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Task-specific tremor in violinists: Evidence of coactivation in the 3 to 8 Hz frequency range


  • Funding agencies: This study was funded by the University of Music, Drama and Media, Hannover, Germany.

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.



Task-specific tremor in musicians severely impairs fine motor control. However, little is known about its pathophysiology. Here, we quantify electromyography (EMG) properties in primary bowing tremor—in particular, muscular coactivation—to determine whether primary bowing tremor affects a specific frequency range of coactivation.


We quantitatively compared EMG properties of the wrist muscles between 4 professional violinists who had task-specific tremor and 4 age-matched healthy controls.


We observed bowing tremor-specific muscular coactivation in the frequency range of 3 to 8 Hz only in the patients but not in the healthy controls. No muscular activity was observed at the resonance-frequency range.


Our findings indicate an association between coactivation and bowing tremor at a specific frequency range (3–8 Hz). The absence of EMG activity and coactivation in the mechanical-reflex frequency of the wrist suggests that central mechanisms play a more dominant role than mechanical-reflex mechanisms in primary bowing tremor. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society