Hardest Instruments to Play


The Top TenXW


I have been playing the wonderful and amazing violin since I was six. I am seventeen now. And I am nearly not as good as some amazing people out there like my favorite artist of all time. Lindsey Stirling, a girl who is just AMAZING at violin, she plays all of classical, fiddle if you please, and... Dubstep. What more could you ask of an instrument that cool? I love to play the violin, and it is for SURE the most difficult instrument to play. You have to keep the bow strait, tune to the exact, you have to keep your fingers in the right places our you sound like a dying cat that is being attacked by a bear. You have to keep rhythm, you have to sit striate, feet in front of you. To make the notes sound even more extravagant, you have to vibrato, and then shift into positions that are very high. Drones, and fast fingering and bowing and double stops and trillings and playing soft as a butterfly's wings then BAM! Louder than a drum in just seconds. You have to be very talented to play the violin. The violin is beautiful, and something like the guitar is so... Boring. Everybody wants to play the guitar, and then they think they are so cool. The drums? Easy! I played them this summer, they are just banging instruments! The piano was just a bunch of keys, and I didn't have a teacher for two years. The flute is to high a pitch. Plus, the violin was one of the first instruments made! That is special! The violin is unique sounds amazing, and is just... Out of the ordinary. The cello, is also an amazing instrument. It is also hard to play, with the deep sounds and the way you have to hold the bow in order to accentually play! I would sat that violin is #1 then Cello #2 then the flute #3 then the guitar #4 then the piano and so on. Violin is definitely the best, hardest, and most amazing instrument.

Part of that you have to do exactly on horn, and most comply with the horn in the same way. You have to make sure it is the right note because you can easily spot if the sound is wrong or right on the violin, but with the French horn it is different. It takes a very skilled person to know the notes because all the notes are so close together. Also, playing songs with the valves is very complex and takes a very long time to master before you can play off-hand.

I say that string instruments are the hardest to play. There is a lot of technique, especially when you get to the higher levels, and you have to be really careful about many things at the same time (finger placements, correct pitch, left hand shifting techniques, bow hold, bow techniques, good sounding tone, etc... ). I have played violin for 6 years (then left because of bad teacher and moved on to other instruments as violin took me so much time I couldn't really try another instrument along :D

I didn't have a lot of difficulty playing it and beginner level was too easy for me (actually I made first and second grade in one year), but as I moved forward, it got much harder and I had to practice more and more. But it is rewarding and I still sound good now after I started playing again (not professionally, but for myself). I can also play acoustic (both steel strings and classical) and electric guitar, synth, harmonica, recorder and cello.

By the way, I don't really know what flute is doing on that list as some other woodwinds are harder to play. And electric guitar? Well, on the professional level it is difficult to play it, but acoustic/classical tend to be harder, because you don't have any help from the electrical effects and louder sound. There you are by yourself. Try to do what you do on electric on an acoustic, it will be quite hard. Acoustic can seem easy if you only strum chords, but if you want to play good, it can be quite difficult to master all the techniques and speed.

For me the list would be:
1st violin and other string instruments (viola, cello, double bass)
2nd french horn (and some other brass instruments, although I'd rate horn the hardest of them)
3rd organ
4th oboe
5th bagpipes
6th harp
7th piano
8th classical guitar
9th accordion
10th drums

Maybe these instruments sound easy when you learn or anything... But try to really master any of them and you'll see it is damn hard. There could be other added to the list like other woodwinds or instruments with strings (guitar family), but there is only 10 places so I choose these.

It is obvious that this survey is completely biased towards the guitar and piano since it is a common instrument to play and people want to protect their dignity. It is very clear that the violin is the hardest instrument to play and I am not biased because I used to practice with the guitar and the piano. For the piano, every note you press is "correct" while the violin can be slightly sharp or flat. Is there a lot more technical difficulty on the violin? Definitely yes (staccato, harmonics, plucking, greater difficulty playing chords, shifting positions to reach insane notes. ) Yes, the piano can be hard to play, but it does not measure up to the violin. As for the guitar, it is quite difficult to play upon a MASTER level, but most people play it to play mainstream stupid stuff like some jack johnson song. Definitely not hard. However, there are two things that make the violin much harder than the guitar: the position the violin is held and the bow. You would be surprised how hard it is for beginners to get the proper hand position for holding the violin just. The bow, in my opinion, is an art form of its own that is difficult to master. As for the guitar, you just have to strum it and it is much easier to play chords. I do not even want to talk about the flute. What the heck is it doing up here?

OVERALL - This is the order I think it should be:
1. Violin
2. Cello (Seriously, the trumpet is harder than the cello? You people are ignorant. )
3. Piano
4. French Horn
5. Baritone
6. Oboe
7. Accordion
The rest does not matter.

You're rather uneducated in the field of brass instruments to believe that the trumpet doesn't deserve a high place. Though I agree that the violin and piano are very difficult instruments, I can confirm to you that pitching and tone quality on the trumpet are very hard. I tell you this from experience having played, some of which I am still playing, the violin, piano, French horn as well as tenor horn, and attempted the trumpet. I can not comment on the cello however, but do not be an ignoramus as to speak down on the trumpet.

Can't believe it its to easy!

V244 Comments
2French Horn

I have been playing this amazing instrument for 8 years now. It was the very first instrument I ever learned to play and all through elementary school and Junior High school, I was the only one who could play it. It is a fantastic instrument capable of playing well above the treble clef staff and down below into the low bass clef staff. It usually has the most beautiful runs you could imagine and has such an amazingly distinct sound. But... In order to play those mellifluous melodies, there is a price to play for every horn player. There is not an instrument that compares to it in difficulty for these 20 reasons...

1) It is the longest instrument. Despite tuba being the biggest, if you stretched out every bit of tubing in a double French horn, it is the longest. It takes tons of air just to play it.

2) It faces the back of the stage, requiring more air just to be heard. As if all of those tubes weren't enough.

3) It's heavy. Yes, many instruments like the tuba and baritone are too, but those sit on your lap and large saxophones have neck straps. The correct way to hold up a French horn is by placing your right hand in the bell and having most of the horns weight on it, while your left hand takes the rest of the weight. In a long song, your forearms will be dead.

4) It's the only brass instrument you play with your left hand. It sucks when you are right handed.

5) If you play double horn (like me) you have to memorize 2 different sets of fingerings for each note, and even then, you still have to memorize other ways to play notes, and sometimes, one fingering might be more in tune one day, then the next it could be horribly out of tune. There are 6 different ways to play just an A. Let that sink in for a moment. With woodwinds, you only need one set of fingerings.

6) Good luck finding spit. There are 9 different slides and there could be spit in any one of them. It’s like a cruel game of hide and seek with only seconds to spare during a rest.

7) Speaking of slides, have fun trying to keep them all in tune. For a double horn, you have to first tune your Bb side, then your F side, then make sure each Bb valve is in tune with it's F side. That’s right, each valve (except for thumb) has two tuning slides.

8) And even if all of your slides are in tune, your hand could be out of tune by only a few fractions of an inch, making you sound horrible when playing with other people. Your hand works like the slide on a trombone. Just the slightest misplacement and every thing is wrong.

9) And the other thing that keeps you in tune, is your embouchure. When you try to lip up a note or down a note, you must have extreme accuracy or the note will change and be awful. You can play almost every single note without pressing any valves, so who knows what note you will hit while trying to tune just one.

10) We have the smallest mouthpiece. Your embouchure has to constantly be tight, and after ...read more

French Horn is definitely the hardest instrument to play. You can play practically every note without any keys down. The Partials are extremely close together. A high F and a high G, notes right next to each other, are the same fingering which means you have to use your mouth to move between them. Which brings in the lip trill, which is awful. My student teacher said it best when he said horn players have to have an ego, if you are the least bit unconfident, you will crack on about every single note. If you have the confidence, you won't crack. You also have to hear the note before you play it or it will be the wrong note/partial. Plus Horn has the tiniest mouth piece ever which are smaller than a bottle's opening. Then horn plays a lot of the wood wind stuff, like trills and running sixteenth notes and thirty second notes, which most of the time has to be tongued by double or triple tonguing. Also, the fingerings for notes in different octaves aren't the same, and we have about seven octaves of range. YOu have to practice for hours on end for years on end to get a good warm sound, but when you do, all the effort is totally worth it, although it becomes very difficult not to overplay and blare since it is a naturally loud instrument. Also the hand in the bell can just get annoying sometimes, although it can also save your butt. It probably also has the most jumping notes, where it's just random high note and then random low note since it's an awkward instrument to put a tune to.

I have not played the horn for very long. The thing with this instrument is that it plays in both treble and bass clef. Another thing is splits where you get the option to play low or high. I always play low because the lower register is really cool. And I have to use just as much air as the high notes

Having played the french horn for four years, I know it's hard. The combination of forming your hand right and putting it in the proper place, making your lips exactly right (if its even a fraction wrong your note is flat or sharp or even a different note), remembering the different fingerings for every octave, and using enough air to push through all of that horn is so hard. It took me hours and weeks of practicing to get the smooth sound the french horn is known for, and some people in my grade and above still haven't gotten that sound. I mean, I can't make a sound out of a clarinet but that's because different mouth types are required for different instruments. But anyone who thinks that finding the right note when they are so close together with such a small mouthpiece and then using enough air to make a warm tone and make it loud is easy are so wrong. There is also slurring, which if you're not careful will come out bumpy and with cracked notes, stacatto can be tongued too hard and make your note crack, jumping from notes is so hard I still can't do it until I've practiced for hours. You also have to know how to tune with what slides how much and just AGH. French horn should be first. Some of these other instruments shouldn't. Children play piano and violin. Middle schoolers have trouble with a scale on this. Just because playing professional pieces is hard on them doesn't make it a hard instrument. Try playing a beginners song on here, let alone a professional one. Just think about how little crap you have to think about next time you play your instrument and be happy.

I'm in 8th grade and I'm second chair French horn... Out of 4. Things that are easier for horns are competitions. I have all district coming up and it's only the four of us and a few others. The chances of making it are extremely high.

V203 Comments

"The piano is the easiest instrument to play in the beginning, and the hardest to master in the end."

-Vladimir Horowitz

Indeed, playing the piano seems very simple, especially at a beginner level. You take a finger, press a note and it plays, perfectly in-key (well, usually). You release it, and the note stops. You just press the right keys at the right time and you have a song, right? Well, the further you get in your piano career, the more you realize it's not quite that simple.

The first part of what makes the piano the most difficult instrument is the technical aspect. You are playing with both hands at once, and almost never with the same rhythm. You'll find that even playing something technically simple like Minuet in G can be a lot harder than it sounds for an inexperienced player. And all your left hand is doing is playing single quarter notes most of the time! Rhythm is a big challenge when you're a pianist advancing your skills. Polyrhythms, or playing two contrasting rhythms at the same time, appear all over the place in classical music. The easiest example is playing eighth notes and triplets at the same time (or 2 on 3). But then you get things like 5 on 3 in Rachmaninoff's second concerto, or 11 on 6 in Beethoven Op.31 number 1 mvmt 2. Sometimes you play these polyrhythms in the same hand. Think about it: you're playing two or more lines in the same hand, with different rhythms, plus another hand you have to pay attention to.

Voicing and touch are two more things that make the piano very difficult. When you play more than one voice in the same hand (which is often the case), they are not equal. No, you need to make one stand out over the other, but they should both be musical and have their own shape. Your tone is also a big issue. Sure you can play loud, but is it too harsh? Is it voiced correctly? Is it still being shaped? You can play soft, but is it still musical? Can you still hear the melodies over the accompanying figures? Are all of your notes sounding?

Interpretation is the next big thing that I believe makes piano harder than anything else. At an advanced level, you go out and play a difficult piece, you play it as well as you can, technically perfect, musically engaging and beautiful... And you are told be peers your interpretation should be changed. No matter how you played it. This part should have been softer, you used too much rubato here, you used too much pedal here... But if you "fix" those things, you will almost certainly still be told you're doing something wrong. Never in a master class would you ever hear "you played this perfectly, I don't really have anything to say," no matter how good the pianist played. This isn't true with a lot of other instruments, even violin, which is #1 here. You go look up a video of a violinist playing something, and you will see people applauding his/her technique, musicality, etc, but no one questions their ...read more

The pianoforte is indeed the master of all instruments.

At more advanced levels, many factors must be attended to ensure the most precise and eloquent sounding pieces to sound as grand as their orchestral origin, to be able to imitate every instrument played in an ensemble to recreate the piece on one piano is quite a feat. The treble and bass clefs require the pianist to play both hands in conjunction to each other, each individual finger must be controlled and thus playing each key requires a great deal of concentration. The entire body is used to play the piano, not just the hands. The arms, shoulders, torso, legs and feet all control the movement of the piece due to the posture of the pianist, the pedals used to sustain and soften the keys, and the wide range of the piano itself. Learning notes is only the beginning to perfecting a piece on the piano, not only does it require quick thinking on the pianist's part, but the sound of each note being played must be perfected also - the loudness, tempo, tonality, even the movement of the fingers across the piano must be choreographed to provide an enticing visual performance as well as the music itself. When comparing scores, particularly in an ensemble, many will find that it is the pianist that acquires the most amount of sheets with the more complex chords and rhythms - this is where most players feel that they are lacking in the ensemble when the strings, brass, bass, drums, etc. all tend to pick up on the pieces almost immediately despite the scores being of the same level. Each instrument has its difficulties, however the pianoforte is one that most musicians could not do without and is indeed one that requires a lot of skill to master pieces composed by Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Chopin, Bach, to produce the same grandeur created by an entire orchestra on one piano alone.

I have played piano for 11 years, and it took a tremendous amount of time and effort to get to level where I am now. These are the two main reasons why:

1. There is so much competition on the piano, simply because everyone plays it and that there are many talented pianists. You can almost never find a musician who does not play the piano, and many people who are not musicians also play piano. If you tell people that you play piano, they will not be impressed until you sit down and play. Even so, it's extremely hard to stand out in competitions and eventually when applying for college. For college, you are competing against hundreds, or thousands of prospective students who are at the same level as you or higher.

2. Mastering difficult pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, and Mozart requires all of your concentration. Your tone, interpretation, dynamics, phrasing, tempo, posture, personality, and even the way you carry yourself are things that judges look for. In advanced pieces, there are complex rhythms and require you to use every inch of your hands to reach all the notes. At the same time, you need the precision to hit the right notes AND the control to achieve the right sound.

3. In auditions, you play on a piano that you've never played before. You only get a few minutes at the very most to try the piano, and determine how to approach your piece with the piano that is given to you. It's the adaptability that pianists have that makes piano so difficult.

Yes, many people play the piano, but playing well is a totally different story.

Piano & other keyboard instruments are the only consistently polyphonic instruments out there. Being a professional pianist often involves being able to nearly perfectly read multiple musical lines at once. I don't care how easy it is to generate sound on piano, or how we don't have to worry about playing in tune. The simple fact that we have to worry about multiple notes at one time makes our job the hardest to do right.

V202 Comments

I've been playing the oboe for almost 5 years and I can say from experience that it is an EXTREMELY difficult instrument to play and especially to master, which I myself have not even done yet. First off, the reed is a constant challenge. It is difficult to go from high to low notes or vice versa because the reed needs to be reed needs to be either more open (low) or closed/pinched (high) to have anything close to the right tone. Also after playing for a while the reed will simply close completely and not make any noise except for some pathetic squeaks. Then there's also a hassle in just keeping the reed moist enough that it produces sound, yet not like slippery from spit, haha. Also because the reed's air hole is so small, there are times where you have to even exhale before inhaling to catch your breath because you don't let enough air out through just playing. Then another reason the oboe should be listed high in the difficulty scale is because the fingerings are completely random, and very awkward to go from note to note at times. This is completely different from string instruments because its not like the next note you just add another finger, you could add a random amount of fingers that are in a random order that can only be figured out through pure memorization for each note, including new fingerings for each sharp/flat. This gets very confusing and makes key changes in songs very difficult, just adding to the already hard instrument. So overall, I think that the oboe should be seen as a very difficult instrument to learn how to play, let alone, and it would be even increasingly difficult to master the oboe and be able to play it perfectly.

I totally agree! I have been playing for 2 years and I can not seem to get enough air. I constantly have to take more breaths than the rest of the band earning me glares from my band director for "breaking the frame" Still LOVE the oboe and would not trade it for any other instrument. 😘

I feel like this vote is off and too biased. Not everyone has played all of the instruments listed here and wouldn't know what to judge, they would only pick their own instrument, believing it is the most difficult because it might've been the only instrument they play. I've played, oboe, flute, clarinet, as well as piano. I have been playing oboe for the longest and still currently play it. I have to agree that oboe has been the hardest instrument, and especially the hardest instrument to start out with.

Even after playing for 5 years and practicing daily, it is still very difficult. Reeds are always an issue, and the $12 reeds you buy at your music store don't do justice. Most beginning players don't know and will continue to buy those disgusting reeds at their music store. A few go out, venture online and take a look at the custom made reeds online which was what I did. I tried a few online reed makers, ranging from $15 to $25 usually per reed. I never found any of them to be even decent. They'll make the first few good for you to get your business then turn to crap.

I eventually settled on another reed maker, $35 per reed and I always loved it. That's right, $35 PER reed! And reeds last about 2-3 weeks or about 10 hours of playing time. Reeds are extremely finicky, they change everyday depending on the weather and environment you're in. And the openings are only a few millimeters wide. And when you make them, they're made from thin pieces of special cane. And the cane on reeds are measured in NANOmeters, not millimeters! Nanometers!

I'm not biased, I have met with several band directors on the high school, college and professional levels, a majority have said they agree oboe is the hardest instrument while only 2-3 say French horn. They have also said that they almost never have a good oboe player and they always sound like crap.

Again as many people said here, the votes here are generally biased as people tend to vote for their own instrument and never had any experience with others. I've played piano before and sure I can play at a intermediate level and all I had to worry about were my fingers. With the oboe, I was constantly worrying about my fingers, the tone, how much air and support I'm using. On top of that, I have to worry about if I worked on reeds the previous night and if they play well in the playing environment, which leads me to having to pay attention to the temperature and humidity of the playing environment. And if you have wooden oboe, stress levels just increase. You're then constantly worrying about the humidity and temperature of where you store the oboe or else it will crack and it'll be a costly repair. Then prior to playing a wooden oboe, you have to literally put the joints of the oboe in your jacket or under your arms so that you can warm them up before playing, otherwise, you are encouraging them to crack when you play. Getting started on an oboe is even harder. A decent beginning level instrument runs around $2000-$3000, and unless you're buying handmade reeds from a professional maker or teacher, the store ones are flat and sound like crap. Not to mention the reed openings are about 1mm wide and the path down the oboe is about 1cm on the top joint, causing back pain while playing due to the air pressure. And even with a good reed, with a good oboe in the perfect playing environment, the embouchure is extremely hard to perfect and you'll sound like a duck regardless of the player.

I play the oboe and it is EXTREMELY hard!

V115 Comments

I have been playing the flute for over eight years now. I truly believe that the flute has the hardest and most unique embouchure out there. Don't get me wrong I do believe that violins and strings have a lot of work ahead of them, but truthfully they don't have to have the right format for their mouth. Also if on other instruments not all but most if you have the fingering and certain harmonics of the instrument down you can play any of the types.
This isn't true with flutes. Every flute has a different embouchure, because of the size of the head joint and the opening to the head joint.
I should know I had to change my flute four times well mine was getting repaired.
Also that is another thing with flutes you have to make sure you take extra care of everything because if you don't have a good well oiled cork in the right position in the head joint you will cause a natural note to actually sound as if it is a flat. If someone picks up a flute for the fact that they believe that it is "easy" or "simple". Well this person is seriously mistaken.

I learned how to play the flute and it is much easier said than done so I do not that the flute is 5th hardest instrument to play.

The flute is a very lyrical instrument, meaning it requires more air than any other woodwind instrument to get a good tone. Assuming you can even produce a note on your first day, you are guaranteed to get light headed until you've spent a good amount of time practicing. You really have to be expressive with your sound (which again, requires a ton of air) to make your playing impressive.
The flute also comes with so many technical difficulties, thanks to the fact that we must play it horizontally it can get uncomfortable especially if you play for more than an hour. The fingering itself is actually pretty easy, but being able to play lightning fast passages is a quintessential feature of mastering the flute.
In conclusion, the flute demands the best of all aspects of musicality. You must be extremely determined and work hard every day to really stand out as an accomplished musician.

Flute should honestly be #1 here, because it is a PAIN IN THE BUTT to learn how to embouchure properly, get all the fingerings right, learn how to use the other "extra keys", and plus, we blow the air ABOVE the embouchure hole, not into it, so like 80% of our air is 'wasted', for the lack of a better word. On the other note (haha, see what I did there? ), after you learn it it is the best feeling in the world to let go, forget your surroundings, and just play whatever piece you currently have. Also, people, there are different sized flutes, so we are NOT able to play all flutes if we are able to learn one. If you learn piano, you can play any keyboard! Every flute has a different feel to it, especially after it is used for a while. And there is also no other feeling like playing your own flute, the one that you learned on especially. AND, if you do not put in the head joint properly, or put your arm in the right angle, there goes your beautiful sound. Also, there's the format and shape of the mouth that matters. If you have a tiny little button head with a scrunched up mouth, with a big chance you're not going to be a flutist anytime soon. Also, it is probably the most sensual instrument of all it requires that feeling and touch... (Excuse me if I get sentimental, this is a really soft spot of mine) And that practice you need to be able to play fast! As you might know, it is not possible to play multiple notes at the same time on the flute. THE practice it takes to master those quick changes, the ones that can only take up milliseconds or the whole song is ruined, like C to D, that, my friend, I wish you good luck with. Also, do not say it is easy to play just because you see someone play it with ease, or it "looks easy". How do you know how much that person practiced? If you play Hot Cross Buns, then of course, it's easy. But if you start to play some Mozart or Bach, then let me see your face, because it is not even possible to be compared to Hot Cross Buns. And only say you can play the flute if you can actually blow into it. If you can't yet blow into it, you are learning. And even after, you are still learning. There is almost no way to master this instrument! There will always be layers that will surprise and shock you, even if you have been playing for 20+ years. And like, THE power and lungs you need to blow a strong note... Phuh. You will be surprised. And please, do not ever say that this is a soft and feminine instrument! It just takes a good pair of lungs, practice, and possibly some talent, and the trumpets will fall off their seats. This instrument should be #1, as I already said.

I been doing it for almost 2 years and I'm still have problems with the fingering.

V169 Comments

I think it's telling what obscure instruments, such as the bagpipes an oboe end up on this list.

I wouldn't say the pipes are the hardest. With good instruction and a the obligatory practice, it is possible to become a very competent piper in a few years. The pipes only have nine notes, and there are not dynamics or rests, so in a way they are a very simple instrument to play.

But the pipes are incredibly hard to break into. They're not like a trumpet, clarinet or a piano where you can play simple beginner tunes full of minims and crotchets. You're straight onto quavers and semi quavers. Even slow tunes like Amazing grace have short notes. This is made worse because pipes don't handle crossed notes well at all. So fingering has to be perfect from the start. Because there are only nine notes, pipe music is decorated with embellishments - groups of up to six grace notes played very rapidly after each other. They require skill and precision to play properly.

Then there is the blowing/air pressure/tuning. The pipes have to be kept at a very constant pressure otherwise they will be out of tune. This requires a lot of lung, lip and arm strength, endurance and coordination. But the pipes are very cantankerous with tuning anyway, individual notes on the chanter fall in and out of tune and have to be adjusted by wrapping tape over the holes, and the drones often need readjusting.

Once you get this stuff sorted, it is easy to play very nice pipe music without mastering the instrument. But few people have the patience and discipline to make it to this point.

Bagpipes are definitely one of the hardest, for reasons stated. I'll say as someone who has only been playing for 2 years on the pipes (3 on practice chanter) that I'm amazed at great pipers-YouTube "gordon duncan" or "stuart liddel" and you will see what I mean. No doubt that any instrument takes years to master it (meaning play it very well) my partner used to play the French horn and yeah-that is very hard instrument to play. For pipes, I'll say that you first have to learn how to play the tune on the practice chanter, then jump and play it on the bagpipes (whole nother instrument) then if you play in a band, have to memorize it again with the band. The goal of a pipe band is to sound like one large bagpipe (sometimes they through harmonies in there too). Put that and have to march in sync and it takes lots of concentration and practice.

Keep in mind that the slightest over blowing or under blowing will put the drones and/or chanter out of tune. Additionally if you don't have enough hemp on the drones they could slide down due to the vibration and then they are out of tune. Other hard instruments: pipe organ, harp.

Nobody on this damn forum has any clue about these musical instruments obviously. Electric guitar is one of the easiest instruments you can learn. The acoustic guitar should be above it too. However as a professional level pipe player in a grade 1 pipe band (means I'm really good) I say Bagpipes are the worlds hardest instrument.

starting with the physical aspect it takes loads and loads of air to keep pipes going, as well as the player must keep the pressure in the bag even so that you don't get fluctuation in the tuning of the 3 drones and the chanter, which adds more concentration.

while maintaining this pressure the actual fingerings are irregular, which must be played for proper tone. Not to mention all the embellishments which make playing so unique.

Not even the harp is in the top 10 this entire list is pathetic. Someone who actually know something about these instruments should be making up this list.

The only thing that makes sense as to how the bagpipes ended up at the very bottom of this list is that so few people have the passion and perseverance to stay with the process long enough to even play them...well, or otherwise! I have played the trumpet, French horn, baritone, piano, and organ...the bagpipes are, by far, the hardest thing I may have ever done, let alone the hardest instrument to play!

V31 Comments

No instrument can be mastered. It is just not possible, but drumming us by far the hardest instrument to play. Drums have been around forever, anybody who hits anything in time could basically call themselves a drummer. People have been hitting things to a pulse forever, from all time periods, and from all parts of the world. This makes drumming not only one of the oldest musical forms, it makes it one of the most widely played the most widely played. You don't see some guy in the streets of Dubai, or a tiny village in Ecuador playing the Bassoon. Drumming ranges from very subtle and complexed brush strokes for jazz, and advanced double bass riffs for heavy metal to playing a marching snare drum in the cadets (one of the most widely acclaimed percussion groups in the world), or playing bells in a concert band. That's right bells, if you play bells you're playing piano except with sticks. ( right now piano is the #3 hardest instrument to play on thus list right now making drums at least #2)

As a 50 year old terrible guitarist I started playing drums about a year ago because it has been relatively easy for me to keep time in my head and on the guitar. I quickly found that that I had a knack for the drums and immediately enjoyed playing them. As I have progressed it is clear to me how difficult the drums really are to play well. I agree with everything said here about how difficult it is to play drums. Although I have listened to thousands of songs over and over now that I play drums I can really appreciate the incredible skill of so many "professional" drummers... Even on types of music I hate. That's another thing... On the guitar I would not think about trying to play styles of music I don't care for but that is not the case with drums. I would recommend the drums to anyone with an interest in playing instruments. Yes they are difficult and impossible to master but compared to some other instruments way more fun! Plus it can be a very good workout!

Playing the drums is much hard than you think. There is a lot more to it than hitting things. There's a STYLE to things, if you can believe it. And there's also an actually proven and true way to hold drumsticks! Did you know that, everyone who points with their fingers on the stick? And then again, there are multiple kinds of drums. If you're counting keyboard and auxiliary percussion instruments, you've got at least 400 instruments to learn. If you think drums are easy, please take the test my percussion teacher use to give me. Please explain to me what a snare drum is, how to tune it, how it works, and name every part of the drum in thirty seconds. Go! And if you can do that, then I'm impressed. Now get out your rudiment book and play swiss flamdragadiddle inverted cheesy taps with the eighth note at 180. After you've done that, you can say drums are easy. Thank you.

Drums are the hardest!

V60 Comments
8Electric Guitar

I agree that violin is tougher than guitar because its fret-less but drums and piano being harder is obsolete. I heard some one say that the electric guitar can be played by anyone without much assistance. Well I too have composed some melodies and arpeggios in piano without any assistance at the first time itself. *BURN*. And its much easier to find the notes of a same key in piano than in an electric guitar. I agree chords are easy in a guitar (although being a guitar teacher for almost 6 months I found out most people have trouble playing them too for a very very long time. I guess I just grasped it fast because of my love for the instrument) but go ahead and start with some crazy legato sessions, big sweep pickings and finger breaking licks and then support your statement. And that's just the easy part. Go way too deep into the theory and you might never come up. Triads, Scales of major, minor and pentatonic and then modes. God help me. Ionian, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian and aeolian. But it's still not over. We still got major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th, diminished 7th, minor 7b5th, superimposing arpeggios! And these are just the 7th's! This is for all those who think drums are better than guitar. I could play drums better before I even knew what a chord was in a guitar. And on top of that these are all in just one tuning that is the standard tuning. Change the tunings and everything changes. EVERYTHING! And hate to break it but there are many many many tunings. Open tunings ( open G, Open A etc etc), drop tunings (drop C, drop D tec etc) and many more. And STILL, the toughest part is still left. Making a melody all out out of it so that it can touch people's heart. That's the toughest part. I've never heard drums making someone cry.

Don't take me wrong. I don't hate drums, or piano or any other instrument. I play both of them and I like it and don't want to brag but I'm pretty good at 'em too. Not a novice player at all. Some times its good to break out from your own instrument for a while and try others just for the fun of it. But overall GUITAR is what touched me. And it has distortion! Most people are jealous because of the crazy attention a guitarist gets and you should be but I can't help it because distortion is way too good and people love it. Its the only instrument that actually rocks and in the same time can make you cry too.

I couldn't imagine distortion in a piano or a violin or any such instrument all, which made me fall in love with this instrument. Yeah although they've put distortion in those keyboards and all but we're talking about the real deal here. AT the end of the day, it's all about music touching you. Hope you get the message. Signing out.

Widest spread of music to fully master is on a guitar. There are so many different styles of playing which require masterful finger manipulation. These include flamenco, classical, rock solos, progressive metal (arguably solos are as intricate as the most intricate of piano music). Some of the advanced level techniques for electric guitars including pinch harmonics, double picking, as well as just the general ability to pick and press 32nd notes at precisely the same time are quite difficult to master. Anyone who does not see guitar as a difficult instrument to "master" is deluded by the a few reasons: 1, a lot of people pick up guitar as a hobby and can easily sound good at it just by strumming chords in rhythm 2, A lot of mainstream music that people learn on guitar is very basic, you wouldn't compare the basic music on piano with intricate guitar solos, would you? 3, If you've ever had piano lessons with a classical instrument growing up, you may be scorned by the tedious learning and hard instruction.. All great guitarists go through that as well at some point or other, the problem is that a lot of people don't (never becoming masters at guitar) but still playing basic songs for their friends--hence the "anyone can pick up guitar and play it" stigma. My own experience with piano and guitar are both quite different, both take a lot of work to master (as with any instrument) but I just feel there are far more techniques to master on guitar at higher levels, furthermore, it took me MUCH longer to break into the upper echelons of guitar music than it did with piano.. Just me thoughts! Everyone will always be biased toward the instrument they spent the most time on

While I agree a piano might be one of the hardest, the guitar requires you to manipulate strings to produce notes. A guitar is harder than most strings because it has 6 string where most others have only 4. I don't think hitting notes with precision like on a violin really count as hard to do. Once you get good at any instrument, you should be able to hit a note perfectly without thinking about it. With a guitar it might not be as noticeable when hitting a note slightly off, but anyone that's any good considers this unacceptable. The violin has a small neck making it easier to play faster, so anyone who thinks needing to play fast is a valid argument is wrong. Some of the best guitarist play just as fast and have to move a longer distance across a neck and stretch their fingers farther. Guitars have all the same elements like vibratos. Most of the people who are voting for the violin seem to know nothing about the guitar and just think because it's an instrument they play it should be deemed hardest. I have played a violin before. Picking with a guitar can also be challenging because most of the time your only strumming halfway down the strings and have to stop perfectly in between strings, which if you're strumming right should be pretty difficult because the pick slides almost effortlessly across the notes making it incredibly difficult to stop mid strum. If you had to manipulate the notes on a piano it would be hands down the hardest of instruments to play. I definitely think piano is a very close second if not equivalent.

Electric guitar is the coolest

V48 Comments

Seperates rhythmical patterns at once, varying not only by hand, but by leg or even fingers. Coordination to where the keys are mastered to pianist level, then adding the feet, then understanding the stops, how to arrange them, the ability to leap out and change them during performance, understand the thumb tabs, and the toe tabs, what the different keyboards do, and how to arrange the different voices. You have several keyboards to manipulate, with both hands and feet, literally dozens to hundreds of voices to order, volumes to maintain. Piano allows for some allowances on hitting keys slightly, try that on an organ and the note will play and ring out through the church, allowing for no error. The keys must be depressed properly or a harsh chopping sound will burst from the pipes. I could go on.

Organ requires hand-eye coordination, as well as being able to know where the feet are respective to the pedals. On top of that, a person playing the Organ has to worry about stops, more than one keyboard (manual) and pistons which change the tone or couple the manuals.

I've been playing Organ for 5 1/2 years now.

A bit off the subject, but I have no one else to share this with. My 16yr old son plays piano and learning a Bach piece. It got me thinking and I was daydreaming last week that I was keeping him company in his empty school chapel while he was practicing on the organ. He has never played the organ and its never been mentioned. But oddly after a school orchestra performance today (he plays bass in it) he was asked if he would consider taking a scholarship on the organ. It has to be harder than the piano with all that extra feet work and three staves.

Pipe organ is likely, the most difficult instrument to master, because of its multitasking of its keyboard, foot pedals and pull knobs

V20 Comments

I used to play violin (honestly, I don't know how it's considered the hardest to play, I was able to play many songs within the first two months of playing. If violin is the hardest, viola, cello, and bass should be up there as well) and switched from orchestra to band to play bassoon. I wanted something more challenging, and after 2 and a half years of playing the violin just wasn't doing it for me. The bassoon took me forever just to get the first note, F, out of it. It's definitely a test of how much oxygen you can store in your lungs. As compared to most other instruments, the bassoon is heavy and it has keys all over the place. You won't have much luck playing it if your fingers are short- lucky for me, mine are long and feminine. You have to be well aware of what you're playing on the bassoon. One wrong key and you make a very obvious mistake. In class I find myself constantly adjusting my mouth to get the right sound, particularly on the higher notes. This year I was trying out for district band and it was extremely hard trying to find someone to help teach me- in fact I never did find anyone which resulted in me having to have a trombone player assist. This also leads me to the fact that my band teacher is school has a lack of bassoon sheet music, so I'm always playing the trombone part. This messes me up when she can find bassoon music, like this time when we played March Mania by Michael Story I was seated by the trombones, at after school practice I found myself extremely confused because I had the melody at the beginning and the trombones didn't. It also messed me up at measure 61 (it's my favorite of the entire piece) when I split off from the trombones and was playing along with the Bb tuba, whom was all the way at the other end so I could barely hear her. I just really think bassoon is a difficult but amazing instrument and it should really be at the top of the list.

Bassoons are by far the most difficult instrument to play. Very few people play the bassoon and finding teachers or help at all is almost impossible unless you live near a university or a big city with an orchestra. And unlike other instruments (except oboe and bag pipes) we have to make our own reeds specialized to our instrument! Buying reeds is also expensive ranging from $10-40. The tools to make reeds range to $400! Oh and don't forget that there are many different fingerings for each note! F Sharp has 17 different fingering. You have sensitivity points on the reed depending on whether its a low, middle or high range note. Once you get past second octave G you start using 'Flick Keys" that you play with your left thumb, that's 9 keys for 1 thumb to continually flick for each note. There is no octave key, a bassoonist has to learn specific flick keys, thumb keys and half hole patterns to jump octaves. All bassoons are hand made and there for have different quirks depending on the brand you buy since there is no universal bassoon set and make. All I'm getting at here is that. Bassoons are a beast to play and conquer. I recommend it for all.

Bassoon poses a number of issues irrelevant to many others, wind control for pitch dynamics and tone colour, embouchure for these things and playing the different registers, key holes which can have adjusted amounts covered for each note and which are delicate in exactly covering the notes you want, illogical fingering in the higher register, similar to clarinet. The thumbs are in high demand as well on bassoon and it can get quite difficult if fast passages require you to use your thumbs a lot. Violin is hard, yes, and I don't think bassoon is the hardest but nor is violin. just to compare them a bit more, you need to be aware of climate and conditions constantly because simply adjusting your instrument doesn't cut it when it comes to tuning a bassoon, you have to constantly monitor it with your ears, breath and mouth. there are also issues with muscular and aerobic stamina. If you cannot consider these things worthy of calling difficult, go play the electric guitar because that's got to be the easiest instrument that shouldn't be on the list.

Much harder than the rest

V39 Comments

The Newcomers

?Contra Alto Clarinet

It is so big that no one can play it.


I have been playing the alto saxophone for about a year and so far it's pretty hard! The lower register requires a lot of air, if not you will get a "warbling" sound. Sometimes middle D and E are stuffy. The higher register requires a lot of air to get a nice sound. But I love sax, I'll recommend it to anyone.

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Me as a beginner violist I still have a lot to learn but I can tell you now it's NOT an easy ride! Violist often need bigger hands and fingers that can spread far because playing the viola is pretty hard and it has different strings then the violin! Viola's also need more pressure applied to the strings then the violin and espically the bows! I held a cello bow and compared it to the viola bow and it was super light! I was surprised because you'd think a cello bow would be heavier! And I could be wrong but I was shocked! And I have absolutely nothing against Violins or cellos but I think the viola just might be a little harder then them

No one knows about it, and at the same time most instruments require you to read treble or bass clef. Viola is a whole new world and you need to learn how to read alto clef and eventually the tenor clef. Much bigger hands are needed to play this than the violin since it must be played like a violin but the fingers need to be spaced wider.

Considering that the viola similar to the violin and cello, it should be ranked higher. Alto clef is its main clef and it also requires violists to read treble clef. With that being said, the viola can't play as high as the violin but it can still go pretty high which would result in serious shifting. As many violists know, shifting can be a pain sometimes. The viola can do a lot of the things the violin can do and the two make a great team.

That's why I always have markings on my viola. And the alto clef, is very rare. It need some time to get into this.

V27 Comments

Yes definitely. I go to a performing arts school double majoring in band and orchestra. I've played viola for seven years, clarinet for six years, flute for four years, tenor sax for two years, and violin last Christmas. I played oboe before clarinet but it didn't suit me. In all honesty, all instruments are hard. No one can just pick up an instrument and play it. They all have their own techniques and tricks to them. I say orchestra instruments (violin, viola, cello, & upright bass) are a greater challenge than that of brass and woodwinds. For those instruments, you have a key/valve to put your fingers down and you can play the note. For orchestra instruments, you have to know where the fingering is on the fingerboard in order to play the desired note. Same with guitar, but it's more difficult having the instrument held horizontally in the air while bowing, or having the instrument held vertical while bowing. For piano, yes that is hard, moving great distances in short time and all the keys look the same, but again, you have a key to press. And orchestra instruments require shifting, which is more difficult. If you're a Clarinetist, you can pick up a sax and start playing. It's easy, I'd know. But sax is hard in its own ways. It's very hard to play low notes on sax versus clarinet it is very easy. Flute took me a while to learn, I was used to a stringed or reeded instrument. What takes a while is being able to play a note in the embrochure. Once you have that down, you advance pretty quickly. Second hardest instrument for me would be Clarinet. It looks easy but it is not. First of all, you have all these keys and side keys, and then when you get past high C the fingerings get whacko. Second of all, no one sees what is going on inside the mouth. You have to have the clarinet at a certain angle, your tongue has to touch a certain spot on the reed, your diaphragm has to be very supportive, your embrochure is VERY important, when in higher octaves your tongue has to be at a certain spot in your mouth otherwise the sound is airy, and in order to avoid squeaking, your embrochure has to be just right. You do feel fatigue in your mouth a lot and tonguing is very difficult. To tongue notes, especially higher notes, smooth, fast, and efficiently, that requires a lot of muscle control from your mouth. But despite these things, orchestra instruments are more complex, and they go out of tune easily, even while playing.

A cello is probably the hardest instrument to play. Mainly because of the increments in the notes are much further apart than other instruments. This requires more shifting, and since the notes are indefinite on a string instrument it is harder to get the correct note. The cello has a very wide range, 5 octaves (approximately, I checked myself a while ago), which gives it a uniqueness to it, which is in fact similar to the male voice. The cello requires you to co-ordinate your bow and fingers together too, and those in themselves need separate co-ordination, like the bow angle, position and speed, as well as a correct bow-hold. You also need to train your fingers to develop a callas on them, so that your fingers are then used to the string and wont develop indents into your finger every time you play. I've played cello for about 6 years now, which have started at primary school learning all the basics. Only a few can use that to progress rapidly and start professionally playing, fewer than instruments such as the violin and piano. Also, the cello is hard to learn, definitely, because it's hard to find a good cello teacher, a specialist, that can teach you what you need to know to progress at a fast rate. There are many more teachers for other instruments, for example the violin, it is the traditional leading instrument of the orchestra, for a few reasons. Firstly, it was the first instrument invented. Then, when there were other instruments available people stuck to the violin because they were familiar with it, plus it was much easier to carry around (imagine carrying a double bass around to concerts everyday! ), and it would also be the proffered instrument because more music was written for it, and more teachers were able to teach it. I think people are starting to realize now the instruments such as cello, and more people are switching to it. Some of the most famous players of the cello such as Yo-Yo Ma, originally played the violin then switched to the cello because of numerous reasons. Cello music is often written in numerous clefs, most of the time, base, tenor or treble, which makes it harder for cello players to learn all those notes, and there corresponding positions on the staff. I reckon cello is by far the best instrument (although many others are awesome to! ), and the hardest, to play. -)

Cello, in my humble opinion, is very difficult to play. As someone said before me, the cello has a large fingerboard, and you need to have extreme coordination and muscle memory to find the perfect note. I'm not saying that brass or woodwind instruments aren't hard (they totally are), but they have set places for your fingers to go, and if you place the right amount of pressure while covering the hole, you can make perfect notes (if your instrument is in tune, that is... ) almost every time. For cellos (or any other stringed instrument, for that matter), Every time you place your fingers down, you get a slightly different pitch than when you first played that note. Also, even though we almost never get the melody in a score, that doesn't mean that playing our part is easy. We have to shift every time we want to play a high note that the higher instruments can play with ease, and we have to do a lot of string hopping to get the desired sound. I believe that all instruments are equally difficult, but the cello was, for me, harder (for some reason yet to be uncovered).

Two words, MUSCLE MEMORY. That is all you need to play this instrument almost perfectly. This makes it one of the easiest. You can get very good muscle memory by just playing it for a year. All these people who are saying this is one of the hardest instruments to play, obviously didn't practice much.

V32 Comments

I say piccolo is the HARDEST to play. I play the piccolo (and flute, of course); it has its similarities and differences. Piccolo is the loudest instrument in the band/orchestra. It is the smallest, yet it takes the most air. The fingerings are the same. I highly recommend you use alternate fingerings for extremely high notes, such as the high Ab. High notes are stupid hard on piccolo. Notes on the piccolo are absolutely nothing compared with flute. You need very good lung power to play piccolo well. If you play with not enough air, you will be flat. If you play with too much air, you will have a sharp tone, so it's hard to find that "in-between" stage. This is all thanks to a different embouchure. It is shrill to the ears, so make sure you have your earplugs handy. I cannot compare flute/piccolo to other instruments, considering the fact that those are the only instruments I play well. Fingers are tightly packed, as well. I guess piccolo is recommended for those with smaller hands and fingers so that they don't awkwardly bump the wrong keys or knock rods out of place. I have been playing flute for 7 years and piccolo for a little over a year. My piccolo playing has improved some, but not where I think it should be.
My advice: DO NOT start with piccolo before flute or any other instrument, for that matter. The notes (especially high ones) are not that easy. If you have trouble with high notes on flute, it will be darn near impossible on piccolo. I would say wait until you have reached a professional level on flute before advancing to the more difficult piccolo. You WILL get used to it with time, but it takes practice, practice, and more practice.
In the end, it is a very rewarding auxiliary instrument to know how to play. There are never enough players. If you have what it takes, GO FOR IT! Don't let it scare you. ;) Then, you can master Stars & Stripes Forever!

~Piccolo rocks!

I play the piccolo and the flute. But of course I think piccolo is harder because your hands have to be small so you can fit all your fingers on the keys. Then your embrasure has to be really small because the piccolo plays the notes that are even higher than the flute.

I'm a flautist and have attempted the piccolo. I'm rather decent with the flute after 5 years, but the piccolo requires more air power and effort to learn altogether it seems. Flute isn't necessarily in the wrong place, ranked at 5, but I feel that piccolo should be above it.

I just have to say that the piccolo is much harder than the flute and should be one rank above it.

V6 Comments

Buzz the right pitch with your lips, place the slide at the length that best amplifies that pitch and allows it to resonate, make fine adjustments with the slide hand for tuning purposes, and articulate with the tongue... All simultaneously.

Like the orchestral string instruments, the trombone is not a fixed-pitch instrument and requires constant tuning adjustment on the fly. The trombone takes a great deal of air and playing it is a very athletic endeavor indeed. This instrument is incredibly challenging to play both musically and physiologically.

It is a joke. Instruments such as French horn or trombone are much more physical, yet still with great detail to consider, all the time. Think about how hard slurring and legato is. Even the first desk violinist in my orchestra who plays the trombone too admits that the trombone is a lot harder. The trombone should be MUCH higher, at least in the top 10, if not more.

Okay, this list is terribly inaccurate. The electric guitar, flute and bass guitar should not be in the top ten. The trombone is definitely more difficult than all of those instruments and the trumpet, but not as difficult as the french horn and a few other ones (e.G. oboe, acoustic guitar, violin). The trombone should definitely be close to the top five.

Also, where the hell is the harp?!

Trombone is amazing and awesome and I've been playing for years, but definitely not the hardest instrument to learn. I started my 2nd year in high school for marching band, switching from clarinet to trombone. I have to admit, it was a very hard switch. Woodwind to brass isn't easy, but I learned to play the instrument as well as 4-5th year trombone players in 2 months. It's not that difficult. There aren't any buttons to worry about, and if your pitch is sharp/flat, all you have to do is slide it into place! Trombone is awesome, but easy.

V43 Comments

Wow, I'm stunned. I thought trumpet would be up there with #1 being the hardest. I have played and performed on several instruments in my life: accordion, piano, drums, guitar, bass. None of them has been as hard as the trumpet for me which I recently started about 3 months ago (just to see how far I could go on it). Having my musical background I was able to pick up the mandolin and violin and within three to five months I was able to play something for people and entertain in a pro situation (with fiddle tunes, no classical). However, acquiring a usable range and stamina to play something performance worthy (solo) on the trumpet, as far as I can see at this time, is long way off for me -- perhaps years.

I guess I agree that violin and piano is probably the hardest at a advanced classical level. But, the trumpet is the hardest from the get go -- just to produce a pleasing sound! It's NOT an instrument you can pick up and start jamming on within a few months for sure, at least it's not happening for me. It makes sense to me now that they start kids off on trumpet at a early age when they are not as result oriented as we become when we are adults.

Nope: trumpet is definitely the most difficult. The violin and the piano are both physical instruments you use your fingers instead of your mouth (something much easier). There is a reason why some people learn trumpet for upwards of 10 years and yet can never get even close to a master's sound and pitch, while you see so many Asians (yes, I'm being a stereotype-labeling person) mastering the piano or the violin in 5 years. Especially in high school the students in Chamber Orchestra can put out the EXACT same sound, with varying levels of 3 years of experience or 8. Go to the marching band, and the trumpets' sound vary VASTLY. Many adults who have played the trumpet are still limited to the same range that they possessed when they were in college or high school. In addition, one who plays the trumpet gets a lot more tired (and a lot more quickly too) than one who plays the violin or the piano. Those two people (violin/piano) can quite literally play a piece for 10 minutes straight - most who play trumpets can manage at most 5 or 6.

Its not so hard to pick up, but my god is it difficult to master. I've been playing trumpet for 9 years now and I'm up to grade 6/7, and I can just about reach a top A. To put it in comparison I've been learning violin for 1 year and I'm up to grade 2 and I can play every note there is. Up to about grade 5 is the margin between people who play trumpet for fun, and the people who take it seriously - you have to worry about where in the mouthpiece your embouchure is, which lip is forwards, which direction the air stream is in, how big your aperture is, what combination of valve to use for which notes (there is more than one for each) and even then your chops are working harder (in ratio to their size) than almost every muscle in your body. And then your diaphragm is also pushing the air into the trumpet, you have to make sure you aren't pushing the trumpet against your lips so your aperture is clear of metal, etc etc etc etc etc etc

I'm shocked the trumpet isn't in the top ten. I've been playing it for 6 years now, one of the best in my high school, and I still don't have a good range and struggle with keeping a good tone. Every note you play on the trumpet is out of tune, so you constantly have to adjust your embouchure. Also, it's a pain to play with braces more than any other woodwind or string instrument. Finally, you actually have to build up some muscle in your lips to play higher notes. The trumpet does only have 3 keys, but don't let that fool you. You can play an abundance of different notes from those 3 keys, but you have to be able to master your air and embouchure to do so.

V66 Comments

I've been playing the harp ever since I was two years old. It is VERY hard. You have to strike the right chords at the times, read the music, pluck the strings with most of your fingers with both hands AND hold it properly in between your knees and on your shoulder. I think the violin and the hard should be in the top two! I've been learning violin, piano, accordion flute and saxophone ever since I was 2 as well so I've got quite a fair share on which instruments are hard or not :) My harp has 47 strings, so it is VERY heavy to carry around laugh out loud! But is also cost an arm and a leg! It was £40,000! And the good thing about harps is that they don't depreciate in value unless you smash it around :) I've had my 47 string harp since I was 4 and we were about to sell it for a better one last year, and when the harpist came around to look at it, he said he'd pay us £50,000! So really, it appreciates in value

The harp has all the complexity of a piano (two staves, multiple notes in both hands), but the additional plucking action really sets it apart from piano - you have to be on the note and prepare before plucking. Then, seven pedals, each with 3 positions to control the accidentals. But you have to time them exactly right so you don't get buzzing, and if you're doing them fast then you have to release them on the spring rather than putting them exactly where you need to. You have to build up your callouses on your fingers by playing a lot. Painful! And controlling the timbre of the strings is really hard too - I can hear how I want it to sound, but its hard to make it happen. There are 47 Strings! Violins have 4! Why is harp number 11 on the list - its only because not many people play it and vote for it! It should be number 1! (I played piano and oboe before starting harp, but now I just play harp because It's SO CHALLENGING! (But good).

I have been playing the celtic harp (no pedals) for the last 4 years and it is very challenging---despite my having played the piano since I was 7 years old and am now retired. I have a degree in music, am a professional singer, and have taught elementary school vocal music. When I began harp, everyone said it would be easy because I play piano. Yes and no! With harp, one has to "place" all 4 fingers down before playing so one is constantly looking ahead--unlike piano. The finger patterns are very different from piano and hand techniques different as well--so sometimes I have to block out my piano hand technique so I don't try to use it on the harp. Like piano, one is playing different patterns on each hand--simultaneously and that's where being a pianist helps a lot. With both piano and harp though, if one plays musically and corrrectly, then even the simplest piece will sound beautiful and that's one's incentive to keep on practicing!

Well this should be higher than the piano.

V22 Comments
17Acoustic Guitar

Most instruments are roughly equally difficult. See if you agree with my argument.
(I play violin and guitar. I do not play piano. )

Violin making a note in tune and making it sound good is very hard

Piano playing a note is as easy as banging a tambourine... Or is it?

Guitar playing a note is moderately easy and probably somewhere between a violin and a piano.

But now we play 8 notes on a piano 4 on a guitar and usually one on a violin and things start to even out.

The easier it is to play a note on an instrument then, it seems, the more is "expected" from it.

The guitar is probably hardest to "finger", the violin hardest for tone, the piano hardest to read and play multiple parts simultaneously. The guitar requires strength and is a nightmare of gymnastics. The violin is the least forgiving by way of intonation and a musical ear, and the piano has so little variation in tone that it takes great skill to bring this out as is expected of a great player (I am not a piano player).

That's why it probably takes about the same effort to be a pro at any major orchestral or rock / pop / or jazz band instrument. The piano is "easier" than the violin but the pianist is expected to play 6 to ten notes and the violinist one or 2.

And it all equalizes out. Do you agree?

Okay, everyone here is saying that "mastering" a guitar means learning some chords and then learning a few riffs. No! Gosh, to learn flamenco or classical or really good bluegrass guitar... That's DIFFICULT. Most people couldn't self-teach that.

I remember when I was twelve or so and I got my first acoustic guitar. I would play for hours and my fingers would bleed sometimes. Building the strength to avoid buzzing/muted/ringing strings was tricky at first, too.

I think that every instrument is equally difficult to learn, depending on how far you're willing to go with it. Acoustic guitar isn't easy, though. So this instrument gets my vote.

I think that the acoustic guitar is harder to play then the electric for a few simple factors, one being the gauge of the strings, the string are really thick and hard to press down, and they tear your flesh of your fingers a lot quicker then that of an electric, also the distance between the fretboard and the strings is a lot greater so makes it harder to play chords and stuff, the electric is easier to press down strings, easier to hold, has thiner string and is so much easier to play higher notes!

Switching chords is super hard until you get the hang of it...

V28 Comments
18Bass Guitar

To start I'm a bass player by profession and I've played for over 15 years. Bass has to be the hardest instrument to play because they are so big and the frets are stretched so far apart. You must either have large hands or very fast hands to play bass, sometimes a combination of both. So in a way some people don't even have the physical prerequisites to play bass, that's not something you can practice to make better. Don't try to say guitar is harder than bass because it has more strings. I own and seldom play an 11 string bass. But yea hockeyguy2100 was right when he says "It's easy to be ok at bass, but it's impossible to master bass". Good thing flea has been my favorite bass player since I was 13 laugh out loud.

Bass is the instrument that holds it all together. Its physical and takes a lot of hand strength. The challenges are many from the endurance aspect all the way to getting a proper tone. I don't believe there is a most difficult instrument. They can all be a easy or as challenging as you make them. Its the amount of time and dedication you put into it.

I would definitely agree with this. Its easy to be ok at base but its impossible to master bass... Unless you are flea or victor wooten laugh out loud - hockeyguy2100

A lead guitarist could never play the bass like flea etc

V9 Comments

The clarinet is REALLY hard to master (I should know, since I actually play it). Your embochure has to be just perfect to even make a sound, or else it will squeak. It squeaks the most out of ANY instrument here. And your mouth can get tired SUPER easily too. There are many, many good things about the clarinet, such as how it has the highest range out of all of the brass and woodwind instruments. We have buttons, holes, and many many keys on the clarinet. The clarinets usually get the melody in songs, so you never will get bored while playing a song. Everyone thinks the clarinet is easy, but it's not. All of the instruments are hard to master, but the clarinet should be at least in the top 10. - Minecraftcrazy530

I've been playing the clarinet for 5 years now and its pretty difficult because you need to find a good reed, you need A LOT of air, you need to be able to articulate notes, change dynamics, and much much more. It's a complicated instrument. Its definitely not easy.

It kind of annoys me that clarinet is so low on the list of hard instruments to play. Violin is the hardest to play apparently which I do not believe but I wouldn't know because I only play the clarinet. I also think that clarinet is harder to play than the piano. To play a note on the clarinet you have to blow enough, hold the clarinet right, have your mouth right, and much more. But for piano all you have to do is push a key. Sorry for my rant.

I think its quite hard as there's the reed to worry about and then the keys, and then the right blowing. You also have to get the blowing and mouth position right. As well as that, the air that goes through actually makes a sound slightly AFTER you blow, so you have to be good at time and stuff. No need to brag, but I'm quite good at the clarinet but when I first started it took me 3 weeks to learn how to blow the clarinet without squeaking or getting sensitive teeth fits.

Really? You should try something like the French horn or oboe, then say that you have to use a lot of air

Should come before drums

V56 Comments
20Classical Guitar

Although I believe the violin is the hardest instrument to learn, as I've witnessed that firsthand the difficulty to master the violin, I voted for classical guitar. I have got experience in abundance with different musical instruments. I have played the clarinet and recorder, but I did not find that all too difficult. I study classical guitar and piano, and I can assert, that by far, that the piano is much easier to play than classical guitar. Playing Bach pieces on the classical guitar is much more difficult than when I endeavour Bach on the piano. It takes much more effort to play, for instance, Variations on a Theme of Handel (op.107, Giuliani) on the guitar, as opposed to the ease of studying the Harmonious Blacksmith on the piano. CLASSICAL guitar is difficult, I'm not talking about popular music, insipid chord-stroke-music stuff. The mistake people making when they assume that the "classical guitar is such an easy instrument to master", is that they think of the guitar used for mere chords and finger-picking pieces. This is a common mistake what with the versatility of the guitar, is easy to make.

The guitar is a miniature orchestra in the right hands. Consequently the bottom musical line along with the top (melodic) line and inside notes (defining the harmonic content of the music) are all played with the fingertips of the left and right hands simultaneously. The tone and volume of each musical element has to be performed in a balanced beautiful manner. Otherwise the music is lost. The slightest imperfection (which there are many when performing on any instrument) can be caused by any mishap (the slightest movement of a single fingertip). Yet the music must be continued in a manner most convincingly. This is what makes mastering the classical guitar so difficult. Most do not know this because they simply play classical music on the guitar. They don't necessarily do just to JS Bach's music.

I don't believe that the classical guitar is the hardest instrument, but it deserves a special mention. Come on guys, why vote electric guitar over the classical guitar? The Classical guitar is the root of all guitars and mastering this guitar will mean mastering every other guitar in a couple of months. In no way is the electric guitar any harder than the classical guitar, if anything it's easier. With the electric guitar, you are restricted to a plectrum, with a classical you hold 4, or 5 depending on your style, being your fingernails, which constantly have to be taken care of.

The classic guitar is harder then moste people think it is.

V15 Comments
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You can cheat on the violin by sliding into notes
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