is violin really that harder than piano?

March 12, 2008 at 06:37 PM · yet, i have yet to see violinists at the comparable age demonstrate near complete mastery. does this suggest that violin is indeed a much harder instrument?:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke5gsIR1UPQ

Replies (75)

March 12, 2008 at 06:47 PM · For me, personally, when I began playing piano I could play anything by Chopin after two years, and playing on a Steinway it would sound gorgeous. If you handed me a Strad after 2 years of violin I would still make small children's ears bleed.

Reading music on piano is much more difficult though in my opinion. But sound production on a piano compared to violin ... pffaw! You hit a key, piano produces sound. No need to have exact precision in order for the note to have correct intonation so as to be in tune and get maximum resonation. No need to have the correct amount of bow speed, pressure, sounding point ... and a lush, beautiful vibrato is a wee-bit harder to obtain that just holding your foot on a sustain pedal.

March 12, 2008 at 06:53 PM · To paraphrase Itzhak Perlman... "compare how long it takes a beginner to make a decent sound on the piano with how long it takes a beginner to make a decent sound on the violin. It's no comparison!"

Of course I don't mean to imply that the subtleties of tone production and color are a SIMPLE matter on the piano, but as far as getting just a GOOD sound, it's much more straightforward on the piano (I play both, so I'm not completely whistling in the dark here.) There's also the matter of intonation, and the fact that sitting at a desk-like object with your hands in front of you is a little easier than the peculiar contortions we violinists must get accustomed to. So I would say that in some ways, yes, the piano is easier than the violin.

March 12, 2008 at 06:57 PM · Though I just watched a bit of that Aimi Kobayashi video and in this case it's not a matter of the piano being easy as it is of Ms. Kobayashi being exceptionally talented.

March 12, 2008 at 09:33 PM · I think it would be an exceptional pianist with two years experience who could play Chopin Etudes well.

Producing a single tone on piano of course is relatively simple.

March 12, 2008 at 10:12 PM · al, pick an instrument and I'll write something for it that's impossible to play, making all instruments equally difficult. I think you're mainly trying to figure out where your daughter stands in the world, in terms of early accomplishments :) If you want to find the youngest possible kids who sound the most like adults, that Sassmannshaus site comes to mind, especially a little guy who looks about four playing Bazzini. But there was Menuhin and the Beethoven concerto at age 11, I think, and so on. Heifetz supposedly sounded the same since he was 10.

March 12, 2008 at 10:14 PM · thanks for the reply people.

mara, i am sure you are sick of being asked about this one more time,,,can you look from a distance and tell us how piano helps your violin playing (or doesn't at all:)?

jim, with no disrespect to my kid and many other kids who are playing because they kinda have no choice, i am truly in awe with some other young ones who actually love to play or even practice (can you imagine that???). yet, i have seen many 10-11 yo violinists who are good, great, even exceptional, but always lack that adult sound/feel. on the other hand, some young pianists simply blow me away, already equipped with the whole package and more. of course, as some have already mentioned, we have to take into consideration the intonation advantage offered by a piano and that fraction violin simply sounds smaller/scratchier.

for you piano teachers out there,,,how do you teach a girl that like?!

"four playing Bazzini",,,get out of here! well, unless the father is a violinist and his spermacyte has already finished suzuki book 20!

March 12, 2008 at 10:22 PM · al, find the little guy I mentioned and post a link. I'm on a slow computer at the moment. I think he's there at least twice, once at a lesson and once performing with orchestra. I was in a rush when I heard him but I think I remember him playing pretty much like an adult.

March 12, 2008 at 10:24 PM · http://violinmasterclass.com/ricochet_qt.php?video=ric_perf1&sctn=Performances

must have been about 12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giZoLL4UAws

March 12, 2008 at 10:45 PM · That's him, but he's no 12 year old! I guess maybe 4 by his face and 8 by his height.

March 12, 2008 at 10:47 PM · Greetings,

to begin with a dull truism, it is much easier to sound good quickly on a pinao than a violin.

However, I have to confess I am not that interested in the sound produced by most palyer sand that includes many soloists currnet today. What shed light on this for me is the followng experience which I have consistently consistently seen occur with piano players at AT seminars and masterclasses which I actually find quite disturbing.

Japan produces a lot of top clas spiano players. It is a really popular instrument and is taught rather well. I see mainly pianists at Alexander seminars and they are of the highest calibre. They usually begin by tossing off some murderously diifcult Liszt or whatever and it sounds very impressive. Then the Alexander teacher typically heads straight for the most common (in my experience) weakness of piano players: they are not integrated with their legs. They have a mental/physical cocneption of the paino form the waist (itslef a non existent entity) upwards which is quite logiucal considering what piano playing looks like to an observor. After a shift takes plac ein the use of the body the sound of the piano changes so thta it actually ceases to be a piano. It suddenly becomes very obvious that what one heard in the initila performances was the physicval structure of the pinao feeding through the player and vice versa. One was awrae at a very depe level that this wa sa series of hammers banging out music one step removed form the palyer. Once the player becomes integrated it is no longer posisble to hear the mechanicla origin of the sound and it changes into shimmering colors sprea dacross the room. It is an extraordinary effect and I cannot count the number of times I have seen profesisonal piano player sbreak down in tears after heairng this sound for the first time.

This is for me where paino playing actually begins and it is as rare as a great violinist in my book. For my ears, Michelangeli remains the model.

Cheer,s

Buri

March 12, 2008 at 11:30 PM · A good pianist also has a very good sense of balance and voicing which create 'color'. Separation of voices and clear polyphony are not easy to achieve.

The amount of care that goes into this kind of thing is great.

March 13, 2008 at 12:27 AM · Greetings,

yes. I used to play with a good pianist at college and she would talk about how diffenret individual fingers would have to produce differnet colors simultaneously. It blew me away. I could only do this in kindergarter with finger paints.

Cheers,

Buri

March 13, 2008 at 02:18 AM · I’m crazy about violin music, but I have to confess that some pianists really blew me away with the level of sophistication in color and phrasing the way most violinists can't reach.

March 13, 2008 at 03:46 AM · I guess perhaps a more accurate way of saying what I tried to say earlier is that it's easier to achieve a basic level of competency on the piano. With the violin it's just so much more difficult to get to the point where you can play even at an amateur level well enough so that people won't cringe. High-level piano playing is just as mind-bogglingly complex and difficult as high-level violin playing, it's the learning curve at the beginning-intermediate levels that is different.

Al, piano playing doesn't really affect my violin playing at all. (I suppose this is the time to point out that I'm an utterly terrible pianist.) Actually, my violin playing has informed my piano playing: everyone who has heard me play piano has remarked on my tone and lyricism, even as I'm fumbling for notes, missing chords and slopping around amateurishly. Having played an essentially lyrical instrument for effectively my whole life, when faced with the piano I instinctively being out the cantabile side of the instrument rather than the percussive side.

March 13, 2008 at 01:44 PM · About http://violinmasterclass.com/ricochet_qt.php?video=ric_perf1&sctn=Performances

I clicked on the violinist's name and according to his bio, he was born in 1992. Of course the video may be from a few years ago, but he's definitely much older than four. He just looks exceptionally young for his age.

March 13, 2008 at 03:58 AM · Luckily there is much great music written for violin and piano.

I have to defend piano because I don't even play the fiddle - I'm a pianist!

Studied since the age of 4 and a professional for 25 years and I still cannot play all of Chopin's music well. Some people I'm sure can do better!

My wife and daughter are violinists and I have the opportunity to make music with many fine players - even some violinists....

I can easily hear a banger, wrist flapper, or pianist who in general introduces too much hand/arm/wrist movement into their playing and has no concept of tone or voicing. If piano playing were easy then there would be many more great ones....

March 13, 2008 at 05:02 AM · I play both showing mastery in piano. Violin is way harder. Very much harder. With the piano all the notes are layed out for you and if your piano is in tun every note is corret, as opposed to the violin where one must learn where to place ones fingers correctly or the note is incorrect.

March 13, 2008 at 05:10 AM · Don't forget bowing as well!

I knew someone once who said they stopped playing the piano because it was too easy. They could not play their new instrument well either.

Any instrument you have mastered is not so hard anymore.

March 13, 2008 at 05:34 AM · I play both with violin as my primary and solely IMHO find the violin more difficult. The complexities of playing the violin in my opinion both outnumber and defeat the intricacies of playing the piano.

March 13, 2008 at 06:11 AM · I'm sure that the violin is very difficult to play well. I remember reading an interview with (I think) Vengerov who said he went to study with a theacher who put him on nothing but bow study for a full year. This was after winning international competitions an performing internationally with great orchestras.

The oboe is probably very easy to play, but many oboists seem to be a bit neurotic! I wonder why?

March 13, 2008 at 06:30 AM · Greetings,

a) I don`t think that was Vengerov. He (more or less ) finishe dwith Zhakar Bron. Incredible mastery.

b) The reeds keep breaking.

Cheers,

Buri

March 13, 2008 at 06:43 AM · An oboe player told me you have to get a bunch of air in your lungs to blow the reeds, but you don't get a chance to really exhale it. Before long your lungs are full of air with no oxygen. You notice them sort of panting sometimes after a passage...

March 13, 2008 at 10:33 AM · "An oboe player told me you have to get a bunch of air in your lungs to blow the reeds, but you don't get a chance to really exhale it. Before long your lungs are full of air with no oxygen. You notice them sort of panting sometimes after a passage..."

Yes, its hard to produce a good tone out of the violin but Oboe is even harder for most people.

March 13, 2008 at 12:08 PM · Bruce, I think you're referring to Nikolaj Znaider...?

March 13, 2008 at 01:58 PM · the other thing about oboe playing is that you have to make your own reed. i know of a kid in curtis, either he is practicing or he is making reed:)

imagine violinists have to make your own strings:):)

March 13, 2008 at 02:46 PM · I think this could be different for everyone. I'm a violinist, but I study the piano on my own and usually end up practicing wayyyyyy more on the piano, up to 2 hrs a day. I think it's because it's rewarding to be able to play and accompany oneself at the same time. I know it takes a lot to become a masterful pianist, but it's easier to get to the point of amateurism. Violin is difficult from the moment you pick it out without a single sense of ease for the rest of your life.

I think oboe is probably harder than piano and violin.

March 13, 2008 at 03:20 PM · Yes, I practice piano more than violin too. Practicing piano is just easier on the mind and body for me. Violin is a constant struggle.

March 13, 2008 at 03:44 PM · Yes.

March 13, 2008 at 04:01 PM · it is when you are eager to wake up each morning and do lots of practice for that day (ON THE VIOLIN) that you know you're serious. Me, personally, I don't have much time to be fooling around at all and have recently practiced like at least 4-5 hours in the morning, and possibly more later. Anyway I would love a musical career... especially in performance.

eitan

March 13, 2008 at 04:56 PM · Each instrument has its own difficulties. To me, to play 2 parts with 2 hands on the piano is very difficult. It may have to do with the age you start. After 5 years of violin playing I started to play the piano. If I play fingers 1,2,3 with the left hand on the violin, the melody goes up. When I do the same with the left hand on the piano, the melody goes down! Big problem!

March 13, 2008 at 05:15 PM · Yes, the whole 1-2-3-4-5 up for right hand and 1-2-3-4-5 down for left can be hard for some. Differing rhythym between R and L hand sometimes takes a while to get the hang of as well.

I have worked with good oboe and bassoonists and you would not know how tempermental double reeds are when the player is a fine one. They make it look easy just like good violinists and pianists do. Good players do seem to spend hours on reeds.

March 13, 2008 at 05:24 PM · bruce!

ever tried to lay your hands on a violin when no one is around???

you don't know what you have been missing:)

have to say, your family members are spoiled,,,having a good piano person at home is god sent,,,everything sounds so much more listen-able.

March 13, 2008 at 08:38 PM · Al - that was a mind-blower to watch her play. I watched three other video clips of her as well. Almost looks like it's a hoax, a four year old actor being dubbed by a seasoned adult professional.

Very cool. Fun responses to read here, as well.

March 14, 2008 at 03:23 AM · Actually, we do have an extra fiddle or 2 laying around and I've drawn a bow across the strings from time to time. I also play some string bass in jam sessions and such. I'm not very good at either... I don't really like to spend a lot of time thinking about which instrument is more difficult to learn or play because it is relatively uncommon to come across a truly outstanding musician on any instrument. The instrument matters little to me - I just happen to play the piano. I love the violin though.

I do get roped into accompanying quite a bit and I'm pretty handy with note pushin' and the use of notation software.

I know my place!

March 14, 2008 at 08:03 PM · This discussion seems to be bending towards which instrument is closer to our heart. I took piano 4 years, clarinet 8 --work-work-raised a family-work work--back to piano 4 years and now violin 2 years exactly March 20th.

At a social gathering no one ever said, "Hey did you bring your clarinet? Let's all sing along!

A piano is everywhere! Home, school, church, social halls, restaurants, bars. The minute you sit down and play, it is hard not to love a piano or a pianist!

However when you bring out a violin--you had better mean business!

Harder? You have already identified it. Of the 3, for me violin.

What is hard is that no one is going to "enjoy" the beginning stages of any instrument--(How many of you have had to endure the Fifth Grader's band playing "Jingle Bells" and the parents are asked to "jingle" their car keys during the chorus?)

Ouch!

March 14, 2008 at 08:54 PM · I love the beginning stages of the violin and work with many entry level children. I have made sequenced (drums, bass, keyboard, harp, whatever...) accompaniments so that beginners can enjoy practicing open strings. I also play with many beginners.

I think people love watching 3 year olds with violins on the floor in front of them, plucking strings in rhythm to music or a poem.

We should also appreciate an adult beginner the same. Watching a middle school band or orchestra with players who have never had a lesson in their life can be disappointing, I agree.

March 14, 2008 at 09:25 PM · "A piano is everywhere! Home, school, church, social halls, restaurants, bars."

Unfortunately you dont have a piano (not a piano that´s in tune at least) when you need one most of the time. The best thing with the violin is that you can bring your own all the time without any problems.

March 14, 2008 at 10:16 PM · That's the truth!

March 15, 2008 at 05:08 PM · Al, that video is stunning. I literally don't know what to say.

September 11, 2014 at 11:04 AM · Ok i Had enough of this...You all try to tell me...that a pianist who studies for 12 years...just to get his diploma is not to be compared with...a violinist?!!!!Heres some facts...1st The piano is the instrument that cannot be 'controlled' by a maestro in an orchestra because its an orchestra itself...it has range no instrument has...apart from the Pipe Organ and the Harp...the only instruments that are considered equals or better from the piano...not by amateurs but by professional musicians.2ond...ok i get it so are we talking about pressing a single key on the piano...or PLAY ON IT!!!Cause believe me...not many people can play piano like professionals but i see whole orchestras playing violins...with ease!!!3rd The Best Maestros,Singers,Composers ALWAYS BUT ALWAYS...had piano as their favourite instrument examples...Frederic Chopin,Liszt,Bach(Although Harpsichord type)Beethoven,Leonard Bernstein,George Gershwin...Singers include Freddie Mercury,Elton John,Frank Sinatra,Josh Groban,Celine Dion and many others.4rth The Value of A Piano is not to be matched with a single violin...either its sound and feeling...theres a limited number of violinists that are considered as famous as pianists like Horowitz,Sviatoslav Richter,Evgenny Kissin or Helene Grimaud.And for Christ Sake Have you ever read proffesional Classic Piano Sheet Music?!!!For an example a song that violinists too play...Chaconne of Bach...Have you got any idea how much it took me to master just 3 pages of the 18 pages?Months!!! I don't Say violin is easy...i would be an idiot to say that...but since im a pianist...there is no way...its harder with the piano.Thats a conclusion professionals have reached at surveys...in matters of difficulty and discipline.As for the sound...thats something personal ofcource.But as for style variaton...you can find piano in every single style of music...violin...sorry but nope.The only point the violin beats the piano...is on its portability and ofcource,cost and yes its more difficult at the very beginner levels...but after that...only the harp and pipe organ can deal with the piano...not even a whole orchestra...and thats not a personal opinion :)Every instrument has its difficulty...and yes in my opinion violin is a very difficult instrument but not to be harder than the piano...actually it come right after the piano in terms of diffuculty.As i said the Violin does begin much more difficult than the piano...but then it just cannot be compared in every single sector(sheet music reading,pedal,fingers stucked on the keys,both hands one legatto one staccato,everything played by memory :) ),different voices and the list goes on and on).By the way i made a profile to this site just to say this comment :) yeah you can consider me as the defender of the piano :)

September 11, 2014 at 11:14 AM · And Mr. Jake Bush...nobody can play Chopin Etudes in 2 Years...AND I MEAN NOBODY!!!Not even Lizst and Rachmaninoff could...in 2 years?Have any idea how difficult Chopin is?!!!(And he's my favourite composer :)) Have a taste of how difficult Chopin is Mr...

http://youtu.be/GQ-NAgDpRVs

September 11, 2014 at 02:20 PM · Just to make sure we stick to facts, Bach's favorite instrument was the viola. This information comes from a letter written by one of his sons after his father's death.

September 11, 2014 at 02:29 PM · Ooooh!

In a surprising move, as the rest squabble amongst themselves, the VIOLA upsets, not only the violin, but the piano and the rest of the orchestra!

VIOLA for the win!!!!!!

September 11, 2014 at 03:27 PM · ...it's about time the viola got a little top billing...

Original thread from 2008...

September 11, 2014 at 03:33 PM · I'd say that for difficulty the church organ sits somewhere between the piano and the violin. The organist has to play a pedal keyboard blind, at least two manual keyboards, handle a large number of stops, and read three staves. Some organ music is sufficiently complex that an assistant is needed to look after the stops. Miskeying a note on the organ is often rather more obvious than a wrong note on the violin or piano. Playing the organ doesn't stop at that - the organist needs to orchestrate the music he is playing as much as a conductor or composer would. The difficulty of learning the organ is such that most teachers would probably be reluctant to take on a new pupil who didn't have competence on the piano and a good grasp of music theory including harmony.

My background for the above remarks? My father was a talented concert pianist before the War who became a church organist in later life, and I myself had three years of tuition in my youth at the organ of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, following on from several years at the piano.

Regarding difficulty and ultimate satisfaction when everything fits together, I reckon the violin still beats the lot.

September 11, 2014 at 05:56 PM · You can see the violin, left unused, dangling from the music stand, as he has not yet attained proper virtuosity to even try as of yet....

September 11, 2014 at 07:51 PM · http://www.answers.com/Q/What_is_Bach's_favorite_instrument

Please have proof... Bachs favourite instrument wasn't Viola for Christ's Sake

'Bach’s favorite was the more expressive clavichord, in which the string was pressed by a wooden tangent, and not plucked by a “jack” or quill, as in the case of the harpsichord. But in style and treatment, many of Bach’s clavier compositions suggest the harpsichord rather than the clavichord.'

And the site have proof for what you say sir...piano still remains the master :)

http://musicofyesterday.com/history/favorite-instruments-great-composers/

September 11, 2014 at 07:56 PM · And yes i admit the Organ and the Harp...maybe the french horn as well...are more difficult than the piano...but violin Never... maybe an equal or easier Never more difficult...ever!!!Its difficult as you begin...but then it can't be compared with a piano...it can be an equal...still with difficulty...but never better theres always a pianist that outmatches a violinist...

September 11, 2014 at 08:03 PM · And then i have some friends who say 'Oh you just press keys,the GUITAR!!!is surely a lot harder'God wheres the gun when you need it!!!

September 11, 2014 at 08:08 PM · http://americanviolasociety.org/studio2/2014/02/18/js-bachs-influence-on-the-viola-throughout-the-baroque-era/

but then i found this...so i dont know what to believe...Bach why are you confusing us!!!???But...history always showed Bach loved the Harpsichord more...half of his music was written on it...Mozart though was for sure a violin lover!!!

September 11, 2014 at 08:09 PM · http://www.viola-in-music.com/biography-of-Johann-Sebastian-bach.html

"In 1802 Johann Forkel, wrote the first comprehensive biography of Johann Sebastian Bach.

It was very important because it was based on first hand accounts of the great composer's life, through the letters that Forkel exchanged with Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel.

In one of these letters, Carl Philipp Emanuel described his father’s activity as a violist and violinist:

"He heard the slightest wrong note even in the largest combination. As the greatest expert and judge of harmony, he liked best to play the viola, with appropriate loudness and softness."

Although Bach didn’t write any solo work for viola, he is reported to have enjoyed playing viola.

He understood to perfection the possibilities of all stringed instruments.

Forkel himself, pointed out that in chamber music Bach preferred to play the viola:

"In musical parties... he took pleasure in playing the viola. With this instrument he was, as if were, in the centre of harmony, whence he could best hear and enjoy it on both sides."

Johann Sebastian Bach was the first composer to understand the potential of the instrument tonally and technically.

In his orchestral works, such as Ouvertures, harpsichord concertos, Brandenburg Concertos, the viola part has the same importance of the other instruments. These compositions often include fugues, requiring an equal treatment of parts, yet even when there is no fugue, viola writing is interweaving with that of the other instruments.

Further examples of this can be found in some of the Cantatas: in Cantata n.18 the orchestra has four violas, the violins being absent, and in Cantata n.199 there is a Choral where the soprano is accompanied by an obligato viola.

The most important composition featuring the viola is Brandenburg Concerto 6, with no violins at all, two solo violas accompanied by two violas da gamba, cello and bass. Very interesting as to viola writing is also the Brandenburg Concerto 3 with independent parts for three violins, three violas and three cellos and bass."

September 11, 2014 at 08:12 PM · Bach was also a skillful violinist, and the favorite instrument of his later years was the viola, because, says Forkel, is placed him “in the middle of the harmony, whence he could best hear and enjoy it on both sides.” so heres your answer...got it...so noone wins on Bach.Piano Violin 1-1...maybe they are equals after all...i mean since Bach aswered us from the grave!

http://musicofyesterday.com/history/favorite-instruments-great-composers/

September 11, 2014 at 08:52 PM · https://soundcloud.com/mrpatrick9514/chopin-waltz-op64-no2-piano-patrick-danielwav

And a little present from me :) Chopin Waltz Op.64 no.2 a medium difficulty song...one of my favorite's :)Please if someone of you has recording of him playing violin... i would really love to hear... please...i love violin...right after my piano :)

September 12, 2014 at 12:49 AM · I found a lot of this discussion distressing. In my opinion each instrument has it's difficulties.

I remember a gifted pianist talking about his experience with an award winning classical guitar player. He could not believe the limits of the instrument. When I listen to Yepes or Segovia I can't help but be in awe of the control of each voice within a piece.

I remember a workshop on the recorder and hearing the teacher talk about how when one learns an instrument there is the wall before you start to be able to play anything. With the recorder the wall is delayed. Many learn to play the recorder in elementary school but very few reach a virtuoso level.

Though seemingly simple when one learns to drive the sound one finds that the instrument is very sensitive to the breath. Not like the bow, but in some ways as complex. The air pressure must be exact. I remember playing for my teacher and having the sound break, a terrible sound. She claimed the cause was that I had the pitch in my head, I blew with that pitch in mind but my fingers were off. Each note requires adjustment. The breath controls the pitch, the tone and yes, the color. And you do have to learn to vent your lungs while controlling the sound or you lungs will fill with stale air.

In the third movement (Allegro assai) of the Sammartini Concerto in F major there is a passage where a G is repeated between the notes of a moving passage lower on the instrument. It is very difficult to give the G a consistent tone quality. The intonation is also difficult to control.

I would not wish to insult anyone by claiming one instrument is more difficult that the other. One book I was reading recently claimed that Bach could play all the most difficult organ music by age 15. Huberman played the Brahm's at 14.

When I as a folk musician with no choral back ground I was asked to lead a children's choir at my church. I spent four months researching to decide if I could. I discovered some great pedagogues with some great philosophy concerning music. The one's I loved have very strong feelings about the challenge system. We should not be raising our musicians to compete against each other. Competition is not the goal, making music together is the goal.

Okay, how hard is it to play drums, you count to four and start over. I saw Cat's once from the second row. I watched the percussionist. He was playing multiple instruments sometime each hand playing different rhythms and yes, melodies. I will never be able to do that even if I dedicated my life to it. I can still get confused snapping four with one hand and three with the other. Good musicians are amazing irrespective of the instrument they are playing.

I will never forget the difficulties I had with the Maultrommel. I could never hope to play Albrechtsberger - Konzerte für Maultrommel. Here's a little from the folk music world. Imagine if Steve Reich could be commissioned.

This is a link to a folk Maultrommel player.

September 12, 2014 at 03:42 AM · Great answer, Patrick. I think part of the problem is that some people answer in anger and in a completely irrational way, just because the topic touched a nerve.

Every instrument has its own complexity, and comparisons of "raw difficulty" are inherently wrong because different instrument require the use of different parts of the body in different degrees of coordination and different levels of fine control, so how can anybody expect to make a universally fair measurement of "progress" or "difficulty"?

That said, I also believe that the original question should *not* be answered by observing the top end of the spectrum (that is, professional soloists or exceptional wonder kids), but a more generic population sample that includes --but is not restricted to-- people with musical talent, from all ages, educational levels, social backgrounds, etc.

With that in mind, it seems clear to me that, *in general*, people who are learning piano will be able to play an average beginner's song with a decent sound faster than people learning the violin.

Note how vague the terms "average beginner's song" and "decent sound" are, which opens the door for all kinds of arguments against this. However, I think even our fervent pianist here agrees that violin would be more difficult to start studying (again, for a general audience).

And, most unfortunately for our pianist, that *does* answer the question: yes, violin is harder than piano.

Now, before I am victim of another diatribe, let me say that I believe other instruments will be harder than both of them for an average beginner. Take drummers, for example, who have more coordination than most people are capable of (or chinchineros, for that matter). The organ, which was already mentioned. Why, I think even the typewriter is as difficult if you want to play with as much style as this gentleman :)

September 12, 2014 at 10:46 AM · While arguing the point with a piano teacher, I pointed out that a 3rd-year pianist plays ten times more notes than a 3rd year violinist: which just goes to show that the piano is ten times easier....

September 12, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Mr Patrick(Same Name :)) and Alejadro...i agree totaly with you...yes i was a bit more than just nervous because of the topic.Every instrument is difficult...but as for violin and piano...i would say they are something like equals...the one(violin)very difficult in physical efort,the other(piano)very difficult in physical also(when big chords and quick scales occur)but mostly big mental effort...very complex sheet music reading.You know why i got Mad?First of all i always hear people saying to me...piano is the easiest instrument because you press keys...but believe me...its not at all like that NOT AT ALL.If we are reffering to keyboard...maybe yes...but not classical pianoforte.But Mr Alejadro was very right in one point...the piano can be easy...well easier...when someone plays it as an amateur...just for friends or his pleasure...but if you are a professional classical pianist or teacher...its an extremely difficult instrument not to be compared with most instruments...maybe yes the violin can be compared with it...yeah...Bach opened my eyes!!!

September 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM · And Mr John Cadd...complex question :)...well im saving money to buy a 1920s era Knabe piano(restored ofcource) from LivingPianos.com but i make my recording on a Yamaha CLP-440 which is very nice...and that is also very good as well i would say better than an old piano...it had this equal temperament tuning...440.2 Hz but i changed it to Werckmeister tuning...the one Bach and Beethoven used to use somehow...it has a slightly more mellow tone...and i love it much more...but when i get the baby grand...im afraid ill lose that option...but have one of the Best sound quality since Knabe was the choise of the Metropolitan Opera back in these days...one of the best American Manufacturers...equal to Steinway...but then Korean took the company on 1980s...or is it later i dont remember...the quality wasn't there any more...thats why i take the 1920s era Knabe(restored). :)

September 12, 2014 at 12:06 PM · And the point that i got Crazy was when this guy...said he plays all of Chopin Works in 2 years?!!!Not even Horowitz could play every work of Chopin :)Some people just dont have knowledge...and please...yes a 3years pianist plays a lot of notes...which makes it a lot difficult...believe me...it doesn't show its easier...its at least equal to it when you see a mass of notes coming against you!!!

September 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM · And Mr Alejadro...i like to compare the best possible from both instruments...and on this...sorry piano is more difficult...but yes on mass level...like playing just for pleasure...its an easier instrument than the violin...i totaly agree in this...but when i hear a classical pianist making his best effort...vs a classical violinist the comparison is unfair.Piano wins on the advanced levels...but violin beats the piano on the easy to intermediate levels...thats the case!Also please i dont know famous classical violinists apart from Vanessa Mae...but i want to hear...i have a suggestion...post some videos of the most difficult 'CLASSICAL' performances of violinists and ill post of pianists...so we can see in act...why they are equals after all...the piano more difficult on advanced the violin much more difficult on beginner and intermediate levels.

September 12, 2014 at 03:02 PM · You don't have to apologize, but please consider what you're saying: you openly recognize that you don't know top violinists, which would show you notable performances of the most complex works for the violin, and yet you "conclude" that piano at a higher level is more difficult. Don't you think you're missing half of the argument?

I have studied piano, violin, and several other instruments, an even though it's always been at a beginner's level, my studies have given me an idea of what comes afterwards in terms of technique, even if I can't play it myself. I'm not going to claim that any of the two wins, because I already stated that I think an objective measurement of difficulty is just a no go, since different instruments require different skill sets.

However, it is my belief (my personal opinion, from my limited knowledge of both instruments) that the number of subtleties (sound effects and whatnot) that can be ultimately achieved is greater for the violin. You can watch as many virtuosos as you want in YouTube, but that will not make you appreciate how hard it is what they do if you don't know enough of violin technique as you do for the piano. The mere number of different bowings can make you dizzy, and when you combine that with changes in dynamics (which require subtle changes in bow pressure and position), double stops, chords, left hand pizzicato, and who knows what else, you get a VERY complex final product.

How complex? Surely less than the piano, as you'll probably argue, but I leave that to you. I'm done with feeding the troll.

By the way, you can start by looking for videos of a complete performance of the Paganini caprices, even though you will probably just see the speed and none of the subtleties already discussed.

September 12, 2014 at 09:09 PM · Mozart's violin and viola:

September 13, 2014 at 09:29 AM · Mr Alejadro...i never questioned the difficulty of the violin...like i would in other instruments like guitar or even the electric keyboard...its one of the most difficult instruments and i put it in the exact place in difficulty as the piano.Now sir...you notice you said you have learned several istruments...but on beginner level?If you would see what i said...the violin is extremely more difficult than the piano in the beginner to intermediate levels...but then the roles change on the late intermediate to advanced levels where the piano gets the lead...in pieces like Rachmaninoff,Ravel,Chopin e.tc. so...you haven't got to that piano level yet to know its potential :)...that level begins with Chopin Waltzes...a bit more difficult Nocturnes,Polonaises e.tc But anyways im done with feeding the Troll as well i Bored!So time for some nice piano performances...i really loved the ones you told me by the way :)...and yes...i have a relative of mine working in Polant's Philharmonic Orchestra her name is Henryka Tronek and she is a solo violinist...so i can understand some of the difficulties of the violin :) as well...so to begin with... :)

September 13, 2014 at 09:33 AM · http://youtu.be/sw9DlMNnpPM

Chaconne of Bach...a favorite masterpiece for violin as well...here you can see one of my favorite pianists playing...Helene Grimaud...my teacher taught in the Russian school of Piano...has quite a similar technique with hers :)

September 13, 2014 at 09:47 AM · Chopin Sonata 2...By Vladimir Horowitz...the pianist who's technique i try to imitate and adapt :) RIP

http://youtu.be/OYG-Q-TlC8E

And Yundi Li an another Amazing Pianist playing my favorite Nocturne :)

http://youtu.be/gxXSlhO4a5A

September 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM · The point that makes piano difficult is actually a big Drawback of it :)...you see while the human voice,pipe organ,violin,flute have a sound that can continue for a long time...even increase in volume...the piano's sound always diminishes...the good pianist differs from an average or bad pianist on his ability to control this downside of the piano...like its a perk and not a drawback :)

September 13, 2014 at 08:14 PM · Pianists have been striving for many tens of years to achieve perfect intonation. Yet despite such heroic efforts they have been unable to do so. Somehow hundreds of players still endeavor at their instrument. Since this far surpasses the intonation difficulty of a bowed instrument, I would have to give my vote to the piano.

If in doubt, the sheer number of exclamation points in Patrick's posts will verify the fact that, indeed, the piano is the most difficult instrument.

The best instrument, however, is clearly the violin. Try putting a piano in a case and walking to your performance with it.

September 13, 2014 at 09:09 PM · John Cadd...well thats a plus for piano...you never have lack of sheet music :) and Aaron...well you are right i cant carry a 350 kilos grand :)you 2 guys play the piano?

September 13, 2014 at 09:58 PM · Nope. I have a keyboard that I plink around with occasionally. It comes in really handy for working out chords and such, but my only real focus is violin. Maybe once I master the violin (snicker) I can take on something else.

September 14, 2014 at 05:00 AM · Both the piano and the violin are hard to play really well. But mediocrity, defined by other people besides your parents being able to tolerate listening to you, comes more easily on the piano because of the intonation and tone issues.

September 14, 2014 at 07:07 PM · well...while violin has one of the most beautiful sounds...it can have the worst sound on any instrument(apart from a man or woman who thinks is a singer)on earth!!!But when someone plays it nicely...its just...mind blowing :)

September 14, 2014 at 07:10 PM · By the Way i have made a recording(we are changing subject)on my Yamaha Clp-440...of the known Chopin Waltz op.64 no.2...please tell me your opinion...and tips :) i would appreciate that :)

please...noone of you is a member in pianoworld.com?

Please tell me your opinion...mistakes...i want to hear critics...throw the tomatoes!!!

http://youtu.be/6K_gqbFLNCA

September 15, 2014 at 04:31 AM · John "Play what you like . Nobody (well not many ) will shout at you ."

Many years ago a very good and well respected organist played at my former parish. On one piece the registration utilized a series of very small pipes, thus very high pitched.

After mass a man approached her and said that if she ever did that again he would go home and get a bat, come back and beat her with it.

During the same period one of our regular organist (now deceased) was occasionally made aware of complaints in the offertory basket. Well organs can be rather loud.

The pastor who took over just as I left, and remained there for 22 years, before recently being transferred to my current parish, has a degree in music. He also has a habit of restoring organs as a hobby. That former parish at one point had at least three nice organs, plus one or two in the rectory. I think he took care of the organ complaints.

September 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM · Thanks so much for the advice!!!

So here's an another recording of the song by me again...following some advice of my piano teacher...and you sir :)

Hope you like it!!!

Please do tell me your opinion i really appreciate it :)

http://youtu.be/H96pIj0F7Jg

P.S I choose a different piano this time...more realistic in my ear :)

September 27, 2014 at 01:07 PM · To play the piano with good technique and great musicianship is extemely hard.

The fiddle is easy in comparison. You can learn it in a long weekend.

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