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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1523174
09/26/10 05:13 PM
09/26/10 05:13 PM
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Aliwally Offline
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I think all instruments are difficult to master, but some styles are more difficult than others. Piano there are so many ways to play it, classical, jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie (the left hand alone is crazy in boogie-woogie). Then the art of improvisation, which could be anything. But Jazz seems the most difficult to improvise, a whole different way of playing chords, etc....but then you have the original classical pieces for piano that was I would assume written/improvised by the Greats, and we play what they created or least try to.

With those you have many different interpretations on how they should be played, how do we really know how they should be played. That can drive the most advanced pianist crazy too, so to sum it up. It's 88 keys and 10 fingers, it's harmony, melody, chords, intricate phrasing, etc....and for that you need a lot of time, energy, some natural ability, to truly master any instrument.

If we all had 12 hours a day to practice it does not mean we can master it, you have to have the discipline, will, and serious dedication to practice one hour a day, so 12 hours is not a walk in the park whether you want to or not.

Most masters knew they wanted to be a Master at a very young age, I remember the story of why Herbie Hancock switched to jazz. He was playing a talent show and playing classical pieces, but the piano was his thing in school and everyone knew it but one of the contestants played jazz and shined. That upset Herbie because the piano was his thing and nobody was to outshine him, so he liked what he saw and changed totally to jazz. The story goes something like that, of course he could tell you better.

So if you have to ask that question, just enjoy what you are doing because Master is a serious word.


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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1523403
09/27/10 02:38 AM
09/27/10 02:38 AM
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Okemos, MI
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Joe Jackson says the violin is hardest. I believe he calls it a torture instrument.


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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1523414
09/27/10 03:01 AM
09/27/10 03:01 AM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,676
The Netherlands
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Originally Posted by MrHazelton
Originally Posted by sportsdude2060
The answer to this question is different for everyone, depending on that person's strengths and weaknesses. I personally was a natural at the piano; however, guitar was a complete train wreck (after 4 months, I could barely play time of your life) Whereas, one of my friends was able to play van halen, dream theater, and buckethead after only 2 years on guitar, but piano lessons got him nowhere (and yes, we had the same teachers for each).
Each instrument exercises slightly disparate faculties and involves different talents.
That being said, most people find french horn to be the hardest.


Funny you should say that. When I first started playing the piano, I also dabbled with the guitar, because that's what my friends where doing. I'm like your friend, I was picking up the guitar faster than the piano. In the end I wanted to play the piano more and decided I didn't have the time to learn both instruments well. I barely have the time to learn one. So I choose the piano and haven't looked back. One of the things I envy most about the guitar, and a lot of other instruments, is there portability. I wish I could carry my piano around and play it at any opportunity I had.


I also picked up the guitar very easily, was able to play most pop/rock songs just after a year, then went to pursue blues, and am now also learning jazz. Already playing in a band, and also teaching the guitar. For me it was incomparable much easier than the piano. I can learn most people to play most of Oasis's Wonderwall in just 2 lessons, but to learn somebody to play a pop song as it should (not an easier version) would require me much more lessons.


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1523418
09/27/10 03:07 AM
09/27/10 03:07 AM
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Posts: 27,304
Oakland
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This is just one more thing for which it can be said that there is no problem so difficult that you cannot look at it in the right way and make it much more difficult.


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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1523554
09/27/10 09:10 AM
09/27/10 09:10 AM
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Mastery is a relative concept - what we consider mastery in an instrument is whatever a player achieves with a strong musical sense, better-than-average physical coordination, at least 15 years of solid musical education (including a fine music college) and hard work. That is true of the harp, percussion, the recorder, the piano or the violin. As such, achieving 'mastery' in each is equally difficult.

Of course some people achieve it faster or slower, with or without the formal education component etc., but the benchmark is plausible.

Given the large numbers who try to achieve mastery in the violin or piano, say, you could argue that 'mastery' in those instruments is likely to be a higher musical level in absolute terms than for the harp or the bagpipes, just because of the competitive challenge, but I am not sure that argument would hold between the various main instruments.


Last edited by mric; 09/27/10 10:48 AM.
Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1523648
09/27/10 11:31 AM
09/27/10 11:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,464
Chapel Hill, NC
Stanza Offline
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Chapel Hill, NC
What other instrument do you play up to 10 notes simultaneously?
How about crossing hands? (ok,drums....)
How about covering a range of 88 notes?
Or taking your hands off the instrument to make wide leaps?
Using both hands and both feet? (ok, drums again)
Frequently having to use an instrument that is "not your own"?



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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: Stanza] #1524471
09/28/10 04:10 PM
09/28/10 04:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 14
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Ordo Offline
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Originally Posted by Stanza
What other instrument do you play up to 10 notes simultaneously?
How about crossing hands? (ok,drums....)
How about covering a range of 88 notes?
Or taking your hands off the instrument to make wide leaps?
Using both hands and both feet? (ok, drums again)
Frequently having to use an instrument that is "not your own"?



Organ. Several keyboards, registers, both legs, arms, hands, the whole body.

Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1524511
09/28/10 05:19 PM
09/28/10 05:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,940
Omaha, Nebraska
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Organ is far more difficult than piano. Requires much more thinking.

Organ music is generally written in 3 parts. PIano is generally in 1-2.


Just look up Bach organ trios.


Me miss the organ....

Im currently listening to a piece by Heinrich Scheidemann, a great early organ player, of the 17th century.


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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1524515
09/28/10 05:30 PM
09/28/10 05:30 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,430
Vught, The Netherlands
Dave Horne Online content
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I started out on organ (classical organ major in college) and then switched over to piano. While you have to use both hands and both feet to play the organ, you have no control over the dynamics from your touch.

To play the piano requires more control if you're playing with any dynamic variation.

Virtuosic piano playing makes more demands on the performer than virtuosic organ playing.


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Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: Ordo] #1524660
09/28/10 09:47 PM
09/28/10 09:47 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 244
CT
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MrHazelton Offline OP
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Why have organs fallen out of style? I think they're pretty cool. When I was a kid a lot of people had Lowrey's in their house. We had a Lowrey in our house when I grew up. I thought it was fun. At the time (I was a little boy, so don't slam me :o) I thought the piano was "stupid" because the notes didn't hold for long (sustain). Of course these day's I know better and love the piano. But I still think organs are cool.

Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1524798
09/29/10 05:26 AM
09/29/10 05:26 AM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,676
The Netherlands
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Because most of the time they sound horrible, just like Harpsichords laugh


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1524889
09/29/10 09:26 AM
09/29/10 09:26 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,464
Chapel Hill, NC
Stanza Offline
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Chapel Hill, NC
I didn't think we were comparing difficulty of organ/harpisichord/clavichord/synth, etc. to piano as they are keyboard instruments that have more similarities than differences. I think the op was talking flute, oboe, violin, trumpet, guitar....


Last edited by Stanza; 09/29/10 09:28 AM.

Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30
Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1524911
09/29/10 10:28 AM
09/29/10 10:28 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 796
Westford, MA
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All instruments are more or less equally difficult to master. This is because if there were an instrument that was easier to master than others then virtuosos of that instrument would create music that requires that much more technique/musical development to play. This is analogous to the concept that computer programs will grow to fill available memory.

Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: MrHazelton] #1524917
09/29/10 10:35 AM
09/29/10 10:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,430
Vught, The Netherlands
Dave Horne Online content
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I think the following video says it all ...

(the good stuff starts at 1:10)



website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Is piano one of the most difficult instruments to master? [Re: the nosy ape] #1524954
09/29/10 12:00 PM
09/29/10 12:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,881
Massachusetts
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Roy123 Offline
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Massachusetts
Originally Posted by the nosy ape
All instruments are more or less equally difficult to master. This is because if there were an instrument that was easier to master than others then virtuosos of that instrument would create music that requires that much more technique/musical development to play. This is analogous to the concept that computer programs will grow to fill available memory.


Mr. Ape has it right--the best musicians play their instruments to the limit of human capability. To put it another way, composers want the maximum capability out of all instruments so they can express their musical ideas. That which limits what composers write for any particular instrument is the ability of the best musicians to play it.

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