Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: What do you consider the most technically difficult instrument to play?

  1. #1
    Apprentice, Piano
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9

    What do you consider the most technically difficult instrument to play?

    I'm not talking about how hard it is physically, like tuba etc, but just technical skill required to play at the highest regarded levels for an instrument.

  2. #2
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    5,343
    What's the reason for your question? Are you wanting to learn an instrument because of the technical challenge or ... ?
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  3. #3
    Rear Admiral Appassionata greatcyber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec
    Posts
    1,553
    Back when I was in high school (mid 70's) I joined the band. The beginning of the year was marching season for the football games. I only knew how to play the organ, so the band director kindly offered the glockenspiel for me to play. That was a very boring 4 months. Then came symphony season for the second semester. There was no way I was going to play the same instrument and our school had all sorts of instruments that you could rent (get this) for $35 per year. I opted for bassoon. I was given the bassoon, a fingering chart and the music we would be playing. The rest was up to me. Since I had a good ear and can read music I taught myself to play, along with pointers from the first bassoonist.

    The next marching season I thought, "no bells for me" so I got a trombone and learned that next. Then along came symphony season and since my attention span was short(er) back then, I opted for an oboe. Again with the fingering chart and music. As I recall, the fingerings were quite similar, but the embouchure (sp?) was more difficult.

    My third year I went back to trombone for marching season and also went back to bassoon for symphony season. I just loved the sound of the bassoon and still do to this day. If I had the opportunity to pick one up cheap now I would most likely do it.

    My thoughts on learning an instrument are: if you have a real interest in learning, then short of having your hands cut off, you can learn to play whatever you would like. I know that if I had decided to play the violin my fingers would hurt like heck in the beginning, but that I would eventually get used to it.

    I think that as long as your passion for the love of music is there you can overcome any obstacle and learn whatever instrument strikes your fancy.

    This may be a mis-recollection, but I kind of remember that the fingerings for woodwinds and reeds were pretty similar as at one point or another I also played the flute, clarinet and sax. I was always intimidated by strings due to the soft skin on my fingers and back then didn't want to really take the time to learn something that I wasn't really sure about. Also when the notes are very high or low my sight reading was not all that quick. But then I only took organ lessons for less than 2 years as a teen.

    My 2 cents worth.
    Stephen

    Perform a Random Act of Kindness Today...
    ...You Just May Be in Need of One Tomorrow.

  4. #4
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    10,538
    GreatCyber says it best imo: If the passion is there.......You can overcome any obstacle and learn whatever instrument.

    Furthermore imo, it takes a lifetime to have technical and musical and interpretational mastery of the instrument if one were to use that instrument to play music from all periods of music history. The instrument must then become an extension of your physical body, nay, a most intimate member of your physical body - Any and all nuances must be captured, processed, breathed ones life into and played like a personal testimony with fidelity to the composers intentions, his/her life, and the hustorical, cultural, religious, and political milieu he/she was in.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  5. #5
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by tphillips09 View Post
    I'm not talking about how hard it is physically, like tuba etc, but just technical skill required to play at the highest regarded levels for an instrument.
    Personally, I do NOT consider (or even think about ) which instrument requires the highest level of skill to play at the highest level of performance. A performer on any musical instrument requires a high level of skill and an even higher level of 'work ethic' to achieve performances of the highest professional level. However, I think it is interesting (if not instructive)to consider Beethoven's comment : ' If an organist is master of his instrument, I place him amongst the first of virtuosi'. What does that tell you ?

  6. #6
    Commodore con Forza
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    544
    I'm not aware that Ludwig was an organist, so like many people, he may have been awed by watching. Not many instruments can beat the organ for people liking to watch an organist play. Even in LvB's day, the instrument probably looked like the cockpit of a 747, which of course, was long in the future. There's something about both hands and both feet being busy that seems to fascinate watchers.

    Or maybe it's that overpowering sound - assuming it's an instrument capable of such.

    But I would add that, regardless of instrument, a virtuoso has done his/her share of work, study, practice, and dedication.

    Beethoven died in 1827, which was 17 years before Widor was born, and 35 years before St. Sulpice got to be St. Sulpice. Ludwig should have stuck around a while longer. Of course, Roth doesn't do badly, either
    Last edited by dll927; Apr-24-2009 at 17:27.

  7. #7
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Madisonville,Ky.42431
    Posts
    4,412
    I will have to say a drum set. I can master all different instruments if
    you give me time to learn it. But drums are entirely difficult for me and
    bells. I don't know how many times I was invited to join the bell choir
    and backed off from it because I knew they would be hard unless they
    were a glockenspiel.
    judy tooley

  8. #8
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    170
    [QUOTE=dll927;85224]I'm not aware that Ludwig was an organist, so like many people, he may have been awed by watching.

    Beethoven WAS an organist in the early part of his career and performed duties as an assistant Court Organist. He was not a mere observer. The following is an extract from the introduction to Beethoven's Organ Works edited by Ludwig Altman and published by Hinrichsen :

    'He received instruction from, among others,Gilles van den Eeden(c.1720 -1782), a Flemish Organist to the chapel of the Elector Max Friedrich and in 1781 he became a student of Christian Gottlob Neefe(1748-1798), a superior, versatile musician who at that time succeeded the older van den Eeden. Beethoven soon took over part of Neefe's duties as assistant Court Organist . . . ' and 'Later . . played for the early six o'clock masses at the Minorite Church.'

    It is sad for organists that Beethoven composed so little for the organ but there are the following:
    Suite - Three Pieces for a mechanical organ
    Two Preludes through the major keys for Organ, Op. 39
    Organ Fugue in D Major

    The 'Adagio' (from 'Three Pieces for a mechanical organ'), quoting again from the introduction to Altman's edition 'is not just a marginal work, a casual oddity in Beethoven's vast output; it is on a level with many achievements of his so called early "middle period" '.

    I hope this small extract from the full, informative and scholarly introduction to Beethoven's Organ Works will be helpful and put into perspective Beethoven's comment.

  9. #9
    Commodore con Forza
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    701
    I imagine one answer to this question is that all instruments have approximately equal difficulty when played at the highest level, since virtuosi will always be trying to outdo each other, so the most difficult pieces for any instrument will be approaching the limits of what is humanly possible on that instrument. Of course, virtuosity is only a small part of what music is all about and not imho the most important one.

  10. #10
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Fretless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Fox Valley, WI
    Posts
    158
    To me, the string instruments have the steepest learning curve, but any instrument you pick is very difficult if you are aiming for mastery.

  11. #11
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster CMB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    104
    I am going to take jhnbrbr's post one step further -
    "so the most difficult pieces for any instrument will be approaching the limits of what is humanly possible on that instrument"

    Which might possibly make the VOICE the most difficult instrument to master.
    Its not like your oboe/bassoon/instrument of choice ever has to cancel due to laryngitis.

    - although I am sure it would be ugly to have to to play when you're that much under the weather...

    (ok, I'm a mezzo, so I'm biased)
    http://classicalmusicbroadcast.com
    http://operamusicbroadcast.com
    The highest quality classical music programming available. 24/7, our hosts present the full range of classical music - instrumental, vocal, choral, modern, and opera.
    Your gift keeps music on the air! | Join today!

    MIMF your music source: Magle International Music forums

  12. #12
    Commodore con Forza
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    701
    That's a good point, CMB. Singers are the only musicians who can't actually see their instrument, they probably don't even know what it looks like! It's the only instrument which is alive - quite immune to woodworm but terribly vulnerable to the common cold. On the plus side it's the most portable of all instruments, and when played well, arguably the most beautiful too. Unfortunately, it's one I've never mastered.

  13. #13
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by jhnbrbr View Post
    That's a good point, CMB. Singers are the only musicians who can't actually see their instrument, they probably don't even know what it looks like! Unfortunately, it's one I've never mastered.
    Unfortunately, contrary to common belief, it's one that NOT everybody possesses.

  14. #14
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    170
    And you can't go out and buy one !

  15. #15
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster CMB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    104
    isn't that the truth?
    http://classicalmusicbroadcast.com
    http://operamusicbroadcast.com
    The highest quality classical music programming available. 24/7, our hosts present the full range of classical music - instrumental, vocal, choral, modern, and opera.
    Your gift keeps music on the air! | Join today!

    MIMF your music source: Magle International Music forums

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. What instrument you don't play, but you'd like to?
    By Rachmaninoff in forum Musical Instruments Forum
    Replies: 120
    Last Post: Aug-02-2010, 16:17
  2. The most difficult organ piece to play.
    By Caddis in forum Pipe Organ Forum
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: Feb-20-2010, 14:53
  3. Which instrument to play?
    By princessleia29 in forum Musical Instruments Forum
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Dec-28-2008, 16:53
  4. The Emperor (Beethoven)
    By Todd in forum Classical Music Forum
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Dec-27-2008, 15:55
  5. What is this instrument called?
    By SimonS in forum Musical Instruments Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jan-07-2008, 06:10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •