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Title: Designing out the wicked problem of Playing Related Musculoskeletal Disorders from Irish traditional fiddle playing
Author: Porter, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 8906
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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Pioneering research has identified that Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMDs) are an issue for Irish traditional musicians. The purpose of this research was to analyse the “Wicked Problem” of PRMDs which affects Irish traditional fiddle players, determine key issues, and define appropriately designed solutions which provide a preferred or improved state of play. A design-led mixed methodology was deployed, and three research studies were conducted. As there was limited research to the extent of PRMDs in Irish traditional music, a bespoke survey was employed to build a holistic picture of Irish traditional fiddle players and identify problem areas for design development. The response rate to the study was 77.5% (n = 79). A high prevalence of PRMDs 70.9% (n = 56) was reported. Prolonged playing was highlighted as a significant risk factor. A design brief was established to analyse in-play ergonomic solutions which reduce or prevent the effects of PRMDs associated with prolonged playing time. Secondly, an empathic observation was conducted to further inform the design process by developing product specifications. Findings from the study suggest that the chin rest and shoulder rest are not fit for purpose in this context; the bow hand grip was also highlighted as a problem area. Two new products were designed, including a head and neck support and a hand support. These were validated using a formative usability study. The findings highlighted that both new products high level functions preformed as intended. The positive nature of these findings, indicate that both products have valued benefit in the opinion of Irish traditional musicians. These results indicate that both products may be viable solutions for reducing the extent of wellbeing issues associated with PRMDs, during prolonged playing in Irish traditional fiddle playing. Intellectual property, through patent applications have been established and the commercialisation pathway has begun.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available