Hardest instrument.

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Hardest instrument.

Postby 1st_oboe » Sat May 27, 2006 12:16 am

I'm on another forum with a bunch of big-headed bassoonists that think they are some form of superhuman beings because they can play bassoon to some extent. On that forum, the question has been asked: What is the hardest instrument to play?

According to MENC it's a toss-up between oboe and french horn.

But I have a different answer:
The cowbell is the hardest instrument to master. Think about it, have you ever heard a cowbell player that just amazed you? No? I didn't think so. That must mean it's nearly impossible to be a good cowbell player, otherwise you would occasionally find yourself saying "WOW! That cowbell player was AWESEOME!"

So, MENC, if oboe and french horn are so difficult, why are there so many fantastic oboe and horn players? I've never heard of a professional cowbell player, so that MUST mean it is the most difficult instrument...
Why can't I get a degree in cowbell preformance, but oboe and horn degrees are available for the low low price of a mere 4 years worth of college?
Insert creative phrase here.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sat May 27, 2006 4:01 am

Kazoo. That's a very difficult instrument. And have you ever heard a kazoo choir? It's heart-stopping. :lol:
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Postby GreatCarouser » Mon May 29, 2006 12:19 am

I've never been hit with any instruments so I can only speculate that one of the brass family would be 'hardest'.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue May 30, 2006 2:50 am

GreatCarouser wrote:I've never been hit with any instruments so I can only speculate that one of the brass family would be 'hardest'.


One word. Marimba.
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Postby Patateek » Tue May 30, 2006 5:22 am

Yup, french horn. I know from personal experience. Began in jr. high and played through high school. It was hard. I was 1st chair and could play all the music, but the tone was not there. Quit when my private instructor started having me learn translation reading. That was enough. Maybe that is how he got me to quit coming to lessons. I was 16 and now 46 and still have my horn. Keep thinking I will pick it up again someday.
Maybe the oboe and horn are not that much more difficult but probably more so to play well. It is the lenght of the tubes in the horn that make even the slightest lip variation change notes. Probably the small reed on the oboe.

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Postby Shapley » Tue May 30, 2006 7:56 am

GreatCarouser wrote:I've never been hit with any instruments so I can only speculate that one of the brass family would be 'hardest'.


GC,

Why does this remind me of El Kabong? (Some of you older posters may recall the cartoon. It's one of those you won't see these days, due to racial stereotyping. El Kabong was a cartoon character, I believe he was a horse, that would hit bad guys over the head with a guitar.)

V/R
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Postby Serenity » Tue May 30, 2006 8:06 am

Shapley, that was Quickdraw McGraw's alter ego; his burro sidekick was "Babalouie?". You won't even see them on the Cartoon Network yet they play violent Japanese cartoons. Personally, I miss the old Droopy.
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Postby Shapley » Tue May 30, 2006 8:18 am

Serenity,

Thanks. I had forgotten that he was associated with Quick Draw McGraw. I remember El Kabong better than Quick Draw, perhaps because my brother shouted "El Kabong!" when he hit me over the head with a plastic ukelele once. Left a bit of an impression.

V/R
Shapley

BTW, Here's a link:

http://www.animationusa.com/hb/kabong.html
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Postby bignaf » Tue May 30, 2006 8:39 am

definitely french horn. Go to pro orchestral concerts, and it's likely that the only mistakes you'll hear aill be committed by the horn section.
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Postby jamiebk » Tue May 30, 2006 8:55 am

Please excuse my ignorance on the subject, but what's the big deal with the French Horn?...I mean, it's got three valves same as the trumpet, coronet, and others. Now...if you want a real tough one try the didgeridoo :wink:
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Postby Shapley » Tue May 30, 2006 9:18 am

Clearly the hardest instrument to play is the bagpipe. Invented over a thousand years ago, no one has been able to make music come of them yet.... :D

V/R
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Postby BigJon@Work » Tue May 30, 2006 10:49 am

Shap, you stole my thunder. Ever heard a bagpipe orchestra?
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Postby barfle » Tue May 30, 2006 10:55 am

I have yet to come across an instrument that wasn't far too difficult for me to make music come from.

I can get noise to come out of almost any of them (all of the ones I've tried so far, anyway), but I've always expressed my admiration for anyone who can make music come from anything that's more complex to operate than a record player.

:oops:
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Postby bignaf » Tue May 30, 2006 11:11 am

it's harder to control the embochure on the french horn.
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Postby barfle » Tue May 30, 2006 11:19 am

bignaf wrote:it's harder to control the embochure on the french horn.
So that's what it's called these days. 8)
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Postby Jeff Dutton » Tue May 30, 2006 11:42 am

Well, if they would simply make the mouthpiece bigger the problem would be solved :wink:

...either that, or you need tiny lips...
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Postby navneeth » Tue May 30, 2006 11:51 am

Shapley wrote:GC,

Why does this remind me of El Kabong? (Some of you older posters may recall the cartoon. It's one of those you won't see these days, due to racial stereotyping. El Kabong was a cartoon character, I believe he was a horse, that would hit bad guys over the head with a guitar.)

V/R
Shapley

I didn't recognise that name until you mentioned the guitar part. During the initial stages of CN in India (about 10 years ago), most of the cartoons were from the 60s. Looney Toons, Flinstones, Jetsons and the others that were used as fillers, an example being Quick Draw McGraw.

Btw, I'm just 20. :P
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Postby Shapley » Tue May 30, 2006 11:52 am

BigJon@Work wrote:Shap, you stole my thunder. Ever heard a bagpipe orchestra?


No, I can't say that I've had that ... er .... pleasure. :D

V/R
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue May 30, 2006 12:05 pm

Shapley wrote:
BigJon@Work wrote:Shap, you stole my thunder. Ever heard a bagpipe orchestra?


No, I can't say that I've had that ... er .... pleasure. :D

V/R
Shapley


I have. House of Nations section of Balboa Park, one Sunday that was also some sort of Scottish holiday (Bobbie Burns' Birthday?) and there was a group composed of several pipers and some pipe students. It was amazing. :shock:

Only time I've ever been in Balboa Park, with food laid out on tables and without pigeons lurking on the rooftops.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue May 30, 2006 12:16 pm

jamiebk wrote:Please excuse my ignorance on the subject, but what's the big deal with the French Horn?...I mean, it's got three valves same as the trumpet, coronet, and others...


It's got four valves. And they're rotary, not barrel. Horn players are forever fussing with those wretched valves.

Both my daughters play the French Horn. (I survived. I'm tough.) And both can pick up any of those other brass instruments and play it fairly easily - apparently even the tuba requires less air than the horn. I don't think either one has tried a sousaphone (as an aside, do you know the Marines have a fella who can dance a jig while wearing his Sousaphone?) but between them they've picked up everything else. Son played a trumpet all through high school, and he can't play a french horn. Either of the girls can play his trumpet, no problem.
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