Which instrument has a wider range of sounds?

September 3, 2016 at 11:06 AM · So just to start, this is completely a light and comical argument I'm having with a friend at work about instruments. He's probably a little more serious than I am. Haha.

Anyway, I bet this is impossible to state and it's for sure impossible to quantify. He is a guitar player and I play the violin. He made a joke about me playing the whimpy violin and I made a joke about him playing the simple guitar. Haha. Then he got defensive and I said there's way more you can do with a violin. He didn't argue the merits of which is harder, I think even he sees the violin is much harder. However, we got into which could produce more variations in sound, or which could do more.

Sticking to the "standard" ways of playing and not getting wild by saying you could strum the guitar with your shoe, anyone here play both and have any way to say which has more possible variations in sound?

Again, this is all completly in light humor.

Replies (11)

September 3, 2016 at 11:19 AM · Neither violin or nor guitar - it's got to be an organ, pipe or electronic.

September 3, 2016 at 11:45 AM · It you had to compare the two.

September 3, 2016 at 01:04 PM · The classical guitar is, first of all, very hard to play. One of my best friends is a pro guitarist and he has a studio of about 25 students. They work very hard to get where they are. Also, I once went to a guitar recital given by Eliot Fisk, and I was fairly surprised by the range of timbres, etc., that are achievable in the right hands. So I think the decision could be rather close and might even lean toward the side of the guitar.

September 3, 2016 at 01:50 PM · Guitar may have the wider, but violin has got the wilder!

September 3, 2016 at 02:04 PM · They look to be somewhat similar in range:


September 3, 2016 at 03:16 PM · Guitar range is probably closer to cello range.

September 3, 2016 at 05:31 PM · A guitar can play a LOT of notes,

but a violin can SING. The violin is closer to the human voice than any guitar. That being said, Django was a God.

September 3, 2016 at 06:36 PM · You can pluck a violin. You cannot bow a guitar. :)

September 3, 2016 at 09:00 PM · I'd be surprised if the guitar side of the argument got much support here ;)

I personally would guess violin, once the whole range of bowstrokes, harmonics and so on was taken into account, though happy to be proved wrong. However, we're also significantly louder - and there's not many instruments we can say THAT!

September 3, 2016 at 10:05 PM · I would guess violin on technical aspects, but I'm not sure.

If you define sound more broadly, the guitar is really versatile,. Musically, there's a much wider precedent in so many genres for guitar. It can provide a pretty complete accompaniment, serve as percussion, provide the bass lines, etc. It has some pianistic capabilities too - it can pull off multiple lines. The violin can handle solo bach fugues, but it's limited to things that can be played on the same bow and on adjacent strings, and plucking violin strings is not as resonant. Guitarists seem to have more leeway to bring out different voices.

September 3, 2016 at 10:34 PM ·

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