Music is in the ring finger: hands of famous composers, palmistry & digit ratio research!
May 23, 2009
Back in 1968 Walter Sorell described in ‘The story of the human hand’ that musical ability had been linked to very long ring fingers for quite a while. Sorell illustrated this with handprints from composers as Alexander Tcherepnin and Edgar Varese, but his most powerful example in this context was the cast of Franz Listz’s right hand: see the picture above. One of the most striking features is the rather remarkable long ring finger in both hands.
Interestingly, the hands of other famous pianists/composers in the history of classical music – such as Beethoven & Rubinstein (see the pictures below) – appear to have the same characteristic feature! But Chopin appears to have a more female-like ‘digit ratio’.
Hand casts of Anton Rubinstein.
Hand casts of Frederic Chopin (left) & Ludwig van Beethoven (right).
Interestingly, a few years ago UK professor John Manning (Liverpool University) present a research (Slumming & Manning, 2000) which pointed out that the hands of male symphony musicians are characterised with a low ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ (2D = index finger; 4D = ring finger).
“This may be the first quantitative attempt to investigate the association between 2nd and 4th digit length and musical ability.”