PDA

View Full Version : What musical intrument would you master?


Czarcasm
02-26-2012, 10:27 AM
If you could become the supreme master of any single musical instrument, even one that you would normally have difficulty with, which would you pick?

Rule #1: It has to be a particular instrument. For example, you couldn't pick all the different types of trumpets.
Rule #B: Voice and baton are out.

JohnT
02-26-2012, 10:29 AM
Guitar.

Going to start piano lessons soon, however. Taking up an instrument at 45.. why the F not?

twickster
02-26-2012, 10:31 AM
Piano.

Czarcasm
02-26-2012, 10:34 AM
Guitar.

Going to start piano lessons soon, however. Taking up an instrument at 45.. why the F not?What type of guitar?

DCnDC
02-26-2012, 10:49 AM
Kazoo. Easy to learn, difficult to master.

But seriously, as a pretty good guitar player who hit "the wall" a long time ago, my initial reaction is to say that, but actually I'd go with the piano.

Piano is, IMHO, is the opposite of the guitar in the respect that it is deceptively hard, where the guitar is deceptively easy. The guitar initially appears to be a very complicated, abstract instrument with all of its difficult fingerings and picking techniques and such, but once you learn few basics it's pretty easy to pick your way to sounding competent, at the least.

The piano OTOH, it seems like it should be really easy: all of the notes are right in front of you, conveniently arranged from low to high; how hard could it be? It's hard. REALLY hard. There is so much more theory and knowledge you must learnt before you even begin to sound like a competent piano player it's a daunting task. I was forced to take lessons as a kid and learned a few basic songs (of which I only remember one; amusingly that one song is "The Muppets Theme") but all the theory and scales and other technical stuff I could never ever really get a grasp on. After I stopped the piano lessons my father bought me a pawn-shop guitar and I picked it up immediately.

YMMV, of course.

Loach
02-26-2012, 11:02 AM
What type of guitar?

You mean style or just electric vs acoustic?

Guitar would be my choice. Electric. If I could only choose one style it would be becoming the next Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Unfortunately I have proven I have no musical talent.

not what you'd expect
02-26-2012, 11:07 AM
I'm pretty stuck between guitar and piano. I have very small hands though, so I never could seem to master much of anything on either. Not that I tried too much. I can't read music at all.
My first and only music teacher told my mom it was hopeless for me. I was a straight A student and could not grasp any part of the lessons. That was in 4th or 5th grade, I think.

freckafree
02-26-2012, 11:13 AM
Violin, I think. I think it is very rewarding to play with other people, and the violin presents lots of options, from duos to full orchestras to traditional music groups. And, unlike the piano, the violin is highly portable.

silenus
02-26-2012, 11:17 AM
Piano. All my rock aspirations disappeared decades ago, so I'd just like the skill to noodle around on the piano in my dotage.

Shakester
02-26-2012, 11:19 AM
Drums. I can drum a bit, but I'd like to do it to a professional standard.

Ann Onimous
02-26-2012, 11:20 AM
Trombone, so I could help my two children with their lessons.

Stelios
02-26-2012, 11:23 AM
Cello.

Archergal
02-26-2012, 11:25 AM
A B/C Irish button accordion or an Anglo concertina. I'm fascinated by squeezeboxes, but I'm really TERRIBLE at them.

I learned a few tunes on a D/G button accordion, but it doesn't come naturally to me at all. I have a small English concertina that challenges my brain too.

JohnT
02-26-2012, 11:46 AM
What type of guitar?

Electric.

WhyNot
02-26-2012, 11:50 AM
Acoustic guitar. Folky bluesy bluegrassy Americana finger picking acoustic guitar, to be precise.

BTEzra04
02-26-2012, 11:54 AM
I've played piano for 12 years in August, learning from an amazing mentor/friend as I've grown up. I still haven't mastered it, due to time and lack of having easy access to a true piano. I need to finish my Alfred's collection of piano books still, then it's on to what I can get myself to study of the works of the Masters. And a whole ton of other stuff from the collection of sheet music and books I've amassed over the years.

I have a small piano keyboard that doesn't let me have my dynamics; I'll admit that it's better than nothing. I'd be overjoyed to just have a digital one with 88 weighted keys, a damper, an una corda and a sostenuto though (something along the lines of this (http://www.amazon.com/Williams-Overture-Key-Digital-Piano/dp/B0021F36J4/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1330275050&sr=1-2)). But they ain't cheap, unfortunately. And I think I'd die of happiness and melt into a puddle on the floor if I ever had a real grand. *swoon*

But oh, when I've got a real career started, I *will* have at least a lovely digital with pedals and weighted keys. And I will finish my training. My hands and feet are aching just thinking about how awesome that'll be :D

JohnT
02-26-2012, 12:06 PM
I've played piano for 12 years in August, learning from an amazing mentor/friend as I've grown up. I still haven't mastered it, due to time and lack of having easy access to a true piano. I need to finish my Alfred's collection of piano books still, then it's on to what I can get myself to study of the works of the Masters. And a whole ton of other stuff from the collection of sheet music and books I've amassed over the years.

I have a small piano keyboard that doesn't let me have my dynamics; I'll admit that it's better than nothing. I'd be overjoyed to just have a digital one with 88 weighted keys, a damper, an una corda and a sostenuto though (something along the lines of this (http://www.amazon.com/Williams-Overture-Key-Digital-Piano/dp/B0021F36J4/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1330275050&sr=1-2)). But they ain't cheap, unfortunately. And I think I'd die of happiness and melt into a puddle on the floor if I ever had a real grand. *swoon*

But oh, when I've got a real career started, I *will* have at least a lovely digital with pedals and weighted keys. And I will finish my training. My hands and feet are aching just thinking about how awesome that'll be :D

We have one of these (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp430/?mode=model) to be delivered on Tuesday, a Yamaha Clavinova 430. My daughter takes lessons and it's time to upgrade from her little keyboard.

StuffLikeThatThere
02-26-2012, 12:38 PM
Cello.

Infovore
02-26-2012, 12:41 PM
Drums.

johnpost
02-26-2012, 01:10 PM
thremin

River Hippie
02-26-2012, 02:03 PM
Cello.
I play guitar badly now, my second choice would be to master guitar, electric blues, blues rock.

Washoe
02-26-2012, 02:09 PM
I’d say it’s a toss-up between bagpipes and sax. Both are so insufferably cool that I just can’t decide between the two.

Fear Itself
02-26-2012, 02:20 PM
A B/C Irish button accordion or an Anglo concertina. I am also fascinated with the Anglo concertina, but my musical talent just isn't up to the challenge. I love to listen to them though.

Toucanna
02-26-2012, 02:21 PM
Lute. Which is truly pointless as the only people who appreciate lute players are Ren Faire types and Ren Faires just ain't my scene.

koeeoaddi
02-26-2012, 02:30 PM
Guitar. My skills have deteriorated form competent to rudimentary. I want to be a virtuoso (without all the time, sacrifice and practice, that is).

...or harp, because I love the sound.

Czarcasm
02-26-2012, 02:38 PM
I think I would have to go with the cello.

antonio107
02-26-2012, 02:43 PM
Pipe Organ.

Taomist
02-26-2012, 02:52 PM
Tough choice, but probably cello.
Or piano.
Or cello.
Or piano.

Ok, cello. Just have to get me a piano sidekick, like these guys (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR94NDIfGmA&list=PL2FCE4EAED0A3000B&index=1&feature=plcp)

If only. <3

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
02-26-2012, 03:06 PM
Just curious, Czarcasm - why do you eliminate voice from our possibilities? Granted, it isn't an instrument and a singer uses a strange blend of some of the skills of a musician and some of the skills of an actor, but it is a discipline well worth pursuing, and difficult to master.

As the question stands, I'm divided between piano and guitar - both are instruments I'm working on, and so I'm painfully aware of my limitations and what it's going to take to exceed them. Both have a wealth of fantastic repertoire that remains beyond my reach and my grasp, and both are immensely satisfying in those rare moments when a performance goes as well as you could have hoped. Choose one over the other? That's like choosing between my two kids....

MilTan
02-26-2012, 03:07 PM
I play both the mandolin and the piano; both well enough to know a few pieces and sound reasonably competent, but neither especially well. I love bluegrass, but if I had to pick one to master, it would be the piano, since it adapts to a wider range of music.

Fiddle Peghead
02-26-2012, 03:13 PM
The banjo. And I'd like to own one with a fiddle-shaped peghead!

Jake
02-26-2012, 03:31 PM
Piano. I just about mastered the clarinet and saxes, but still was limited without piano training.

AnalogSignal
02-26-2012, 03:50 PM
The reason why piano is so notoriously difficult to master is that the keyboard is hard wired for C major (and the church modes). When you want to learn another key, all of the hand shapes for the scales and chords change. Therefore, it takes years of practice to become proficient in all keys. It’s similar to the Qwerty keyboard where a bad design becomes the standard and it becomes impossible to change because millions of people are used to it.

The solution is isomorphic keyboards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isomorphic_keyboard) where all musical intervals have the “same shape” on the keyboard.

One day I will get a MIDI capable isomorphic keyboard. For now, I can barely play keyboards in a couple of keys and enjoy fooling around on this cheap isomorphic concertina (http://www.concertinaconnection.com/elise.htm). Of course, my skills would improve if I actually practiced.

MsJinx
02-26-2012, 03:53 PM
Violin, for the same reasons as Freckafree. It's portable, has various styles, can be solo to ensemble, and sounds good alone.

Maybe I would say piano if I didn't already know how to play. I don't play well, or when anyone can hear, except my kids when they were too young to know I wasn't very good. I didn't take lessons long enough to learn any theory or even chords, and cannot play by ear or change keys. It's just for my own entertainment.

I do credit the training with making me a very fast typist,though. Sightreading notes and letters are about the same.

DocCathode
02-26-2012, 03:56 PM
Either the violin or the theremin.

I find the violin to be incredibly expressive.

Theremins are just cool.

Malacandra
02-26-2012, 04:00 PM
Organ first and the rest nowhere. I have grown fond of the trumpet since "accidentally" taking it up ten years ago, but the organ's the love of my life and likely to stay that way. Although pipes are great, I wouldn't turn my nose up at a really good electronic.

cmyk
02-26-2012, 04:02 PM
Electric Guitar; the greatest and most flexible instrument ever created.

bup
02-26-2012, 04:19 PM
Right now I'd say oboe. I'm just very taken with the haunting quality of its sound.

lshaw
02-26-2012, 04:27 PM
Violin - I saw Midori and Itzhak Perlman in concert, and it was there and then that I thought that to really be able to master it and to perform it all over the world on the scale that they do, must be one of the best jobs ever.

Spice Weasel
02-26-2012, 04:40 PM
Trombone. I already know how to play it (or at least I did, years ago) and it would be wonderful to master.

Khadaji
02-26-2012, 05:42 PM
I waffle between piano and guitar. I like the idea of piano better, but a guitar is easier to take with you.

Jack Batty
02-26-2012, 05:49 PM
Piano. I'm already a mediocre guitar player and a pretty bad pianist. Okay, let's call a spade a spade, I'm a horrible pianist. I'd love to be able to master that.

drachillix
02-26-2012, 05:57 PM
I'm gonna be an oddball... Chapman stick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JjimMO2SdE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapman_Stick

BTEzra04
02-26-2012, 06:31 PM
We have one of these (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp430/?mode=model) to be delivered on Tuesday, a Yamaha Clavinova 430. My daughter takes lessons and it's time to upgrade from her little keyboard.

That looks very nice. It's Yamaha, so of course the quality is going to be good. I hope she enjoys it!

drachillix--that Chapman Stick recording sounds amazing! It would be great to learn, it looks like.

Proudest Monkey
02-26-2012, 07:06 PM
Going to start piano lessons soon, however. Taking up an instrument at 45.. why the F not?

I did it. Never had an instrument more complicated than a triangle in my hand until I decided I must learn to play piano in my 40s. Found a great teacher who tailored lessons to an adult learner (i.e. the music was more relevant to me than little kid stuff--I learned by playing a lot of standards, classics, pop). I started on a small keyboard; my husband bought me a secondhand piano for my birthday and I blossomed. However, I reached a wall. With enough practice, I can render some pretty respectable versions of Misty, Pachelbel's Canon, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, etc, but piano will always be a cognitive endeavor rather than an artistic one for me. I love playing and exercising previously idle areas of my middle-aged brain, but I realize I will never be a real musician

The banjo. And I'd like to own one with a fiddle-shaped peghead!

I would LOVE to be able to play the banjo. Saw Bela Fleck and the Flecktones in concert a few years ago and have dreamed of strumming ever since.

Apollyon
02-26-2012, 08:40 PM
Bagpipes.

I have a chanter at home (Christmas present from my wife from some years ago) but have failed so far to progress beyond *barp*. :)

Rhiannon8404
02-26-2012, 09:19 PM
Flute, just your basic western concert flute

Czarcasm
02-27-2012, 02:36 PM
I'm gonna be an oddball... Chapman stick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JjimMO2SdE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapman_StickCool-I'd never even heard of a Chapman Stick until now.

raspberry hunter
02-27-2012, 04:26 PM
Just curious, Czarcasm - why do you eliminate voice from our possibilities? Granted, it isn't an instrument and a singer uses a strange blend of some of the skills of a musician and some of the skills of an actor, but it is a discipline well worth pursuing, and difficult to master

I came in to say voice until I read the rules. Although I have a good voice and am very good at singing on pitch, I have what I feel is a lot of trouble with the technical aspects of classical voice training (e.g., "placing" my voice, supporting in the correct way, doing all of it together, etc.). I'd love to be able to just have the technical aspects work and be able to concentrate on intepretation and nitpicky items, the way I am confident of my overall technical skill on the violin and can concentrate, when I practice, on nitpicky items and expression.

(Also, the acting skills of a singer are perhaps a little more obvious, but I've found that instrumentalists need some acting, in the sense of stage presence, as well.)

But since voice doesn't count, I'll say piano; certainly that would be the most useful for me to be able to be a master at, at least if "master" includes "able to read piano music really well, including open score."

The reason why piano is so notoriously difficult to master is that the keyboard is hard wired for C major (and the church modes).

I don't think that's all of it by a long shot. I think a lot of it has to do with the two hands playing what can be completely different rhythms and notes. Violin is hard for other reasons, but at least one can be assured that they are working together to play the same (one, or at most two or three together) note. I base this on the fact that I have more trouble with polyphonic pieces in C than in non-polyphonic in other keys.

Anaamika
02-27-2012, 04:27 PM
Flute. Wood, like Krishna carried. No tinny metal flute for me!

Violin music stirs my heart and soul, and certain pieces of it can actually bring me to tears if I allow them, but a flute hearkens back to my childhood and happy times.

Czarcasm
02-27-2012, 04:46 PM
Just curious, Czarcasm - why do you eliminate voice from our possibilities? Granted, it isn't an instrument...It looks like you've answered your own question, doesn't it?

enipla
02-27-2012, 05:05 PM
Banjo. I've already started, and it has been pretty easy, but it starting to feel like I've hit a wall. Just not getting any better.

WordMan
02-27-2012, 05:07 PM
I check in on this thread and have thought about what I would want to master...

As a long-time blues and rock guitarist, I certainly get the desire. It is always interesting to play and see the faces of folks watching - there are always one or two who watch with a bit more intensity; they are the ones who come up afterwards and want to talk about what it is like to play.

In terms of this thread - I would love to play/master jazz guitar; the tools, techiques and theory are just enough out of reach that it feels like another instrument.

I would also love to be a master at boogie piano. If I could play like Meade Lux Lewis (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0UudZ746nI) (youtube), life would be full of yay. When I am stretching out on guitar, I try to incorporate the rhythms and chords I hear when I listen to boogie piano (or T-Bone Walker on guitar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVuuMiqeQas)) - slowly, slowly, it is getting me a bit jazzier in my approach...

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
02-27-2012, 05:21 PM
It looks like you've answered your own question, doesn't it?

So? It is still a musical discipline and worth mastering, is my point.

Czarcasm
02-27-2012, 05:40 PM
So? It is still a musical discipline and worth mastering, is my point.You are welcome to start your own thread about musical disciplines.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
02-27-2012, 05:42 PM
You are welcome to start your own thread about musical disciplines.

I understand that. Let me be clear - I have no quarrel with you, I'm just curious why you felt it was important to exclude voice and conducting from your question.

Czarcasm
02-27-2012, 05:55 PM
I understand that. Let me be clear - I have no quarrel with you, I'm just curious why you felt it was important to exclude voice and conducting from your question.Because the topic is about instruments, and they aren't, strictly speaking, musical instruments.

JohnT
02-27-2012, 06:04 PM
Just to be on the record, I don't have any quarrel with you either, Czarcasm.

panache45
02-28-2012, 09:33 AM
Is there still room for me in the cello section?

As a kid, I played violin and viola. The next logical step would be cello.

Dr_Doom
02-28-2012, 10:03 AM
Accordian.

In 2004, after 16 or so years of having a classical guitar laying around to goof around with, I decided to buy a cello and take some lessons. I took 2 lessons, then lost my driver's license for 3 months, and so had to teach myself from a beginner's book. After the 3 months I returned to resume my lessons and had found that my instructor was now inferior to me. Admittedly he was a jack-of-all-trades type music teacher. I was divorced, seeing my kids on weekends, and could not go anywhere, living rurally, so practiced upwards of 3 hours/day. On a few occasions I literally played that cello for 8 hours straight.

I switched to a violin/cello teacher (mostly violin, but she could provide basics for cello), and she set me on Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada) pieces. I had played myself to a Grade 6 level in 3 months. The cello is pretty straight forward for someone with experience with strings, and, being a heavy metal fan, I absolutely love the range of crunchy sounds that come from the low register, and the emotional depth of the vibrato is untouchable in any other instrument, IMO.

I like the accordian because it's something that can produce a multitude of sounds, and you can walk around while playing it. Also, it's not completely necessary to use both hands at all times, so one can always grab a slug of beer and a drag of their smoke without having to stop playing!

Harvey Ferguson
02-28-2012, 06:54 PM
I've played acoustic and electric guitar relatively well for quite a few years, have gotten into playing bass guitar in the last couple of years and have come to realize that it is my instrument. The possibilities are endless.

Arnold Winkelried
02-28-2012, 08:55 PM
Flute, just your basic western concert flute

Same here. You can produce beautiful music with it, lots of pieces are written for that instrument, and you can carry it everywhere with you. Plus being able to play the flute well would mean that you have good lungs!

Maggie the Ocelot
02-28-2012, 09:04 PM
Saxophone. My very favorite instrument.

Baker
02-28-2012, 09:26 PM
For me it would definitely be the piano. I took lessons as a child and regret quitting to this day.

SciFiSam
02-28-2012, 09:29 PM
Piano. I played it a few times as a kid - not in lessons, just in sneaking around in the big weird Freemasony hall I spent most of my childhood in, and picking things out. I love the sound, the way it looks when it's being played and the feel of the keys under my fingers.

I'd never be any good due to teeny tiny hands with very little reach, but if I ever had a home big enough for a piano, I'd get one.

Sir T-Cups
02-28-2012, 09:53 PM
I falter back and forth hardcore between violin and cello. They're both so versatile in that you can sound just beautiful with it, or you can sound just friggin awesome

I'm gonna go with violin for the portability of it over it's giant of a cousin cello.

Misnomer
02-29-2012, 11:40 AM
Acoustic guitar, so that I could competently accompany myself with a highly portable instrument.

I've been playing the piano since I was 7, and I would love to be a great pianist, but they just aren't portable. Even portable keyboards aren't as portable as guitars.

Misnomer
02-29-2012, 11:45 AM
Oh, I forgot to ask:

We have one of these (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp430/?mode=model) to be delivered on Tuesday, a Yamaha Clavinova 430. My daughter takes lessons and it's time to upgrade from her little keyboard.Would you mind sharing what the price was? Maybe just a ballpark? I'm considering getting something from the Yamaha ARIUS line, and am looking at a $2,000 model...I'm just wondering how much more it would take to upgrade to a Clavinova. :)

JohnT
02-29-2012, 12:46 PM
Oh, I forgot to ask:

Would you mind sharing what the price was? Maybe just a ballpark? I'm considering getting something from the Yamaha ARIUS line, and am looking at a $2,000 model...I'm just wondering how much more it would take to upgrade to a Clavinova. :)

Check your PM's...

We bought it at Alamo Music here in SA, btw.

It was delivered yesterday and it sounds great. However, a bizarre thing occurred when I was looking at the Yamaha website: They offer music books for sale, but many (if not most) state that they cannot be printed out due to copyright issues. Unless I'm missing something here, how does one practice piano from a music book being displayed from a PC/laptop? Color me :confused:

Ají de Gallina
02-29-2012, 09:10 PM
Electric bass, because that's what I play.

I can see however that guitar or piano are more "useful" choices.

PandaBear77
02-29-2012, 09:25 PM
Fiddle or mandolin.

BigT
02-29-2012, 10:30 PM
Because the topic is about instruments, and they aren't, strictly speaking, musical instruments.

How do you define musical instruments so that a voice is not one of them? Because it's really, really a sore subject amongst vocalists, who do very much believe it to be a musical instrument, and their argument pretty much is as presented. I'd have assumed you just counted it out because you knew that there are a lot of singers out there.

I honestly have no real desire to master any instrument, as I'd rather play multiple ones at about the same level as I currently play piano, but I guess the best to master would be the electronic keyboard, as mastery means learning how to sound like any other instrument. If that's not allowed, I'd go with just plain piano, simply because I view it as the hardest to truly master, due to being the most polyphonic instrument that ordinarily takes advantage of that characteristic.

Really, really close would be guitar, and I would pick the electric variety since true mastery would mean being nearly an acoustic master, too, or else you couldn't play unaccompanied and rhythm guitar without distortion. My reason for wanting to learn does include the coolness factor, though.

Jaledin
02-29-2012, 11:20 PM
I would also love to be a master at boogie piano. If I could play like Meade Lux Lewis (youtube), life would be full of yay. When I am stretching out on guitar, I try to incorporate the rhythms and chords I hear when I listen to boogie piano (or T-Bone Walker on guitar)

Don't forget Lloyd Glenn on piano on those T-Bone records -- that was always some bad stuff. You can get boogie down, but it's a lot harder than it sounds to improvise coherently, and, frankly, they never get a good reaction because it seems everyone knows somebody when they were really young (like tween or pre-teen) who could play some little set piece.

To above: good weighted-action keyboards aren't that much $ these days. Look into the Casio Privia line -- highly regarded among professionals.

Scholar Beardpig
03-01-2012, 10:26 AM
Balalaika. I want to play Lara's theme from Doctor Zhivago.

WordMan
03-01-2012, 10:35 AM
Don't forget Lloyd Glenn on piano on those T-Bone records -- that was always some bad stuff. You can get boogie down, but it's a lot harder than it sounds to improvise coherently, and, frankly, they never get a good reaction because it seems everyone knows somebody when they were really young (like tween or pre-teen) who could play some little set piece.

What I care about is getting deep inside the groove. Pounding through endless chord-progression cycles, keeping the boogie groove chooglin' along while throwing different fills and breaks over it. Boogie can't help but make me smile, and getting that deep inside the groove...well, I know it would re-set my head, my sense of well-being and how to look at life....and boogie real hard.

Mastery, to me, is more about getting inside the instrument and the music - the zen experience of that. Whether I would end up performing is a different question. But I can get inside the music when I play guitar today - but I suspect it would be a whole new level of "zen connection" if I could achieve that inside feeling with boogie piano or jazz guitar like Grant Green or Kenny Burrell.

MikeF
03-01-2012, 03:05 PM
Fiddle. I've yet to hear an instrument that is better at getting people up on their feet.

Chronos
03-01-2012, 03:33 PM
The visisonar.

akrako1
03-01-2012, 05:31 PM
i've been playing the sitar for around 4 years now. only took lessons for two years... would love to have the time to devote to mastering it.