What Is The Hardest Instrument To Play?

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Musical instruments are the tools in which many people can let their creativity flow.

The sounds we can produce from each one are unique and if you have mastered the instrument, you can manipulate sound like nobody else. 

However, that does not make mastering them easy. In fact, mastering the ins and outs of a musical instrument is perhaps one of the most complex studies on earth.

It is very similar in scope and scale to learning a language and, as with languages, there are some that are easier to learn than others.

Tambourines and recorders are simple and guitars have a wealth of information and teachers, making them both easier to learn. 

But what are the hard instruments, the ones that take years of devoted time and skill to get to grips with?

Well, in this article, we will look at these instruments and tell you our thoughts on the most difficult instruments to play. 


The piano has become a household name for its ability to create beautiful music. When it comes to playing the piano, however, many people find it quite difficult.

While there are plenty of other keyboards out there, the piano still remains the king of the keyboard.

There is a reason why so many songs have been written about the piano – it’s just such an amazing sounding instrument, and it is one of the few that have such a wide range of notes and octaves that it can sound good in any genre.

However, when it comes to playing the keys, there is no denying that the piano isn’t easy to master. 

It takes years of practice before someone becomes good enough to be able to play pieces by Beethoven or Bach.

This is due to the fact that pianists need to develop muscle memory and use their fingers to create a strong base, while also remembering the sound of all 88 of its single notes, not including chords and scales, in order to know where they will fit in.

They also need to learn how to read music and work through intricate pieces of music while using both hands. 


For those who think that playing the violin is easy, think again. It requires dedication and discipline to really master the violin.

It is actually considered to be the hardest stringed instrument to play because of the amount of notes and lack of frets. 

It may not seem like a lot of strings, but once you start thinking about the number of notes that the violin plays, it starts to add up.

There are five strings that go across the neck, with absolutely no frets between each note.

Frets are lines dictating where to place your finger to produce a note, since violins have no frets you have to learn where the notes are, which is insanely difficult with no guide.

On top of this, the player needs to remember which note goes next to each string and then which finger should be used to press down on the string.

Not only do players need to concentrate on memorizing this information, there is also the added pressure of having to play under the eyes of an audience. 

Even then, there is also the issue of learning to produce the right sound. Violins don’t rely on fingers to strum or pluck, instead they slide a bow over the top.

Depending on the angle and the force used, a different sound will be produced each time even when slid in the same position. As such, the musician must also master the bow, or it will sound awful.

If you want to understand how much effort and practice is needed to play classical music, try looking into the lives of famous musicians such as Joshua Bell or Augustin Hadelich.

These men spent decades practicing and perfecting their skills before finally being able to perform in front of audiences. 


To say that the harp is hard would be a massive understatement. The harp contains two rows of strings that run from the chin rest to the floor.

There are a couple of types of harp: one that requires the player to pluck the string, and the other uses hammers to strike the string.

For the hammer harps, each string uses a hammer to strike the strings below them. The hammers are tied together at the back of the harp and pulled forward using a wire rope.

As the hammers strike the strings, they vibrate and cause the desired tone to come out.

To make sure that the correct tone is played, the hammers are tuned every night and checked throughout the day before the performance.

For plucked harps, the only difference is that there are no hammers and the strings are instead plucked with fingers.

This method of tuning makes the harp incredibly difficult to play correctly. Once the strings are tuned, they stay that way until they are re-tuned during the show.

If a mistake is made, the entire set has to be re-tuned and the whole process begins again.

Even worse, if the wrong tone is set and then played, then the tuner has to stop everything and find the right one, meaning that the performer can’t play anything else until it is re-tuned.

Therefore, mistakes can be costly to performers. 

This difficulty extends to the fact that most harps are made out of wood, meaning that it will get damaged if used too often or played too vigorously.

Even worse, the strings are attached directly to the body, meaning that any damage done to the harp will affect the quality of the music.

In addition, the strings cannot be changed easily, making it very expensive to change the strings for a new song.

Harps can also have upwards of 40 strings and a musician on the harp must know how to manage each one perfectly, otherwise it will mess up the song.

Learning how each string functions and how to tune the entire instrument is a nightmare and not easily done, even for professionals. 

While these issues make the harp extremely complicated, many people still enjoy playing it. It’s just not something that I’d recommend picking up unless you’re completely dedicated to it.


The oboe is similar to the flute in that both require the use of air pressure to create sounds.

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However, unlike the flute, the oboe does not have valves, which allows it to create more complex tones. This means that the oboe produces a wider range of notes than the flute does.

In order to play an oboe, a person needs to blow through a pipe called the mouthpiece.

This creates the air flow necessary to make the sound. To do this, a person blows through the mouthpiece and the air travels to the top of the oboe where it is released by a hole called the bell.

While the bell releases the air, a finger is placed on the side of the bell to keep it open as long as possible.

When the player stops blowing into the mouthpiece, the bell closes and the player inhales to pull the air back inside the oboe.

This cycle continues over and over again as the air keeps flowing from the mouthpiece to the bell and then back to the mouthpiece.

A lot of people think that the oboe requires little practice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Due to its complexity, it takes years of training to become proficient at the instrument. Even after you’ve practiced enough, the oboe still isn’t easy to master.

The oboe has multiple holes around the bell, all those holes could get clogged with dirt and cause problems.

The best thing about the oboe is that there are few other instruments like it, which isn’t really what you want to hear as a defining feature of an instrument.


There are many insanely difficult instruments in the world today, and many people will avoid even trying these instruments for good measure.

But there is a reason they are still around, and that is because the sound and wonder they produce is heavenly.

As such, many people have dedicated themselves to these instruments, and we hope they continue for years to come.

If you are interested in learning one of these instruments, prepare yourself for a life of dedication, but it may just be worth it.

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