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hardest instrument

GUEST,jbp 22 Sep 09 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Sep 09 - 09:45 PM
Amergin 22 Sep 09 - 09:49 PM
open mike 22 Sep 09 - 10:04 PM
michaelr 22 Sep 09 - 10:09 PM
frogprince 22 Sep 09 - 10:37 PM
olddude 22 Sep 09 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 22 Sep 09 - 11:22 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 09 - 11:42 PM
Stringsinger 22 Sep 09 - 11:55 PM
Don Firth 23 Sep 09 - 01:15 AM
Little Robyn 23 Sep 09 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 23 Sep 09 - 03:02 AM
GUEST,Neovo 23 Sep 09 - 03:15 AM
bill\sables 23 Sep 09 - 03:47 AM
G-Force 23 Sep 09 - 05:13 AM
Jack Campin 23 Sep 09 - 05:16 AM
SteveMansfield 23 Sep 09 - 05:24 AM
romanyman 23 Sep 09 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Sep 09 - 05:45 AM
Leadfingers 23 Sep 09 - 06:33 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Sep 09 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 23 Sep 09 - 06:52 AM
Will Fly 23 Sep 09 - 06:55 AM
kendall 23 Sep 09 - 07:31 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 09 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,jbp 23 Sep 09 - 04:26 PM
Bettynh 23 Sep 09 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,jbp 23 Sep 09 - 04:32 PM
Les from Hull 23 Sep 09 - 04:38 PM
Stower 23 Sep 09 - 05:26 PM
Jack Campin 23 Sep 09 - 05:38 PM
greg stephens 23 Sep 09 - 05:49 PM
Tim Leaning 23 Sep 09 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 23 Sep 09 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 23 Sep 09 - 07:36 PM
Bert 23 Sep 09 - 08:39 PM
Smokey. 23 Sep 09 - 08:49 PM
Tattie Bogle 23 Sep 09 - 08:52 PM
SteveMansfield 24 Sep 09 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,paco griffin 24 Sep 09 - 06:16 AM
GUEST 24 Sep 09 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Phil Williams 24 Sep 09 - 07:53 AM
Acorn4 24 Sep 09 - 08:05 AM
Stu 24 Sep 09 - 09:50 AM
open mike 24 Sep 09 - 10:06 AM
Weasel 24 Sep 09 - 10:56 AM
Tattie Bogle 24 Sep 09 - 11:20 AM
Bill D 24 Sep 09 - 11:26 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 09 - 01:12 PM
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Subject: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,jbp
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 09:18 PM

what is by far the hardest instrument to play?


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 09:45 PM

1. The oboe has the reputation for being hard.

2. There's a South American flute which has a heavenly tone but which requires an incredible effort of breath.

3. Have you ever watched an organist at work? Complex pieces take both hands and both feet. It's like watching a dancer.

So different instruments are hard in different ways, and some of the answer depends of who's doing the playing.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Amergin
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 09:49 PM

The skin flute...while it appears simple to play...I am given to understand that it can be hard...but there again it depends on the person who's playing it....


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: open mike
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 10:04 PM

oooh...let's get back to MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, shall we?

the hurdy gurdy seems complex..
there are always things to mess
with...tuning, and rosin, and
some sort of cotton thingy..
that players are constantly
"fiddling" with...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy_gurdy


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 10:09 PM

Has to be pedal steel guitar - you must coordinate both hands, knees, and feet. A friend of mine is trying to learn it and he says it's devilishly difficult.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: frogprince
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 10:37 PM

Would it be safe to say that any fretless stringed instrument would requre perfect pitch in order to play it at all well? Anyhow, as a non-player, it would seem that way to me.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: olddude
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 10:42 PM

No, it is the sitar .. I guess that take a lifetime to master. I don't even know how someone can keep track of all the strings


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 11:22 PM

I find the voice and the guitar to be hard enough.

Don


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 11:42 PM

I will concure with leenenia #3

"Hurdy Gerdy" give me a break - Five button pushing - Crank Grinding - Italian - Monkey Begger ... one step up from a busking Brit. (Which is below a Roma Gyp....who at least respect family integrity)

The Bach Family - is a great family - perhaps the greatest that came over from old Germany...and they all composed on their organs.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 11:55 PM

Classical violin. Getting a good sound. Finger dexterity. Pitch discrimination.
Unnatural holding position. Bowing technique. Neck problems. Chin sores.
How does Itzak do it?

Solo classical piano. Reams of music paper in your fingers. Memory taxing.
Nerves, nerves, nerves.

Operatic voice.   Fast burnout. (Like a sports figure).   Sing over an orchestra?
Gotta' act, too. And gain weight.

The theremin (/ˈθɛrəmɪn/[1]), originally known as the aetherphone / etherophone or termenvox / thereminvox is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player's hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.

Duet with musical saw and kazoo playing the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. Hardest two instruments.


In reality, any instrument played well is hardest.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 01:15 AM

The Flight of the Bumblebee on the tuba?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Little Robyn
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:01 AM

Northumbrian pipes are pretty hard to learn. They need great co-ordination but the uillean pipes are even harder - squeezing the bag under the left arm, pumping the bellows under the right arm, lifting fingers on the chanter to play the tune, lifting the chanter off your knee whenever you need the bottom note, then using your wrist to operate the regulators on the drones. They do say it takes 7 years to become a beginner, than play for a further 7 years and you can consider yourself a piper, but not a top class one until you've mastered the thing for another 7 years. (Or more.)
Robyn, Northumbrian piper.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:02 AM

Which is the hardest instrument? Well, my ears tell me that the instrument that is most often played badly is the violin/fiddle( dodgy intonation and dodgy timbre . Therefore, I nominate it has the hardest instrument TO PLAY WELL.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:15 AM

I seem to remember another thread about this some time ago. I still maintain the hardest instrument to play is the one you really don't want to play - the easiest is the one you have fallen in love with and have an aptitude for and are prepared to dedicate time to.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: bill\sables
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:47 AM

The hardest instrument to learn to play is your first one, after that they become easier


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: G-Force
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:13 AM

Any instrument which you can't practise quietly. That certainly includes the uillean pipes.

I play a Maccann duet concertina. People keep telling me it's dead hard to play. Certainly I struggle with music which has been written for it, but I don't have too much trouble knocking out session tunes, morris tunes etc. (except fast Irish stuff).


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:16 AM

Somebody once said of the cornetto that there was no time in its history when it had more competent players than would fit in a phonebox.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:24 AM

I'd agree with Neovo that you're much more inclined to make the extra effort to play an instrument you've fallen in love with, than one with which your frustration mounts and eventually gets the better of the intial attraction.

This is another aspect of the debate as to why people play the instruments they do: what one person would find the hardest instrument in the world to master, others take to like ducks to water.

I have spent hours and hours on melodeons down the years, and still cannot play a single tune at the slowest of snail's pace with sheet music, tablature, and intense concentration - yet I've taken to English concertina reasonably quickly in the last few years, and can play that, and several wind and stringed instruments, to a reasonable public performance level.

There are viruoso players of all the instruments that have been mentioned so far, and I'd wager that each one of those musicians would find one instrument in particular that they just could not get to grips with at all.

Empirically I'd agree that uilleann pipes are probably pretty close to the top of the pile, purely because of the sheer number of different physical activities you have to perform just to get a note out - but even then I'd suspect that some pipers have sweated blood to get to the standard they have reached, whilst others were just 'naturals'.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: romanyman
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:33 AM

my bloody highland pipes. what with blowing squeezing retuning and co-ordinating all this whilst remembering what fingers to lift allowing for grace notes as well, oh why did i ever start,    cos i love em and i will play the buggers


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:45 AM

Empirically I'd agree that uilleann pipes are probably pretty close to the top of the pile, purely because of the sheer number of different physical activities you have to perform just to get a note out




I was waiting for that one.

Empirically?

Different activities?

You fill a bag, push the bag and a note appears.

I have been playing the yokes for close on thirty years and have been teaching them for a long time. From experience I know all those I have taught had no major problems learning the instrument well.

Once a few conditions are met, a decent quality working instrument and an inclination and will to play, I think each instrument brings it's own set of difficulties that need to be met in order to play well. And in the end they will more or less level out. For example, many play the tin whistle (the simple one isn't it?) few are the ones who play it really well.

Personally I find the fiddle a lot harder than the pipes.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:33 AM

The ease or difficulty of ANY instrument is dependant entirely on the player ! Having 'dabbled' at a number of instrumnents over the years , (Mostly getting paid for doing so) I find the Flageolet or penny whistle the easiest - I can play 'silly' stuff on whistle VERY easily , that I could never do justice to when I was playing Clarinet and Sax !


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:37 AM

Playing instruments is the easy bit. Playing music is the hard bit.

Having said this, I have to nominate the bodhran, as I've yet to hear anyone (with the possible exception of Ringo McDonagh) who can play it in a way that actually enhances the music they're supposed to be accompanying.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:52 AM

According to the Guinness Book of Records I had as a kid, the two hardest are the Oboe and the French Horn. Having grown up with older siblings learning both, I'd like to add that they're pretty hard work for the listener as well as the player ;-)

The difficulty isn't necessarily down to the complexity of co-ordinating physical activities (that makes it harder to learn for sure) but also the nature of physcial activity- to play a brass instrument for instance, requires you to get and maintain exactly the right amount of tension on the lips otherwise you get all kinds of unpleasant noises and wrong notes. It also puts a huge amount of strain on the muscles, and a player needs to practice daily to build up the stamina required to play for a whole performance.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:55 AM

Equating complexity with difficulty isn't necessarily true. In drawing, one of the hardest things you can do is to draw a perfect circle freehand - every time.

I've been playing guitar for 45 years, and mandolin and tenor banjo/guitar for nearly 35 years, plus keyboards, bass and various others. I took up the violin recently, and I'll consider that I'm getting somewhere with it when I can - every single time - hit the note I want with perfect intonation. In other words, the equivalent of constantly drawing that perfect circle...


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: kendall
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 07:31 AM

Many instruments are easy to play but very hard to master. So, I should think that the level of difficulty rests mostly with the player.

As Ted Williams once said, "Playing baseball is easy if you are a baseball player."


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:24 PM

what is a sitar?


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,jbp
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:26 PM

that last one was me about the sitar


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Bettynh
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:30 PM

Good grief!
This is a sitar


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,jbp
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:32 PM

I think kendall has posted the best answer to my thread!!! but keep the discussion going I'd like to know more about instruments you consider hard because some I have never heard of!!


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Les from Hull
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:38 PM

Of course, there are smaller ones - called baby sitars!

Some people find learning any instrument difficult, some find it easier, and I'm sure that there are many factors at work here. Your second instrument is easier often (as the esteemed Mr Sables says).

Certainly one instrument considered difficult to play is the bandoneon.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Stower
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:26 PM

I'd say the Renaissance lute is the most difficult instrument. Right hand thumb inside position takes ages to master; sitting even slightly wrong can give you terrible back ache for days (the lute is slippy and bowl backed); it is VERY easy to get a horrible sound out of it and takes ages to produce a lovely, full, round, fat tone; you have to get your right hand right inside and between 6 and 10 courses of closely spaced strings (depending on your period of lute); the music for the instrument tends to be comlex; and the left hand stretches can be inhuman.

Still, it is a beautiful instrument - just to look at, let alone to play.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:38 PM

The more common opionion in Indian music circles is that the sitar isn't that difficult. It's got frets, so the intonation issues are partly solved mechanically. The ones that are considered a real bugger are the violin and the sarod, where you have to play way up the neck and hit microtones with absolute precision, entirely by feel. Watch somebody like L. Subramaniam (I presume he's on YouTube).


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:49 PM

I'm with Steve Shaw. It has to be the bodhran, or possibly the drum kit. How often do you hear a good player? I have heard hundreds of great pipers and fiddlers, and players of other instruments quoted hear as "difficult".


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:51 PM

Bodhran then banjo.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 07:15 PM

From above - (how does one put it in italics??)

Certainly one instrument considered difficult to play is the bandoneon
_____________________

Bing an Anglo concertina player I found it not too bad at all.
I think the hardest is Jews Harp - easy to get a simple 'twang ' devilish difficult to get a good melody - listen to any of the Wright family - (John, Micheal, David and ?Lucy?) to hear how wonderful it can sound in expert hands - (or mouths!)


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 07:36 PM

Or watch this guy!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDdG97MesZM&feature=related


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Bert
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:39 PM

Gotta be a lithophone.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Smokey.
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:49 PM

Brass, in general, but especially the french horn.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:52 PM

Of those I've tried:
Drum kit, as you are doing 4 different things at once (assuming you have two hands and two feet!): I could just about keep 3 going, but add in the 4th and it all went AWOL!
And my dearly beloved button accordion, different notes when you pull and push and no repeating sequence as on a piano keyboard, basses not matching the right hand, etc, etc. Mine is fully chromatic, so, in theory I can play in any key, but it's just knowing where the likes of D# are when needed.
I did once try Uillean pipes, but my fingers wouldn't stretch far enough, nor for low D whistle.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:57 AM

From above - (how does one put it in italics??)

Basic HTML is a whole bunch quicker and easier to learn that any musical instrument, but I suspect that's probably also partly a mind-for-that-sort-of-thing thing.

1. Type, or copy & paste, the text you want to italicise.
2. Where you want the italics to start type <i> into the message editor
3. Where you want the italics to end type </i> into the editor
4. Preview to make sure you've done it right
5. Bob's your Uncle.

Replace i with u for underline, b for bold, and loads more HTML fun is yours for the Googling.

Two hundred message angry debate about
  • whether you should teach total beginners to insert tags as they go or to insert them later,
  • which is the hardest HTML tag to do by hand, and
  • whether Show Of Hands are more HTML standards-compliant than Bellowhead,
starts in 5 ... 4 .... 3 ....


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,paco griffin
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:16 AM

The most difficult instrument to learn by far is the concrete guitar.... I'll get my coat!


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:49 AM

whether Show Of Hands are more HTML standards-compliant than Bellowhead

ROLF! At least that one's easy to work out. Whether it matters or not could go on for ever (who does this World Wide Web Consortium think they are?)

Getting back to the subject: anything that requires you to first develop precision and co-ordination in order to make a sound that isn't unpleasant is definitely harder. Fingering and so on is largely a matter of developing the muscle memory.

Any fretted instrument is pretty easy. I always used to tell my beginner guitar students that as long as their fingers are holding the strings down in the right places, their E chord sounds just as good as Eric Clapton's. Unlike a learner violinist who will take months to get past the strangled cat stage.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:53 AM

The Harp. Followed by the Uilleann pipes


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:05 AM

The Hurdy-Gurdy

You spend 3 hours tuning it and end up with something sounding lika a kazoo!


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Stu
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:50 AM

Shakey egg. Especially if it's stuffed back where it belongs.


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: open mike
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:06 AM

the hurdy gurdy i mentioned
above is definately NOT THE
'crank organ' type.

which is why i included a link.

http://altarwind.com/hurdy/
http://www.hurdygurdy.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLlIbMA6VFA


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Weasel
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:56 AM

not many french-horn players on the folk scene!


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:20 AM

But you do find other brass such as in Bellowhead, Shooglenifty, etc, plus the occasional sousaphone or euphonium, or........tuba!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao6eOiIT3XE


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:26 AM

well....hmmmm...

The Contrabass Sarrusophone is played so seldom anymore, that it's ranking is debatable.

But as I was looking it up, I saw this in the 'related' list...kind of a 'digeriDONT'.

makes you wonder....


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Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:12 PM

Subject: RE: hardest instrument
From: Steve Shaw - PM
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:37 AM

Playing instruments is the easy bit. Playing music is the hard bit.

Having said this, I have to nominate the bodhran, as I've yet to hear anyone (with the possible exception of Ringo McDonagh) who can play it in a way that actually enhances the music they're supposed to be accompanying.
well,I disagree with that,I was playing with a very good one on tuesday,they are rare,but they are about Colm Murphy is another,he recorded with us when I was in the group Suifin,thereare about 3 or 4 in this area who are good.
I nominate the fiddle


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