Top 10 Most Difficult Musical Instruments

Music is dynamic, by inferences you may draw from anyone around. You may agree that musical instruments add this dynamic values to the re-vitalizing lyrics. But these instruments, which beautify ordinary notes to degrees of melody, might not be everyone’s cup of tea to learn through.

Here’s the list of 10 most difficult musical instruments:

( PS – This list is not prepared to demotivate the learners, but for them to know some tricky aspects behind their favorite instruments, of which they must be determined enough to learn, with requisites that follow. )

Oboe –

difficult musical instruments
Also known as the ‘woodwind instrument’, Oboe gets its name from the French for producing a clear and penetrating voice, which plays in soprano range. However, it comes with its own tantrums to be played easily, as it requires a subtle control on the embouchure to produce the desired tone. Playing oboe is a real pain when you try to sustain your breath, which makes up the tune. It is also required to switch the fingering in order to avoid the monotonous impact of the tune. No wonder it tops the list of the most difficult musical instruments!

French Horn –

difficult musical instruments
This brass instrument, evolved out of hunting horns, with a beautiful flared bell is considered the most difficult among other brass instruments, because it plays up in the higher partials than other instruments, which makes it easier to miss a note by the wrong placement of the lips and hitting the wrong partial. The tone may be discouraging for beginners though, once learned, the higher notes make the best music. The tube of the French horn is quite long, which implies that the player must project breath through the significant length of the tube. The tube is not only long, but big, forming a big circle. Hence, the player’s hands must be able to encircle the tube, with fingers touching the keys, located in the middle of the instrument and are not user-friendly.

Sounds tough, already? Well yes, it is!

Violin –

difficult musical instruments
Violin is often characterized as an instrument that needs intonation. This single line instrument is not only difficult to hold in the right position posing the right posture when playing, but there are no frets to guide your fingers through the surface. Moreover, the position affects the tone of the note, which is of maximum significance. The pressure of the bow position on the strings, when not proper may destroy the tone, hence requiring precision and concentration the most!

Organ –

difficult musical instruments
A keyboard instrument with divisions, each accompanied with its own keyboard, played either with hands or feet. The characteristic feature of this instrument is its ability to range from the slightest to the most powerful sound. However, absence of a sustain pedal makes it come under this category of difficult instruments. This implies that we’re supposed to keep our fingers on hold; else it quits playing then and there. Our feet might not even recognize the technique in the initial years of learning, whereas our hand might. The pedals know it well to make us realize their importance when learning ‘organ’.

Bagpipes –

difficult musical instruments
They are aerophones using enclosed reeds. Basically, the strength required to play the instrument makes it difficult and not the complexity in this case. As it takes a fair amount of wind to play a bagpipe, beginners often get frustrated due to their inability to produce any sound for more than few minutes. Hence, right breathing is the need, and probably the most difficult element in learning the bagpipe.

Harp –

difficult musical instruments
This multi-stringed instrument is considered difficult mainly because of its hand positions and the finger techniques. However, mastering the pedals,used for sharpening or flattening the notes add the most to the difficulty levels of the harp. Thereafter, coordinating between the hands and feet on strings and pedals respectively, which have to be switched several times depending on the tone, is another difficulty. Here, only practice and muscle memory can save you, as your hands may ditch you with the notes anytime. Thus, developing proficiency in the instrument is quite challenging.

Piano –

difficult musical instruments
Piano has made its significant way to the list, because both our hands are required to move independently on the board, and of course, the sight reading, which needs to be done simultaneously. Where most other instruments make you read only one bar line, piano makes you read two. Therefore, it’s all the play of senses and moves, the hand-eye co-ordination! Apart from violin, piano too requires intonation, trust me!

Accordion –

difficult musical instruments
Accordion gives us the pleasure, as well as the difficulty of playing multiple lines of music at the same time. Hence, there are some pre-requisites for learning this instrument, making it quite a task – coordinating both the hands independently, and working the bellows to supply the air. Using the bellows however is the most challenging of all tasks.

Classical Guitar –

difficult musical instruments

The instrument every youngster aims at learning, it is an acoustical wooden guitar used to produce classical music. It is not as easy as it is thought to be. It’s all about patience and discipline. With aching fingers as beginners, which almost turn dormant on practicing. Fingering for the left hand is somewhat counter-intuitive, as you play two-or even three- part pieces, not just melody lines or chords like Rock or Jazz guitarists, sight-reading is another challenge when playing the instrument. Guitar has overlapping tones, which, when on the fret-board, is not something which can contain distraction, FYI! Sound here, depends on getting a good right-hand technique, combined with the right shape of your fingernails. Once attained proficiency at this stage, you won’t lose it easily, though.

Drums –

difficult musical instruments
It is believed that drums are the easiest instrument to learn the basics, but the hardest to master. A certain style and technique of hitting those wooden sticks require proper learning, along with the dynamics and sticking. Keeping the beats of the feet and hand-hits in sync is not as easy, as inferred by most of us, because having the upper body and lower body at two complete different beats is difficult. Moreover, getting the heights correct on taps and accents is a task. Also, independent co-ordination may take a long time for some to learn. Hence, being Steven Alder is not a cakewalk,right?

Yes, these instruments are pretty much a challenge to learn, but challenges bring out the best out of us, right? Best of luck !


23 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I have read your full post that you have described on your website. thank you so much for this best idea

    • I play bassoon and it is hard. Even my band director cant even play the bassoon and she could play all the band instruments (except tuba).

  • Classical_VIOLIN is the toughest instrument in the world .Because i a musician .And right now i know 7 different types of instrument .eg : flute, piano ,lead_guitar, base_guitar, Western_violin,drum’s ,organ. Now i am a professional flutist. So in my view of musical journey violin is the hard one.

  • Piano, really? You might be joking with me… I’ve been playing the piano since I was 7 years old. So, as for me, this totally not big deal. Trust me, I’m the first member of my family who started play on a musical instrument. Okay, without any doubts, I agree with your thought about the organ. It’s a really tough… so stressful technic. But piano, it just piano, one good keyboard, cozy atmosphere, good concentration and practice-practice-practice that’s it. Anyway, I believe everyone able to play on some musical instrument. It doesn’t matter which one: bagpipes, harp, drums, oboe, whatever. All you need is an inspiration!

    • If you are really that good at piano and think it’s not that hard. Then why are you not performing a famous piece in front of thousands. There are many famous people that plays the piano and will take this offence, for they have crossed many obstacle to play extremely good.

  • This list is not true.

    1. All wind instruments are tough excluding the Recorder, Harmonica and considering the Oboe as hardest one in the wind instruments section. But reed instruments are slightly easier than Flutes,Trumpets and Trombones.
    2. Stringed Instruments like Guitar,Harp, Banjo are harder than Ukelele,Mandolin etc. These are harder because both melody and harmony can be played on these instruments.
    3. Fretless stringed instruments like Violin, Double Bass, Cello comes right after. However these instruments excluding the double bass are not ideal for harmony alone but as a group violins,viola and cellos are great sounding as orchestral harmony section.
    4. Drums are the hardest in the group of Rhythmic and Percussive instruments.

  • I play piano accordion & it can be quite hard. However over time it gets easier knowing where the button are & its played more by feel as you can’t see the base side at all. I’m still having lessons to this day thiugg can play a number of tunes very well.

  • I play eight of those instruments. I found it is not the instruments that difficult to be played but myself… i.e. my laziness.

  • Is flute really that hard! Cause I want to play it. And all these comments and details have really confused me.

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