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Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers (Read 3258 times)

Offline faulty_damper

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Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
« on: March 13, 2014, 11:55:05 PM »
Specifically, your index finger to ring finger length, 2D:4D ratio.  The lower the ratio, the more likely you are to be pianistically and musically talented than your higher ratio friends.  To measure your index and ring finger, use a ruler and measure from the very tip to the base of the bone.  It might be helpful to place the back of your hand on a flat surface and measure from the tip of the finger to the surface.  It's best to use centimeters and then do the division.  Measure both hands separately since the fingers may be different.

The average male 2D:4D ratio is 0.947
The average female 2D:4D ratio is 0.965

What's yours?

EDIT: (Deleted)

EDIT2: Deleted EDIT due to non-normative sample population which were elderly who had osteoarthritis.  Also, there was a large possibility that radiographs of hands were not held in positions that would provide the most accurate measurements of the phalanges.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 11:55:40 PM »
faulty_Damper's 2D:4D ratio:
LH = 86/95 = 0.905
RH = 87/96 = 0.906

My ratio is much lower than the average male.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 04:53:38 AM »
The lower the ratio, the more likely you are to be pianistically and musically talented than your higher ratio friends.  

The study upon which this is based (Sluming, Vanessa A.; Manning, John T. (January 2000). "Second to fourth digit ratio in elite musicians Evidence for musical ability as an honest signal of male fitness". Evolution and Human Behavior 21 (1): 1) is based on orchestral musicians in an orchestral setting only. The study only found such a correlation for males, and none for females. It has since, in any case, been debunked (David A. Putza,, Steven J. C. Gaulinb, Robert J. Sporterc, Donald H. McBurneyc, "Sex hormones and finger length: What does 2D:4D indicate?", Evolution and Human Behavior 25 (2004) 182199.)
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline j_menz

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 05:00:13 AM »
faulty_Damper's 2D:4D ratio:
LH = 86/95 = 0.905
RH = 87/96 = 0.906

My ratio is much lower than the average male.

On the basis of other studies cited in, and debunked by, the article I cited (Putza et al) that makes you more likely to be a gay, autistic, aggressive, verbally unskilled, psychotic soccer player.  ::)
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline swagmaster420x

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 05:05:00 AM »
On the basis of other studies cited in, and debunked by, the article I cited (Putza et al) that makes you more likely to be a gay, autistic, aggressive, verbally unskilled, psychotic soccer player.  ::)
jk i didnt read

Offline j_menz

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 05:06:16 AM »
do you consider being gay/autistic bad?

I made no judgments about any of the traits listed.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline swagmaster420x

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 05:07:08 AM »
I made no judgments about any of the traits listed.
i misread your post, thought you cam up with those yourself but it was the article lol

Offline outin

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 05:13:54 AM »
Seems to be quite impossible to even make such measurements reliably...Especially on the 4th...The only clear result I got was that the ratio is lower on my left hand than my right...

Wait! My left hand is clearly more talented with the piano, so it must all be true!  :o

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #8 on: March 14, 2014, 05:16:18 AM »
I'd like to read the methodology of Putza et al.  I highly doubt that the authors ran duplications of dozens of studies.

It should be further clarified that testosterone exposure is from what the mother produced during pregnancy, not from the fetus.  It doesn't matter what the levels of testosterone are after birth.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 05:17:58 AM »
On the basis of other studies cited in, and debunked by, the article I cited (Putza et al) that makes you more likely to be a gay, autistic, aggressive, verbally unskilled, psychotic soccer player.  ::)

You've not actually read up on them. Gay's have a more feminine hand.  Autistic boys will also have a higher digit ratio.  These studies have not been debunked like you assert.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #10 on: March 14, 2014, 05:25:03 AM »
You've not actually read up on them. Gay's have a more feminine hand.  Autistic boys will also have a higher digit ratio.  These studies have not been debunked like you assert.

There are a number of contradictory studies (not of itself unusual), but the ones debunked by Putz were ones which made the findings attributed above.

In the absence of citation, I cannot speak to what you suggest.

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 05:41:43 AM »
I updated the average based on a much larger sample of Caucasians.  Since there is ethnic variability with regards to 2D:4D ratio, that average ratio only applies to Caucasians and may not necessarily be generalized to other ethnicities.

Online ted

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 06:20:00 AM »
Mine are so close I cannot measure any difference, and the third fingers are only marginally longer too. Therefore I must be very dense musically.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline swagmaster420x

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 07:43:30 AM »
i have read somewhere that either having a longer ring finger or a shorter one correlates with being gay... forgot which

Offline swagmaster420x

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 07:46:31 AM »
faulty_Damper's 2D:4D ratio:
LH = 86/95 = 0.905
RH = 87/96 = 0.906

My ratio is much lower than the average male.
do you have any videos of you playing the piano

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 07:47:56 AM »
do you have any videos of you playing the piano
I had one on my laptop but it died.  It was from several years ago, not recently.  It was for a local radio competition.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 07:49:35 AM »
i have read somewhere that either having a longer ring finger or a shorter one correlates with being gay... forgot which

Subsequent research (I don't know if it used new populations or if was a meta-analysis) showed no statistical correlation with gay men; however, gay women did have a statistically significant lower ratio.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 09:57:06 AM »
I updated the average based on a much larger sample of Caucasians.  Since there is ethnic variability with regards to 2D:4D ratio, that average ratio only applies to Caucasians and may not necessarily be generalized to other ethnicities.
Important quibble about racial invalidity.  My ratio 2d:4d is 1.0 both hands.  86 mm.    I have significant Native American ancestry, I look pretty odd with narrow short hands and feet, short arms and legs with a long back, hair on my head instead of my face or body, soft oily skin like Cher.  I'm male.  
 I have wild mathmatical ability with a 1:10000 SAT score (verbal and mathematical one point apart) and a had a career in engineering.  I also turned out to be really interested in music, and when given some piano lessons age 8, was pretty good at it.  (For Art lessons I was undistinguished and swimming lessons I was a complete failure).  
My Mother had enough mathematical ability, as a secretary she was a great tabular typist.  She was not exposed to any algebra or geometry in school.  They graduated her early to clear up the space for someone more important, there was a war going on.  But at the end of her career as a secretary she transferred to computer programming, with no background mathematical training, only the specific Cobol training given by her employer. Mother was the person that found the Beethoven symphonies on the AM radio in 1934-43 by DXing, and bought the CRC classical kiddie records I enjoyed so much when I was 3 to 5.   She bought the piano I learned on, but stopped taking lessons to move back to the mine with Dad.  
Dad was an accountant, like his Father, He had very little interest in music. I don't think his parents had a radio until after he left home. 
I'm a bit limited as a pianist because my hands do not fit the Russian/Prussian repretoire.  JS Bach and Moussorgski could do things I can't do.  But I can fake it pretty well, moving notes around sometimes to get rid of the twelths.  

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 12:02:22 PM »
Important quibble about racial invalidity.  My ratio 2d:4d is 1.0 both hands.  86 mm.    I have significant Native American ancestry, I look pretty odd with narrow short hands and feet, short arms and legs with a long back, hair on my head instead of my face or body, soft oily skin like Cher.  I'm male.  
 I have wild mathmatical ability with a 1:10000 SAT score (verbal and mathematical one point apart) and a had a career in engineering.  I also turned out to be really interested in music, and when given some piano lessons age 8, was pretty good at it.  (For Art lessons I was undistinguished and swimming lessons I was a complete failure).  
My Mother had enough mathematical ability, as a secretary she was a great tabular typist.  She was not exposed to any algebra or geometry in school.  They graduated her early to clear up the space for someone more important, there was a war going on.  But at the end of her career as a secretary she transferred to computer programming, with no background mathematical training, only the specific Cobol training given by her employer. Mother was the person that found the Beethoven symphonies on the AM radio in 1934-43 by DXing, and bought the CRC classical kiddie records I enjoyed so much when I was 3 to 5.   She bought the piano I learned on, but stopped taking lessons to move back to the mine with Dad.  
Dad was an accountant, like his Father, He had very little interest in music. I don't think his parents had a radio until after he left home. 
I'm a bit limited as a pianist because my hands do not fit the Russian/Prussian repretoire.  JS Bach and Moussorgski could do things I can't do.  But I can fake it pretty well, moving notes around sometimes to get rid of the twelths.  
.

You've mentioned this thing about changing twelfths in many threads but you've never explained why you think mussorgsky could strike them or why you don't spread them like everyone else. What evidence is there that mussorgsky could strike twelfths? Rachmaninoff wrote some big chords that he would have been able to strike, but there's no reason to think mussorgsky was writing any differently to countless composers who wrote intervals that they could not reach. Revoicing a chord is usually a poor second to spreading it.

Offline kakeithewolf

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 01:23:41 PM »
Inherently, no. My brother is a fantastic example. He can reach a 12th easily, to what I remember. And he plays piano even worse than me, which is hardly possible, since I can only do improvisation.
Per novitatem, artium est renascatur.

Finished with making music for quite a long time.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #20 on: March 14, 2014, 05:09:20 PM »
You've mentioned this thing about changing twelfths in many threads but you've never explained why you think mussorgsky could strike them or why you don't spread them like everyone else. What evidence is there that mussorgsky could strike twelfths? Rachmaninoff wrote some big chords that he would have been able to strike, but there's no reason to think mussorgsky was writing any differently to countless composers who wrote intervals that they could not reach. Revoicing a chord is usually a poor second to spreading it.
Lots of Russians and East Germans have huge hands.  Look at the television.  Moussorgski was Russian, that is why I think he could strike twelths .
The Chicago Symphony under Fritz Rheiner didn't roll the  chords on Pictures at an Exhibition Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle, and I don't either. I think rolling chords unless it is written that way mostly sounds bad.  I do roll chords in the Great Gate of Kiev, they are written that way.  
I don't care what the music schools teach, they have to solicit tuition from small people with rich parents, but those students mostly don't get recordings on the radio.  On the radio piano players are European or African (Andre Watts) males with huge hands with a long third finger (to see them on TV).  
PAAE was infamous for being "unplayable" as a piano solo anyway, not until Revel orchestrated it was it famous.  What was "unplayable" about it I have no data on.  Those octave tremelos in Lingua Mortua are my other biggest barrier, those are not on the LP's either, but I think they sound good and have been building strength and endurance in my right hand (forearm) over about four years to get through it.  

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #21 on: March 14, 2014, 06:59:51 PM »
Lots of Russians and East Germans have huge hands.  Look at the television.  Moussorgski was Russian, that is why I think he could strike twelths .
The Chicago Symphony under Fritz Rheiner didn't roll the  chords on Pictures at an Exhibition Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle, and I don't either. I think rolling chords unless it is written that way mostly sounds bad.  I do roll chords in the Great Gate of Kiev, they are written that way.   
I don't care what the music schools teach, they have to solicit tuition from small people with rich parents, but those students mostly don't get recordings on the radio.  On the radio piano players are European or African (Andre Watts) males with huge hands with a long third finger (to see them on TV).  
PIAE was infamous for being "unplayable" as a piano solo anyway, not until Revel orchestrated it was it famous.  What was "unplayable" about it I have no data on.  Those octave tremelos in Lingua Mortua are my other biggest barrier, those are not on the LP's either, but I think they sound good and have been building strength and endurance in my right hand (forearm) over about four years to get through it.  

Even today most Russians don't have a twelfth. In those days people were shorter on average than today. Even rachmaninoff with a specific bone condition that caused huge hands and great height only had one extra note, with a thirteenth. Statistically, it's highly improbable mussorgksy had a huge hand that took twelfths.

Arpeggiation can sound bad, but large left hand intervals can always be separated by merely playing the bass first- as rachmaninoff can be heard doing in his 2nd concerto opening. This sounds virtually the same as a single sound. I presume you're talking about a left hand twelfth?

Offline swagmaster420x

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #22 on: March 16, 2014, 06:11:26 AM »

 I have wild mathmatical ability with a 1:10000 SAT score (verbal and mathematical one point apart) and a had a career in engineering.  
one point apart? what u mean by 1:10000, because im pretty sure like 10% of people get full score lol

Offline indianajo

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #23 on: March 16, 2014, 12:31:21 PM »
one point apart? what u mean by 1:10000, because im pretty sure like 10% of people get full score lol
Yeah, 10% of SAT test takers getting a full score is lots of laughs.  Maybe that  happens in third world countries with bribeable proctors.  I understand from BBC news some universities are considering re-running the test battery on new foreign students, at least the English language test.
By 1:10000 I mean one out of ten thousand people; that is what I read in a newpaper article of how to interpret SAT score results.  
In Goldberg and Schmuyle you could play the twelth interval with either hand. The Gb in treble clef.  
As far as playing bass notes of long intervals as grace notes, it doesn't sound almost exactly the same to me.  But then, my reaction to stimulus time is 56 milliseconds, measured with a Tek 466 memory oscilloscope and two snap switches. 
So what is your finger length ratio? it is an easy measurement.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #24 on: March 19, 2014, 12:40:21 PM »
Yeah, 10% of SAT test takers getting a full score is lots of laughs.  Maybe that  happens in third world countries with bribeable proctors.  I understand from BBC news some universities are considering re-running the test battery on new foreign students, at least the English language test.
By 1:10000 I mean one out of ten thousand people; that is what I read in a newpaper article of how to interpret SAT score results.  
In Goldberg and Schmuyle you could play the twelth interval with either hand. The Gb in treble clef.  
As far as playing bass notes of long intervals as grace notes, it doesn't sound almost exactly the same to me.  But then, my reaction to stimulus time is 56 milliseconds, measured with a Tek 466 memory oscilloscope and two snap switches.  
So what is your finger length ratio? it is an easy measurement.

It's not about literal inability to perceive more than one note. It's about the fact that the resultant effect is of togetherness. Of course you can hear that there isn't just a single strike if you're listening for it, but a neutral ear will be drawn more towards togetherness than separation when it's done well, unlike with full arpeggiation (which ashkenazy does horrifically at the start of Rach 2- compare to the sound of the composer's broken version).

Quite honestly, I think you've radically misunderstood the notation in the example you give. The long D flat is neither an instruction to hold it nor a suggestion that the composer could do so. It's an instruction for pedalling, so people know not to change so drastically as to lose the bass. Note how precisely he notated the release too. It would have demanded difficult half pedalling if it lasted much longer. By stopping it where he does, he makes it technically possible to pull it off without even strictly needing half pedalling (or at least minimising it to only one half change, which would be cleared almost instantly afterwards even if blurring remained). It's as if he's gone out of his way to ensure that it can be done with the pedal and to avoid making that pedalling at all difficult to pull off.

If that were taken as an instruction to physically hold it, by the same logic we'd also have to imagine that liszt could span two whole octaves, based on his notation for the famous D flat consolation. That really isn't what the score actually means though.

Offline swagmaster420x

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Re: Your musical ability linked with the length of your fingers
«Reply #25 on: March 20, 2014, 12:44:05 AM »
Yeah, 10% of SAT test takers getting a full score is lots of laughs.  Maybe that  happens in third world countries with bribeable proctors.  I understand from BBC news some universities are considering re-running the test battery on new foreign students, at least the English language test.
By 1:10000 I mean one out of ten thousand people; that is what I read in a newpaper article of how to interpret SAT score results.  
In Goldberg and Schmuyle you could play the twelth interval with either hand. The Gb in treble clef.  
As far as playing bass notes of long intervals as grace notes, it doesn't sound almost exactly the same to me.  But then, my reaction to stimulus time is 56 milliseconds, measured with a Tek 466 memory oscilloscope and two snap switches. 
So what is your finger length ratio? it is an easy measurement.
lmfao but its so ez thou