Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Banjo Player's Forearm: Let's Get Lost!

I was in a class at the Old Town School of Folk Music recently, and I saw this:

Well, I'm lying. What I actually saw was this:

Steve's forearm muscles are quite clear in the first photo, and in the photo above they've been diagrammed 
and labeled. The extensor group is shown in blue, and a small portion of the flexor group is shown in green. 
The ulna, which indicates a dividing line between the two groups, can also be seen. Muscles are as follows: ECRL (extensor carpi radialis longus); ECRB (extensor carpi radialis brevis); ED (extensor digitorum); EDM (extensor digiti minimi); ECU (extensor carpi ulnaris); Anc (anconeus); FCU (flexor carpi ulnalis-in the flexor group and, as such, shown in green); APL (abductor pollucis longus) and EPB (extensor pollucis brevis.) The tendon of extensor pollucis longus can be seen just to the right of the EPB muscle, but it was too small to label!)
This arm, readers, is that of one of my beloved music teachers, Steve Rosen, as he plays his banjo during the Old Time Ensemble at the Old Town School of Folk Music here in Chicago. As he played on this balmy summer evening, his forearm extensors danced. How could I help but dig out my phone to catch a quick photo?

Don't you love that feeling of complete absorption in an activity? Being so consumed, so lost in your work, that hours pass unnoticed? I often feel this way about this blog. And about playing music. If you don't know this feeling, I highly recommend you find a way to experience it. Love of your subject, intense concentration, and a sense of productivity is a combination difficult to match.

I think the reason anatomy blogging, art, and music all fall into category for me is that all three of them combine a puzzle-like quality with a wide degree of latitude for creative expression. Learning an instrument is an especially difficult puzzle, but it can still be solved in a number of ways. There is no single correct solution. There's room to experiment, embellish, and make any tune your own. It's no wonder it's so easy to become entranced in the process.

I'd have never learned any instruments in the first place if it wasn't for the talented and diverse faculty at the Old Town School. Of all the wonderful instructors in this fine institution, I've taken the most courses from Steve (above) and Paul Tyler, including fiddle, guitar, banjo, and a group course called the Old Time Ensemble.

This is a shot from last summer's class, at the end of which Paul and Steve celebrated with a little cherry cheesecake! The Wednesday evening section of this class has been team taught by these two for years, Entertaining and informative, it's a popular class that is taken repeatedly (sometimes for years) by many of Paul and Steve's devoted students and fans. Each of these gentlemen has an extensive background in Old Time string music, including time together in the Volo Bogtrotters, a... well... modern day Old Time string band. Watch them play a wonderful tune, Lost Indian, here.

Finally, there is more to Steve than his forearm or his banjo. He has many other physical features and interests. So let's diagram these as well:

Here is another diagram that more clearly shows the division of the two forearm compartments:

And a view of these muscles exposed:

You can read more about these muscles in the following posts:

I promised I'll get off forearms next time! Again, to learn more about Steve, go here. Better yet, treat yourself to a little of his banjo playing here.

Until next time!

Monday, October 21, 2013

More Advanced Anatomy Work: Roberto Almanza

I was sorting through student work from last Spring and I happened upon several anatomical pencil drawings by a former student, Roberto Almanza. They needed to be shared, so tonight's quick post is just for this purpose. 

The first piece shows the posterior torso. Notice the protruding spinous process of the C7 vertebra jutting out in the center of the trapezius muscle's tendinous floor. Also notice how Roberto renders the trapezius muscle's undulations as it wraps over the infraspinatous muscles on either side. I also like that he rendered the deltoid muscle's separate sections, and (this is my favorite part) he has included the posterior portion of the serratus anterior muscle as it shows through the latissimus dorsi muscles. Most artists forget this. We can also see teres minor, teres major, the lumbar sheath (and the bulge of the sacrospinalis muscle deep to it) and a small portion of the external oblique muscles. To read more about the posterior torso muscles, go to The Posterior Torso Muscles: Let's Go Back in Time and The Posterior Back Muscles, Part 2: Under the Radar. 

Next we have the anterior torso muscles. I like the way Roberto has shown the cut away and peeled back rectus sheath, allowing the rectus abdominis muscle, just deep to it, show clearly. Also seen here are the sternocleidomastoid muscles, the pectoralis major muscles, the serratus anterior muscles, the external obliques, and the right iliac crest. Read more about this part of the body at The Anterior Torso: Peel Away the Layers.

I only required the students to label one of these drawings, and Roberto chose to label this one of the head and anterior neck. This one is mostly bone oriented, but we also see several anterior neck muscles, including sternocleidomastoid, sternohyoid and omohyoid. We also can see the thyroid and cricoid cartilages at the proximal end of the trachea, peeking out just between the sternohyoid muscles. Read more about the anterior neck in Anterior Neck: Theme and Variations and more about the head at The Head: Part 1 of Oh My Gosh, Who Knows?

Next we have the muscles of the dorsal forearm. 

And here's a close-up, in which we can more clearly see the muscles brachioradialis, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor digitorum, extensor carpi ulnaris, abductor pollucis longus and extensor pollucis longus. Read more about the forearms in The Dorsal Forearm, Part 1: Compartment Search, The Dorsal Forearm, Part 2: Which Side are You On, Anyway?, and The Dorsal Forearm, Part 3: The Final Chapter. 

And finally we have Roberto's leg rendering. This shows a lateral view of the left leg, including (among others) the peroneous longus and brevis muscles on the lateral lower leg, the gastrocnemius muscle on the posterior lower leg, the vastus lateralus, gluteus medius and maximus muscles, and the iliotibial band on the lateral thigh. To read more about the lateral leg, go to The Lateral Knee, A Change of Scenery, The

Many thanks to Roberto Almanza for these images. Please do yourself a favor and check out Roberto's illustration work here.

 I think I will get caught up on the elbow joint next. Until next time!