Most difficult instrument - What do you think?

Play more than piano? Interested in a different instrument, including voice? Talk about it here.

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Nov 23, 2004 9:11 am

Of course, we all think the piano is the best instrument.... :p

but, what do you think is the most difficult instrument to play, learn or teach and why?




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1101335405
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Wed Nov 24, 2004 10:51 am

I've found violin to be the most difficult instrument I've tried to play (and I've tried to play a LOT of instruments!).

I thought I'd do well at it because I've got long fingers and an excellent ear, but I could never get it to sound terribly musical. I had a great teacher, but there wasn't much hope for it.
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Postby pianoannie » Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:55 pm

I play and teach piano and guitar, so those seem easy to me (although I do think piano is challenging and complex to learn, with the need to read numerous notes at one time). I also play flute, and I own a harp. (notice I did not say I "play" the harp!)
To me, the harp was the most difficult of the instruments I've tried (though others tell me that a person can become fairly proficient in a couple of years).
If we think that playing piano by feel takes skill, it's much harder on harp. At least on piano your fingers can somewhat stay in contact with the keys, and feel the black keys.
And trying to keep a harp in tune---whew, that's a whole 'nuther story!
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:06 pm

My daughter and I used to argue about this; she's a violist with the Arizona Opera Association. Her argument was, "You have all the pitches set up for you--we have to find our own!" My answer was, "Yeah, but try and find them! You only have four strings within three inches--I have to deal with 88 notes over four feet!" On and on we'd go.

I guess it's another one of those questions that's very subjective. You can safely say a violin is harder to play than a kazoo, but when you narrow it down, well.....

A piano is fairly easy to play badly; it's a lifetime of intense effort to play really well, especially with a piece that has subtle nuances, intricate voicing, awkward passage work and all the rest.

Excelsior! ---and Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

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Postby presto » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:02 am

I've been wondering for some time just which of those two instruments, piano or violin, is the harder one to play. Since I play the piano, but have never played the violin, I can't give an answer.
But I would imagine that finding a pitch on a violin is difficult, and I think the only way I could understand just how they manage to do it is to try it out myself someday. Until then, I'll need to ask some people who play both the violin and the piano to weigh in on this.
88 keys--
10 fingers--
No problem!
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:19 pm

I have watched and listened to the harp being played on a few occasions. My impression was that it would take a lot of patience and a long time to master that instrument.

I also read where the harp is the oldest known stringed instrument.

AFlat

:D
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Postby 74-1110052818 » Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:10 pm

Amongst other instruments, I play the trombone - perhaps the cello of the brass section with no valves or frets or guides of any sort to help locate notes. Compounded by the fact that many notes can be produced from one position depending on the which harmonic is settled upon, and that the distance the slide must move between B and Bb on a tenor trombone is equivalent to about 3 octaves on the piano - it would appear to be fairly complicated.
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:08 am

I also imagine the trombone is difficult to play when it comes to slurring. How to play so smoothly without sliding into each note? It seems like a subtle art, to me.
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Postby 74-1110052818 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:47 am

I would love to agree with you, Kitty, but unfortunately subtelty is not a word that is often leveled against trombonists! Usually the 'lower plumbing' has a rather different reputation in a band or orchestra! However, thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt!
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Postby mirjam » Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:16 am

Hello

I started to take pianolessons at the age of ten and now I'm working as a piano teacher. I started playing the violin 2,5 years ago. I can tell you that mastering the first steps on a violin is very difficult. My new students can play one or more songs when they finished their first lesson, but with the violin it takes a lot more time to play a nice song. The funny thing is that I discovered that I had to learn to listen in a total different way. I discovered it is very hard to play it well. But it's difficult to compare, since I play the piano professionally. My daughter plays the piano for a few months now and is soon starting to take violin lessons as well. So I will let you know from a real beginner which one is the most difficult instrument.
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Postby 74-1113673434 » Sun Apr 17, 2005 3:41 pm

My daughter and son are studying violin (Suzuki method), and their instructor says that violin is one of the most demanding instruments because the two arms and hands are doing two completely different tasks. At times the one arm must be moving extremely smoothly while the other arm is moving rapidly from one note to another, and even shifting postions.
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Postby Tranquillo » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:34 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:My daughter and I used to argue about this; she's a violist with the Arizona Opera Association. Her argument was, "You have all the pitches set up for you--we have to find our own!" My answer was, "Yeah, but try and find them! You only have four strings within three inches--I have to deal with 88 notes over four feet!" On and on we'd go.

I guess it's another one of those questions that's very subjective. You can safely say a violin is harder to play than a kazoo, but when you narrow it down, well.....

A piano is fairly easy to play badly; it's a lifetime of intense effort to play really well, especially with a piece that has subtle nuances, intricate voicing, awkward passage work and all the rest.

Excelsior! ---and Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Dr. Bill Leland.

Just went to a jamming night last night ... with a few friends. We had dinner and there were a few that were just listening and wanting to learn an instrument in particular guitar.

Soon we had a debate that the guitar is easier to play than the piano. I dissagreed! You have to put your hands around so many awkard chords and positions ... you have to learn all the positions, you have to know what string to pluck ... you have to learn what fret is what pitch ... when all the strings and frets look the same. On piano you have a pattern of black and white keys to remember what key is what. If you have trouble you can write the keys in.

At the same time the guitarists (3 guitarists - one pianist (me))... were all saying if you can play piano you can play any instrument ... what a load of rubbish! I cant play any other instrument well!
Music is organised sound
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Postby pianogal » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:52 pm

I don't believe there is "the MOST difficult instrument", not that I can think of......... :D

For all the instrument, as long you are willing to learn, and willing to take time on practicing, and most important---enjoy, you will succeed (most likely)!

While I was typing, something got to me: I guess, the most difficult instrument to learn is the one you have no interest in.
Don't ever give up piano, because you will like it someday
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Postby Tranquillo » Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:25 am

Well, now taking up another instrument - voice I would have to say that learning voice is really different to learning any other instrument.
Technique with guitar, piano, violin, basson, flute - you name it - you can SEE what is happening. Your fingers are in a certain spot in a certain position, your feet are in a certain spot.
Whereas voice its not like you can SEE what is happening since the instrument is already built into you have to rely on feeling. Also imagery, a way to visualise the voice and create images in the head to understand how it works.
Mind you as far as playing ... I guess all of us have the voice as an instrument built in us (except for the mute). I'm not saying voice is the hardest instrument to play, I am saying to me its one of the hardest instruments to learn.
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Postby Tranquillo » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:54 am

Did you know that it has recently been declared by the guiness world record that the French horn is the most difficult instrument to play?
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