It seems like a random topic but a number of close friends and acquaintances from days gone by made me aware of the plight of people who develop injuries and conditions as a result of the regular playing of musical instruments. The cases I became most aware of were those of clarinet players, whose symptoms were very similar to the problems I get with tweeting or typing too much.
A few years ago I picked up a tenor recorder – I used to play it at primary school and thought that picking it up would be a doddle. But my arms screamed at me. “What the hell are you trying to do!?!?!” While the design (a straight tube with holes in) might be beautifully simple, my arms post too many years of typing really didn’t like what my brain was asking it to do. So now I have a tenor recorder (one of those cheapo ones) gathering dust somewhere in my room.
This made me ponder about the design of traditional classical musical instruments, and why their design has not changed significantly over the past several hundred years. It’s one of the problems I have with my viola – I feel that I have to adjust to it rather than the other way around.
Because of the problems I get with typing on a normal keyboard, I use an ergonomic one – or a ‘space age’ one as some of my former colleagues in the civil service used to say. I liked it so much that I soon bought my own one for home. This was one of the things that made me think about the piano and its very long keyboard. Why the straight lines rather than a curved design such as here?
I wonder if there are any budding designers and entrepreneurs with a musical streak within them who will take on the challenge of redesigning some of our orchestral instruments and design them from the person outwards. Who’s first?