The shoulders of six normal volunteers were imaged with high-resolution MR in the axial, sagittal, and coronal planes. An angled pair of counter-rotating current loop-gap resonators designed specifically for the shoulder was used as a local coil. All images were compared with corresponding cryomicrotome sections from cadaver shoulders. The rotator cuff was analyzed in detail. It appeared as a complex, heterogeneous band of tissue superficial to the humeral head. The areas of low signal intensity corresponded to the central tendons of the four rotator cuff muscles. These tendons could be distinguished from each other as well as from the intervening components of the cuff, which have a moderate intensity. We concluded that MR is capable of imaging the normal rotator cuff and of separating the various components. This may allow for improved precision in the diagnosis of rotator cuff disorders.