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I was thinking today (during a very boring study hall laugh.gif), that what if the violin was a really easy instrument to play? What if you didn't have to have your fingers exactly in a certain place to make it sound right, you didn't have to know exactly where the notes were, ect? What if the violin was one of the easiest instruments to play, and what if there was no challenge at all in playing anything on it?? Would it still be as much fun to play?? I think that part of the fun of playing is learning, and reaching a goal by achieving a certain thing. But, if this all came really easily...then would it be as much fun?? (I know that to certain prodigys and people like that, that this comes easily--but I'm talking about the average player.) Just a thought. I'm interested in what you have to say.

Journ

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Part of what makes the violin so fun is knowing there's this goal that sits up high on a shrine in my thoughts...and I may be able to reach it someday.

If I could play my scales perfectly I probably just wouldn't play them. And if I could play all my etudes correctly, I wouldn't feel like I needed to play them.

If it was easy, I'd quit and find something harder.

jw

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Journey, one might consider me a prodigy (depends on who you ask) but I think one of the reasons that the violin is so popular, is because it's challenging. But, I do ask the question: Flutes are pretty easy to play (I know because I play it), so why is there so much competition? I think the answer to that is that teenagers and younger these days aren't out for a challenge, they are out to play an instrument for fun. Now, what I have just said might have made no sense to you what-so-ever, but, I don't know if there is a REAL APPARENT reason why the violin is so popular. Yet, I ask another question: The viola is probably just as challenging, but why there is so where NEAR the competition on the viola?

~Taylor~

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First, flute is not an easy instrument. I was in high school band for four years and played flute. The pieces that I was exposed to during my band years were easy pieces. But pieces at professional levels are no easy pieces. This is true for most instruments. The further you go, the more difficult it is.

I would still like violin even if it had been really easy instrument. I certain enjoy challenges of learning violin, but I can live without it if I can play the pieces I like well. To me, music-making is more enjoyable than music-learning.

quote:

Originally posted by Journey:

I was thinking today (during a very boring study hall
laugh.gif
), that what if the violin was a really easy instrument to play? What if you didn't have to have your fingers exactly in a certain place to make it sound right, you didn't have to know exactly where the notes were, ect? What if the violin was one of the easiest instruments to play, and what if there was no challenge at all in playing anything on it?? Would it still be as much fun to play?? I think that part of the fun of playing is learning, and reaching a goal by achieving a certain thing. But, if this all came really easily...then would it be as much fun?? (I know that to certain prodigys and people like that, that this comes easily--but I'm talking about the average player.) Just a thought. I'm interested in what you have to say.

Journ

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It is precisely because virtuosity in violin is so difficult to achieve, that you can detect a hushed gasp or sigh of wonder fom your audience when you seem to do it so effortlessly.

In like manner, I'm wide-eyed and impressed observing the performance of players who are way above my own level of achievement.

That's why bistros don't employ strolling flute or kazoo players.

Lee

[This message has been edited by Lee Essayan (edited 12-09-2000).]

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Everyone seems to think that flute is easy. Well, it is not. How many of use are familiar with circular breathing? People in this forum haven't seen difficult flute pieces. This is understandable since it is a violinist-oriented forum.

I doubt that virtuosi play at bistros or cafes. My experience tells me that those violin players don't play exceedingly difficult pieces. After all people go there to eat. We see violinists in bistros and cafes because violin is more popular than flute.

quote:

Originally posted by Lee Essayan:

It is precisely because virtuosity in violin is so difficult to achieve, that you can detect a hushed gasp or sigh of wonder fom your audience when you seem to do it so effortlessly.

In like manner, I'm wide-eyed and impressed observing the performance of players who are way above my own level of achievement.

That's why bistros don't employ strolling flute or kazoo players.

Lee

[This message has been edited by Lee Essayan (edited 12-09-2000).]

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If string instruments were the easiest possible instruments to play, they *would* be fun..but not in the same way, and they probably wouldn't attract as many of the same kind of musicians they currently do.

It takes a special type of dedication to choose an instrument that is difficult to play, and to stick with it for as long as it takes to learn how to play it well. I started playing the viola because it's a challenge--its music is an elusive creature that cannot be captured in a day, or a week..

I don't know the answer to MusicManEleven's question as to why the viola doesn't seem as popular as the violin..all I know is how special its deep, warm velvety voice has become to me. smile.gif

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MusicManEleven: You are completely incorrect about flute. To get some kind of sound out of the flute--to get some kind of notes out of the flute--is comparable to a beginning violin student getting through that first Suzuki book. Let's listen to people worldwide playing their first year of Suzuki and then compare them to those who can do what you suggest: covering the holes of the flute and producing a sound.

Let's discuss embouchure--and breathiness--and tone. And then let's listen to advanced violin students and advanced flute students. Say, the ones who would perform at Interlochen. I believe that the difference between those beginners (all things considered) and the Interlochen group would be mind boggling.

If you don't believe me: Take up flute. And try to qualify for Interlochen in a year. I think you'll change your tune.

I am constantly amazed by expertise in young, accomplished players. And expertise on flute--although mediocrity on any instrument is fairly easy to achieve--is as elusive a goal as on any instrument.

I would, however, be delighted to hear your neighbor whom you say is accomplished on kazoo! I don't think I've ever heard a kazoo expert. Do they have 'em at, since I'm in that particular groove, Interlochen?

Best regards,

Theresa

[This message has been edited by Theresa (edited 12-10-2000).]

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Well done, Theresa. Nothing is easy when it is done beautifully.

If I am correct, flute is THE most competitive instrument for advanced study and orchestral positions. There are many more talented and capable flutists than the market will bear.

The sound of a flute is breathtakingly beautiful--and I use the word breathtaking deliberately. No one should assume that the creation of this sound is easy.

There is much more to music-making than playing the notes correctly. You all know that.

With regard to the viola: well I admit to some prejudice here. The viola is coming into its own as a beautiful and unique instrument. It is no longer the wannabe violinist's second choice. In our small corner of the world, there are numerous talented viola students and professionals.

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I've never played the flute before, put I have tried to play the trumpet before (just for fun). Anyways, I tried the trumpet, and I couldn't even make a noise come out of it! I would blow and blow, but nothing would come out. People even showed me how to play it, but I couldn't. I'd say that wind instruments are hard, because you have to have enough 'wind' to play them. You have to do it just right.

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Speaking for myself, the joy of playing the violin has nothing to do with it being hard or easy to learn. It's because it is easily the most expressive instrument I've ever picked up. The range of different sounds and subtleties that are available to the player just aren't there on other instruments. The "mystique" that the violin has acquired over the centuries is, I believe, due to this wonderful expresiveness, and of course, it's the "mystique" that perpetuates it's popularity. Being rivaled perhaps only by the piano and guitar, it is the most versatile instrument, being adaptable to a very wide range of musical styles and genres, being suitable as a solo insturment, or in a large group as the backbone of the orchestra. While it may be true that many other instruments are equally, or possibly even more difficult to master at a professional level, I don't ever think it will ever be replaced as "The King of Instruments".

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Theresa, and whomever else it may concern:

I'm sorry I even brought up the idea of the flute being easy. It was just my opinion, and I'm sorry if caused any problems. Now, I have never been to Interlochen, and I don't want to go to Interlochen at this point. I know that you may think that I'm wrong, but it's all about opinions. I would appreciate it if everyone could just get off by back. I have only been on for 2 days or something, and it seems like everything that I have said has either been made fun of, or I have been told that my OPINION IS WRONG. But if you think about it, opinions CAN'T BE WRONG, because they are opinions. Now, I may not be a professional at flute, but if you read my first post, I play 7 instruments (including voice) and I believe that I usually know what I'm talking about. All I have ever tried to do is give an opinion. And some believe that your opinion is correct, whereas mine must be wrong. I would greatly appreciate it if from now on you realize that some of the stuff I say is an OPINION. Lots of the other posts on the board are opinions, and if I don't agree with that opinion, I don't go out and bash that person. All I was trying to do was ask some philosophical questions, and only 1 person has had anything to say about my philosophical questions. I would also appreciate it if all of you could go back and read my philosophical questions, and forget about the whole flute thing.

~Taylor~

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I think people are just a little too sensitive on this message board! I haven't read anything in the post that is making fun of anyone or "bashing" their opinion. I have only read other people stating their opinions and I don't think they are being harsh. The problem with written communication is that it can be read with the wrong intonation or intent. "Can't we all just get along?" smile.gif

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MusicMan:

An apology from me. I was too harsh.

As a non-musician, I have so much admiration for anyone who can produce beautiful sounds from an instrument. I felt defensive for the flute players.

Belatedly, welcome to the fingerboard. You have set out some wonderful goals and I wish you all success.

Do keep giving your opinions. On the whole, this board is very tolerant and courteous.

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viola-mom: You're right, there IS something unique and beautiful about the sound of the viola. I play it, and I'm not a wannabe violinist--in fact, I've never even played a violin. I come from a place where probably no one besides me plays the viola, but I still didn't take up the more "popular" violin. I picked the string instrument I wanted for the sound I wanted, and I don't regret my choice.

As for the sideline about flutes: I don't play the flute, so I'm not in a position to join a debate as to how difficult it is to play. This thread started off being about string instruments. I liked the original post and wanted to see different people's opinions on the questions it raises.

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The reason I usually want to learn any instrument is because I like the sound. It's as simple as that. I don't care how difficult or easy it is. I have never had the urge to learn to play any brass or reed instrument. Not because I don't like them, but because I don't like them as much as I like others.

MusicMan: Don't take this the wrong way, but just as a word of advice. If you are going to express your opinions here them maybe you need to be clear that they are just your opinions or people will read them the wrong way and assume you are putting forth your opinions as the undisputed truth. I did play the flute in highschool and I seem to recall the music teacher at that time saying that the two most difficult instruments to begin were the flute and the french horn. Not because of the fingering, but because of the breath control required. When someone begins to learn flute they are always told to sit down or they will pass out. I have known numerous people give up on trying to learn flute because they just can't get a sound out of it. This isn't the case for everyone. I, personally, couldn't figure out what all the fuss was. Never had any difficulty with it. Nor the piccollo either. I think the reason you don't see many strolling flute players is because the flute is a relatively quiet instrument, and on its own it would never carry very well over the sounds of a noisy resaurant, or street traffic.

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How about some personal stats to aid the discussion.

I play piano, flute, violin (just started), and double bass.

piano: took 0 minutes to learn to play one note. A couple of days to play a scale. 3-10 years to learn to play simple to progressively more difficult pieces. 12 years to play proficiently.

flute: took 2 days to learn to play one note. A week to play a scale. 1-4 years to play simple/medium pieces. 3-4 years to develop semi-acceptable tone. many more years to play proficiently.

violin: 1 day to learn to play one note. a few weeks to play a scale (accurately). a few more years to play simple/medium pieces, a few years to develop good tone. many more years to play proficiently.

double bass: 1 day to learn one note. 2 days to play a scale. a few months to play simple tunes. much longer to develop good tone, solid technique, etc.

I think the thing here is how do you define whether an instrument is difficult to play? Do you judge by how hard it is to get a note out of it, or how long it takes to play a certain kind of repertoire? It all depends. I'm sure it varies depending on the person too. What's important is that people find the right instrument to express their soul. Just my opinion.

SV

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Journey: teaching myself to play the fiddle is singularily the most difficult thing I have ever undertaken. In the past 10 years I have picked it up and put it down on numerous occassions. I have tried to rationalize either not learning to play it or only acquiring a limited degree of proficiency. As a friend of mine used to say, "I tried to fool myself, but I only ended up fooling myself!"

I am now finally "going in for the kill" as they say in the movies. This time is the make-or-breaker for me. I am determined to keep it up until I can play something resembling swing fiddle. It is all I have wanted to do for 10 years!

Your question is: if it came easily, would it be as much fun to play? I guess the answer is: if it came easily, everyone would be playing it. Only the persistent few have achieved a degree of proficiency on this most frustrating irritating confounding eluding mocking of instruments. An instrument that, incidentally, produces one of the most beautiful sounds known to man/woman.

Everyone who posts to this board (and all those others who like myself took awhile to get up the courage to post to this board) should congratulate yourselves. Most people who try to learn this instrument can't. Everytime you play something on the violin you have beaten the odds.

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Very educational, side tracks into wind playing hummm.

If music was only possible on Violin I could understand the need of the musical to learn it, but this is not true.

Since the object is to create Art that enriches ones life it is a matter of choice taking the Violin as opposed to something else.

Statistics suggest certain personality profiles for Violinists and it seems to make sense to me. Typical Violinist a person who had all the best opportunities, is either a natural performer and or musical, got great tuition and wanted this career.

I enjoy listening to these good people so I must say thank you to them.

My own efforts are purely for fun and the challege just as I used do with Clawhammer Banjo. I liked the sound. That is all there is to say about that. To begin I did not want to play the Fiddle at all and tried to avoid it but when I found a pure two note harmony I was hooked.

There is an image of the Violinist as very intelligent and that is fair too, since you need to be able to make very difficult decisions. Also requires great patience and careful planning of one's time. Violinists are often Doctors, University Teachers, Physicists etc.

I suppose these highly intelligent people need to make music too like the rest of humanity.

Is it worth the effort? I think so, and add if somebody did not make that effort then I could not listen to Classical CDs which I love.

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