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Phonomyography (PMG) (also known as acoustic myography, sound myography, vibromyography, and surface mechanomyogram)[1][2] is a technique to measure the force of muscle contraction by recording the low frequency sounds created during muscular activity.

Although less precise than the more traditional mechanomyography, it is considerably easier to set up. The signal is measured using condenser microphone elements, piezoelectric sensors, accelerometers, or a combination of sensors attached to the skin. Hydrophones have also been used to measure muscles immersed in water.

The sound created by muscle movement can be heard with the ear pressed up to a contracting muscle, but most of the energy is low frequency, below 20 Hz, making it inaudible infrasound.

Electromyography signals are typically bandpass filtered from 10 Hz to 500 Hz, by comparison. PMG signals are limited to 5 Hz to 100 Hz in some experiments.[3] Orizio states that the low-frequency response of the sensor is the most important feature, and should go as low as 1 Hz.[4]

(Images of PMG waves are available in this creative commons-licensed document:

Muscle sounds were first described in print by the Jesuit scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi[5] in a posthumous publication of 1665, which influenced the work of the English physician William Hyde Wollaston[6] and the German scientist Paul Erman.[7] The latter enlisted the aid of René Laennec. Mechanical amplification was first employed by Hermann von Helmholtz. The past two centuries of repeated rediscovery and neglect of the phenomenon were summarised by Stokes and Blythe[8] in 2001.


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  2. ^ doi:10.1007/s00421-003-0924-1"It is important to underline here that the term "surface mechanomyogram" was suggested during a CIBA Foundation Symposium in 1995 to overcome the terminological confusion caused by the habit of identifying the phenomenon with the electrical signal produced by different transducers (microphones, accelerometers, piezoelectric transducers, LVDs, etc.) instead of with its mechanical origin"
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  5. ^ Grimaldi, Francesco Maria (1665). Physico-mathesis de lumine, coloribus, et iride, aliisque adnexis libri duo. Bologna. p. 383. 
  6. ^ Wollaston, WH (1810). "On the duration of muscle action". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: 1–5. 
  7. ^ Erman, P (1812). "Einige Bemerkungen uber Muscular-Contraction". Annalen der Physik. 
  8. ^ Stokes, Maria; Blythe, Max (2001). Muscle Sounds in physiology, sports science and clinical investigation. Oxford: Medintel. ISBN 0-9540572-0-1.