Music-making hands have drawn considerable scholarly attention, featuring prominently in recent investigations in biomechanics, paleoanthropology, and cognitive sciences. Yet already in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, piano pedagogy theories were evolving not only in response to changing musical styles but also to scientific conceptualizations of the human body. Taking piano-playing hands as a platform for human/machine interaction, this article analyzes the historical discourse on piano-playing hands in relation to the contemporary scientific context and via the framework of cognitive science. In this process, these scientific and pedagogical writings, which have been previously discussed only dispersedly and marginally, emerge as more than didactic instruction. This historical discourse on music psychology of piano-playing hands points to music cognition that is extended beyond the body, situated in activity, and distributed beyond the individual.

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