The effects of left-hand exercises on beginning upper string performers' intonation and facility

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Music Education

First Committee Member

Nicholas J. DeCarbo - Committee Chair


The purpose of the study was to examine how beginning upper string instrumentalists' performance facility and intonation accuracy was affected by left-hand exercises. Specifically, do beginning upper string instrumentalists' perform with more accurate intonation and facility when left-hand strengthening and stretching exercises were utilized?Sixty beginning upper string violinists and violists, with less than three years playing experience and from three different South Florida sites, were randomly assigned into treatment (n = 30) and control (n = 30) groups. The treatment group performed six left-hand exercises, including the use of a gel ball, for a six-week period. Subjects performed a familiar piece of music three times for both the pre-test and post-test. Two subjects did not complete the study due to unrelated circumstances, and five outliers were removed. The data was analyzed for cent deviation from equal Temperament using the Amadeus II software program. The intonation rating was determined by summing cent deviation from Equal Temperament. The trial closest to Equal temperament was chosen to be viewed by three judges for a facility rating. Three judges (pre-test average interclass = .94; post-test average interclass = .83) viewed the video, without sound, of the subjects' performing, and rating Thumb position, Wrist Position, tip of the Finger Point of Contact, and Fingers First joint Position as Immature, Beginning, developing, and secure using a facility Rubric designed by the investigator.Results indicated that beginning string players perform with more accurate intonation (p < .002) and increased facility ( p < .000) when left-hand strengthening and stretching exercises were utilized.


Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy; Music; Education, Music

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