Musician’s Dystonia in a Violinist

  • Roongroj Bhidayasiri
  • Daniel Tarsy
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Musician’s dystonia is a form of task-specific dystonia in which the ability to play a musical instrument is impaired by focal dystonia precipitated exclusively by playing the instrument (see Chap. 54). Violinist’s or pianist’s dystonia most commonly affects the fourth and fifth fingers of one hand but may also affect the wrist and arm. Embouchure dystonia affects coordination of the lips, tongue, and facial muscles in brass and wind players. In the case of violinist’s dystonia, impaired coordination is noticed first followed by abnormal posturing of the fingers or hand. It often appears during a period of high-intensity practice which often drives the musician to further increase practice time.


Botulinum Toxin Motor Task Finger Movement Musical Instrument Facial Muscle 
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Supplementary material

Musician’s dystonia violinist.mp4 (MP4 19,279KB)

Flexion posturing of fourth and fifth fingers appears very shortly after beginning to play the violin. It stops when she is not playing the violin.


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    Altenmuller E, Jabusch H-C. Focal dystonia in musicians: phenomenology, pathophysiology and triggering factors. Eur J Neurol. 2010;17:31–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Jankovic J, Ashoori A. Movement disorders in musicians. Mov Disord. 2008;23:1957–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roongroj Bhidayasiri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel Tarsy
    • 3
  1. 1.Chulalongkorn Center of Excellence on Parkinson’s Disease and Related DisordersChulalongkorn University HospitalBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyHarvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA

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