tendons but instead my whole arm seems to be engaged.
In regard to the videos, I still feel that what we can see slowed down does not necessarily help. I say this because many years ago I was desperately trying to improve my swimming to compete better in triathlon as I was approaching elite level. I threw an awful lot of money on technical training: swimming camps with experts, under water video analysis and watching endless slo mo videos of world class swimmers' underwater technique. But what I found when actually taking to good swimmers is that they all focus on 'feeling the water' and not so much on the minutiae of the many aspects of the front crawl stroke. They used phrase such as "I imagine I'm climbing a ladder" or "I'm pulling my body over a beer barrel". Myself, I was a professional horse rider and I used to explain the correct communication with the horse's mouth on the reigns and bit was like "balancing a chair on one leg whilst holding the top of the chair in one hand". Once a horse is 'on the bit' it feels exactly like I described and nomamount of watching videos would ever reveal that feeling. I used these feelings when I taught with great success. I had my own lessons with a talented dressage rider and she used the same method of tuning your senses to feelings.
Personally, I believe much of what world class guitarist say they do is probably inaccurate regardless of videos. I have a friend who is world class on the guitar and he can't really accurately describe how he plays either. I believe that intuition comes into the matter and some people just get it.
But I do totally understand why, having FD, you would need to conduct these studies and I think they have merit for some people but not others.
I now do this with my guitar playing and it's working. I think watching videos should carry some kind of warning because slowed down might reveal discrepancies in what is said but there are other ways to achieve succes and visualising and then rembering feelings is equally valid.