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  1. #1

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    Stole this idea from another thread (thanks goldenwave77). Apparently Barry Galbraith thinks high level guitar is much harder. Me, I'm not sure, but I look forward to some thoughts from the peanut gallery

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Well.. for technique I think the guitar takes the cake. My classical guitar teacher would make fun little remarks that pianists can play with their noses just to make a point. Might be helpful to compare the best of the best performance of each instrument (in terms of virtuosity) if thats possible.. and see if we can draw a conclusion from those performances. Here is the example from the guitar side:



    From the piano side.. I don't know! I'm ignorant so perhaps someone else can show THE example.

    Now in terms of getting to know the instrument I think the guitar also takes the cake (stop eating so much cake darn it!). That is unless you turn your guitar in Major Thirds then understanding the guitar would probably be easier than piano.

    Anyways in conclusion I think its safe to say that guitar players generally have it harder than pianists.

  4. #3
    Piano is nearly the easiest instrument to play, among all of them. All things being equal, I'd say almost ANYTHING is easier to play on the piano. It's designed for the human hand, and to facilitate playing polyphony easily.

    "High-level piano music" is nearly impossible on most other instruments. I guess you could say that high-level piano music is harder music, but that's because the instrument itself simply facilitates higher-level possibilities, because of its ergonomic advantage.

    I'm not a pianist , at all! But reading music from a hymnal or from piano sheet music is just a lot more straightforward with piano versus guitar. Guitarists who can reduce and read polyphonic/homophonic four-part music which pianists find basically "easy" are among the top level musicians.

    I think this is very much an apples and oranges kind of thing.

  5. #4

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    It's most definitely guitar. It is one of the most difficult instruments.


    That being said, isn't there a movie about a guy losing his mind trying to play Rachmaninoff's
    3rd, so...


    Btw, Yamashita is the greatest guitar player to ever live.

  6. #5

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    As you (Matt) have pointed out in a number of your posts, pedagogy for other instruments, incl. piano, is much more well-developed and consistent than it is for guitar. (I know there are thriving debates as to how to play, and train, but what to play, much less so.)

    Barry Harris said that there are more decent level pianists in the world, than probably any other type of instrumental player. Certainly there is no shortage of prodigy-type wunderkindt pianists being minted every year. Guitar....much less so, and even there, probably mostly in classical where note choice and repertoire is much more fixed.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 12-22-2016 at 04:01 PM.

  7. #6

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    Guitar. But I might be biased.

  8. #7

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    Piano has 12 keys that are exactly the same pattern - one octave all up and down the keyboard. Pretty easy to get your head around.

    Middle C is always, as are all notes, in the same exact location.

    Guitar each note has so many different locations it can make your head spin. Playing a C scale in the same octave, you can not only have various fingerings, but play them in 3 or more entirely different locations.

    Chords are a separate entity, as most guitar players play them, that are almost seemingly not related to the scale at all. Not so with piano. Scales and chords are one entity.

  9. #8

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    Point of information here (never played piano). What do you do to produce ..."in between" tones? Sound, two adjacent (half-step apart) keys at the same time?

    Guitarists can bend strings, but what does a piano player do?

  10. #9

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    Piano is much harder.

  11. #10

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    It depends whether you can play the piano or not. I can't. I can't do the both-hands-together thing. Even though, technically, we do different things with the hands on a guitar.

    What I have found, however, is that high-level pianists seem a lot more savvy, musically educated and capable of seriously intricate improvisation than any other instrument. See Levine's jazz book for one.

    Quite often, if I want to get a good sneak preview into different arrangements of a tune, I'll go to a piano vid on YouTube.

    I actually think guitarists are somewhat limited in the scope imposed by the instrument, and it shows in their playing.

  12. #11

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    Piano is the perfect instrument, because you can see everything and it's the same in every octave. Not sure this makes it any easier than guitar (which is is a stupid instrument because of that way it's tuned). Once you get accustomed to the fact that the guitar is tuned wrong and can make the necessary adjustment to compensate for it, I think you can get your "head around" how the theory maps out on the fretboard. When it comes to getting your "hands around" either instrument, I think it's a lifetime endeavor.

    Just my opinion (and worth what it cost.)

  13. #12

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    Yes, there are many more savvy and brilliant pianists than guitarists. But it's not that that's directly proportional to the level of difficulty between the two. At a certain point it's easier to grok the piano earlier. Guitar is just a mess to get to a mastery level of looking and executing the fretboard. In the meantime, pianists are doing Herbie transcriptions and Tatum and playing bop.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 12-22-2016 at 07:04 PM.

  14. #13

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    I think piano is harder. The music that the masters play is just way more complex than can be played on guitar. Mentally much more challenging.


  15. #14

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    I think we shouldn't focus on the obvious--the straightforward keyboard layout of the piano, patterns of notes, etc.--while ignoring the complexities of technique.

    In my opinion and observation, having had a son who is a bit of a keyboard prodigy, here are some arguments in favor of the keyboard being much harder to play at a high level: requires years of practice to play passages of even medium complexity well; must start at an early age--like gymnastics and Olympic swimming, nobody becomes a world-class pianist starting at age 16; strict adherence to hand placement and fingering; much more "rule-based" than guitar or many other instruments; the repertoire is much more defined in its structure yet more demanding.

    As far as the guitar tuning, that is arbitrary of course and developed over time to make it easier to play common note progressions and chords. Guitar music is written in a "guitaristic" manner to take advantage of this.

    The keyboard layout is logical, but nothing makes me think it's designed for the human hand or with ease of use in mind.

    Best argument in favor of the piano being harder: I can play guitar, I can't play piano for crap...
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 12-23-2016 at 12:37 AM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I think piano is harder. The music that the masters play is just way more complex than can be played on guitar. Mentally much more challenging.

    OK, fine. But this is exactly my point. How many guitar players do you know who can play with anything close to that kind of mastery? I think you're getting the complexity of the music confused with the complexity of learning the instrument. Yes, there was only one Tatum, but you had Phineas Newborn Jr, Oscar Peterson, to name two others who were in the same general orbit.

    Just my opinion. And I agree, the most perfect instrument is the piano. I LOVE piano and piano music and piano players. I've listened to far more pianists than I have guitarists.

  17. #16

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    Let's not forget Bud Powell.

  18. #17
    Most of the arguments for piano being more difficult aren't comparing apples to apples from what I gather.

    Mary had a little lamb for any group of five-year-olds . Teach them on guitar and on piano. Which is going to take longer. Of course, that's completely disregarding the fact that any five-year-old playing any given note on the piano can play with exactly the same tone as the worlds best pianist , at least at a given velocity on the given note. Not true for almost any other instrument.

    Take any group of guitarists and pianist which have each played 10 years or more, now. Give them each repertory worthy of a 10 year classical guitarist and a 10 year classical pianist . The pianists will all be able to play the guitarists music easily. The reverse is simply not true . It's certainly not going to be at same level.

    Horn players use piano to work out complex theory. Guitarists use piano to work out complex theory. Pianists use piano to work out complex theory. This is not by accident, and it's certainly not because piano is harder than other instruments.

    The argument that piano is more difficult because the highest level is playing more difficult music isn't really the correct logic in my opinion. If the ceiling is lower for other instruments, that doesn't mean they're easier to play. The ceiling is lower because they're actually more difficult to play mostly.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 12-22-2016 at 07:16 PM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    Let's not forget Bud Powell.
    Yep. And again, I'm not saying which instrument is better or more elegant or which you can play the most amazing orchestral, stuff, fast with counter-point, etc.. I'm just saying the level of difficulty to play at a mastery level.

  20. #19
    I can ride my horse with more skill than you can ride your cow . Therefore, horses are more difficult to ride than Cows?

  21. #20

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    If you can get to the point of getting cows to do tricks like horses then you can make the point that cows are HARDER to master than horses. It might take you years, and years and years to get cows to do horse tricks. Whereas in a couple of years most horses can do decent riding tricks.

    Guitar is just a bastard. It takes two hands to play one note or up to 6 at a time. It takes timed coordination to get them to do this limited thing.

    Piano uses each finger per note, up to 10 simultaneously. It's made for virtuosity. Guitar is like training a cow.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 12-22-2016 at 08:14 PM.

  22. #21

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    I can play most of the lines I play on guitar at the keyboard easily and I'm no kind of pianist.

    Ergo - guitar is harder, for jazz. And classical too, because music that is beginner stuff for piano is high level for guitar.

    Guitar is easier for other stuff. Rock, folk, blues. That's the home turf.

    In jazz guitar is trying to edge in on other instruments. Best jazz guitarists are those who have discovered how to make the guitar work for them, not against them.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    There is no "harder." It is just as difficult to completely master any instrument as any other. Is Itzhak Perlman better than Glenn Gould? Is Michael Brecker better than Wynton Marsalis? The bar is set in the same place: Within sight but out of reach.

    But there are instruments which are easier to start than others. I can't imagine anything being easier to start than bass guitar. All the spacial relationships translate both across the strings and up the neck, and if you learn four notes you have the entire Chuck Berry repertoire at your fingertips.
    Ah,OK. But you're equating better with harder.I'm not saying which is better.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    There is no "harder." It is just as difficult to completely master any instrument as any other. Is Itzhak Perlman better than Glenn Gould? Is Michael Brecker better than Wynton Marsalis? The bar is set in the same place: Within sight but out of reach.

    But there are instruments which are easier to start than others. I can't imagine anything being easier to start than bass guitar. All the spacial relationships translate both across the strings and up the neck, and if you learn four notes you have the entire Chuck Berry repertoire at your fingertips.
    I agree--I think when you get to the level of extreme virtuosity you are talking about a very select group of people who have committed tens of thousands of hours of preparation on their instrument. One can't say Horowitz was better than Segovia or Heifetz, for instance.

    I also agree with the second part. Personally I think that stringed instruments--standard guitar, bass, uke--have a built-in advantage in that the fingerings when learned are comfortable, natural and repeatable up and down the fretboard. You learn a dozen chords, you can play virtually any folk or rock song out there. 2 dozen, you're into Steely Dan territory.

    I don't see piano chordings or scales as natural, but then I haven't seriously tried to learn the instrument. I've only doodled a bit. My conclusion is that the learning curve from beginner to intermediate is much steeper with keyboards and requires a lot more time. To go from intermediate to expert probably requires a similar commitment among different instruments.

  25. #24

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    Piano may be easier at the very beginning (no problems with sound production vizualization and all) ... especially with kids: just press the button and it sounds...

    But after this beginning level it's the same sh't for every instrument...

    Is Itzhak Perlman better than Glenn Gould?
    Gould is by far on the other level But not beacuse he played piano...

  26. #25

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    The only time I find guitar easier is when the singer asks if we can play her piece a half step up.....

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I think piano is harder. The music that the masters play is just way more complex than can be played on guitar. Mentally much more challenging.



    Ive played classical guitar and piano both at a high level, it's not even close.


    Start here with this seemingly silly thing. The piano does not move. A guitar does. It's much harder to hit a moving target. End here 10 fingers vs 4.


    Ive literally had a professor in music school who played everything (all strings, all brass, etc) say.


    "You play classical guitar? I tried to play that, it's too freaking hard!!!..... and how do you read on that thing anyway?"





    Lastly, how many child virtuoso piano players are there (playing Bach Mozart etc)? Countless
    How many child virtuoso classical guitar players are there? A handful?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove
    Ive played classical guitar and piano both at a high level, it's not even close.


    Start here with this seemingly silly thing. The piano does not move. A guitar does. It's much harder to hit a moving target. End here 10 fingers vs 4.


    Ive literally had a professor in music school who played everything (all strings, all brass, etc) say.


    "You play classical guitar? I tried to play that, it's too freaking hard!!!..... and how do you read on that thing anyway?"





    Lastly, how many child virtuoso piano players are there (playing Bach Mozart etc)? Countless
    How many child virtuoso classical guitar players are there? A handful?
    I have a friend who has perfect pitch, composes music in her head, plays classical piano to a pretty high level, and also guitar and uke, and she says has literally no idea how to go about reading on the thing.

    She plays folk guitar mostly in open position. Nice player in that style - taught me a few things. I think she likes it a little less formal.

    From this, I conclude that 'formal guitar' is very hard when even musicians with much greater natural talent than myself struggle with it.

    (I on the other hand have no shortage of bloody mindedness)

    On the other hand, fingerstyle, alternate tunings, bottleneck, open string bluegrass stuff etc etc... That's what the guitar is FOR really.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-23-2016 at 07:12 AM.

  29. #28

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    Oh - that made me think of something.

    The guitar is very much a 'intervallic instrument'; a relative pitch instrument.

    At least, I feel most jazz guys learn scales and chords this way. Maybe hearing music in absolute pitches (perfect pitch) makes it harder to map music in that way - you know 1 2 3 4 5 etc...

    Another friend (from school) who also has perfect pitch can't deal with alternate tunings.

    So perfect pitch might be a bit of an impediment when it comes to guitar... Is that BS?

    I feel my sheer lack of formal musicianship was quite helpful at the early stages. I think I would have got frustrated with it if I'd already learned piano to a high level, say.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    On the other hand, fingerstyle, alternate tunings, bottleneck, open string bluegrass stuff etc etc... That's what the guitar is FOR really.
    Actually, you're probably right. The Spaniards might disagree though. And the Brazilians probably. But basically yes, it's for accompaniment rather than being a out-in-front instrument. In Bluegrass, of course, it was always for accompaniment until the fancy pickers took it up. Electric amplification helped too, of course, for jazz/rock, etc.

    I was thinking earlier (re. piano/guitar) that there's a difference between the solely physical difficulties of playing and the complexity of the music being played. It's all very well to say that on piano there's only one key per note vs. several different places for one note on guitar but I think that's pretty well a beginners' statement. It doesn't take long to find the note positionings on the neck if one plays from music a lot.

    I'm rather fond of this site:

    jazz2511
    - YouTube


    I don't know who he is - well, I do, he's a retired teacher - but he's a lovely player; it just drifts off his fingers. I suggest this would be very, very difficult on a guitar. All those voicings, multiple chord shiftings, and so on. You'd have to sit down and work it out for ages and then remember it all, etc. He's done a couple of impressive ATTYA reharms too. This level of musical ability doesn't compare with guitar, I don't think. And this isn't even classical music.

    As it's that time of year, try this. Keep watching, it doesn't stay slow for long:

    Last edited by ragman1; 12-23-2016 at 07:47 AM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Actually, you're probably right. The Spaniards might disagree though. And the Brazilians probably. But basically yes, it's for accompaniment rather than being a out-in-front instrument. In Bluegrass, of course, it was always for accompaniment until the fancy pickers took it up. Electric amplification helped too, of course, for jazz/rock, etc.
    Sure I kind of count Flamenco and Brazilian guitar in there. Flamenco harmony, while highly coloured and sophisticated comes out of the instrument. And of course the right hand technique and the rhythm of the playing is uniquely guitaristic, while far from simple to learn.

    BTW if anyone has Flamenco chops and a jazz background, this is a gap in the market. There's a few people doing Flamenco jazz crossover, and finding the right guitarist is real problem - guitar players tend to be either one or the other. Personally, I have no idea how to play Flamenco and I'm not growing the nails ;-)

    Authentic Bossa voicings, while not exactly easy, make the best use of the instrument. It's possible to learn the grips for a Brazilian song without knowing what the harmony is formally, though obviously many formally trained Brazilian guitarists do know that stuff.

    Bossa never sounds right on the piano to me :-) Revenge!

    AFAIK Bluegrass is a modern fusion of swing/jazz and Appalachian music really - the blowing thing comes from jazz... Old time music doesn't have blowing, as you say... It's splitting hairs whether this older mountain music is actually Bluegrass or not - although the term Bluegrass AFAIK is kind of only used to refer to this type of music from the 60s on. Which is funny given how 'traditional' it sounds.

    I was thinking earlier (re. piano/guitar) that there's a difference between the solely physical difficulties of playing and the complexity of the music being played. It's all very well to say that on piano there's only one key per note vs. several different places for one note on guitar but I think that's pretty well a beginners' statement. It doesn't take long to find the note positionings on the neck if one plays from music a lot.

    I'm rather fond of this site:

    jazz2511
    - YouTube




    I don't know who he is - well, I do, he's a retired teacher - but he's a lovely player; it just drifts off his fingers. I suggest this would be very, very difficult on a guitar. All those voicings, multiple chord shiftings, and so on. You'd have to sit down and work it out for ages and then remember it all, etc. He's done a couple of impressive ATTYA reharms too. This level of musical ability doesn't compare with guitar, I don't think. And this isn't even classical music.

    As it's that time of year, try this. Keep watching, it doesn't stay slow for long:

    Indeed.

    I always have to remind myself that however impressive it is to achieve the absolutely massive undertaking of playing jazz guitar harmonically to the level of an average or even mediocre professional jazz pianist, that this achievement would be impressive only to other guitarists.

    When people hire a guitarist, they want guitar. There are plenty of great pianists out there... So what are things that the guitar can do easily that sounds great?

    To my ears these are questions that have been answered in the jazz sphere by, for example, Eddie Lang, Django, Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Wes, Jim Hall, Bill Frisell, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Peter Bernstein, Julian Lage and Lionel Loueke. I find some other players that are highly rated by guitarists are trying for me a little too hard to defeat the instrument. But there are whole bunch of paradoxes.

    Even people like Holdsworth and Jimmy Raney found a very guitaristic way to play un-guitaristic music.

    These players aren't even all my favourites, necessarily, but they all know use the guitar to its best advantage and work with it rather than against it.

    Many times I see great players doing things that I have rejected because I was trained not to do it, or because I somehow decided that it wasn't 'jazz guitar' to do it.

    If you want to play 'lap piano' - great - but it's a path I am keen to avoid, and try and find an area where the guitar can do its thing.

    Here's an exercise for everyone, make a list of what piano or sax does really well and then make a list of what guitar does really well (I mean basic resources - not necessarily 'Freebird' ;-)). Might be interesting for suggesting new directions creatively.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-23-2016 at 08:23 AM.

  32. #31

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    trying... a little too hard to defeat the instrument
    :-)

  33. #32

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    to me there are few really independent (or authentic guitar roles):
    - folk guitar (Spanish, Brazilian, Gypsy etc. and to certain degree blues and American folk) - strictly connected with language and tradition of folk music
    - jazz guitar - very specific type of guitar and playing technique
    - rock/pop/modern urban Euro-American folk etc.

    Classical guitar still seems to me kind of Andres Segovia's own world... not that he was the only gifted player... there are lots of talanted players... but that everything after him (including even Julian Bream or Oscar Ghiglia - unbelieveable player, rare musician indeed!) seems to me like a part of the world he arranged around himself, his ideas, his understanding of what instrument is, how to treat in the repertoire etc.


    So tome it is difficult to compare classical guitar to classical piano... the technical skills of modern concert pianist are coming to unreachable...

    The things is that romantic piano composers were often vituos players - much interested in development of the instrument (which was not really common in earlier period)... music or Bach or Mozart, even Beethoven was technically much in the limits of average player.
    Later Chopin, Liszt, Rakhmaninov - who had really unique abilities as players - raised this limit extremely high...
    The way they played was not normal, it was exceptional... but now it is considered to be obligatory for a player to be able to play their music.

    Modern pianist has to able to play in various technical and musical styles - from early periods to modern compositions...
    To be in demand he has to have ready (and mostly play from memory) huge quantity of repertoire big form pieces (like piano concertos, sonatas etc.

  34. #33

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    The guitar covers 3 octaves played with 4 fingers (and maybe a thumb). The piano covers 7 octaves played with 10 fingers (including thumbs).

    You can figure it out :-)

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    to me there are few really independent (or authentic guitar roles):
    - folk guitar (Spanish, Brazilian, Gypsy etc. and to certain degree blues and American folk) - strictly connected with language and tradition of folk music
    - jazz guitar - very specific type of guitar and playing technique
    - rock/pop/modern urban Euro-American folk etc.

    Classical guitar still seems to me kind of Andres Segovia's own world... not that he was the only gifted player... there are lots of talanted players... but that everything after him (including even Julian Bream or Oscar Ghiglia - unbelieveable player, rare musician indeed!) seems to me like a part of the world he arranged around himself, his ideas, his understanding of what instrument is, how to treat in the repertoire etc.


    So tome it is difficult to compare classical guitar to classical piano... the technical skills of modern concert pianist are coming to unreachable...

    The things is that romantic piano composers were often vituos players - much interested in development of the instrument (which was not really common in earlier period)... music or Bach or Mozart, even Beethoven was technically much in the limits of average player.
    Later Chopin, Liszt, Rakhmaninov - who had really unique abilities as players - raised this limit extremely high...
    The way they played was not normal, it was exceptional... but now it is considered to be obligatory for a player to be able to play their music.

    Modern pianist has to able to play in various technical and musical styles - from early periods to modern compositions...
    To be in demand he has to have ready (and mostly play from memory) huge quantity of repertoire big form pieces (like piano concertos, sonatas etc.
    Indeed. The piano is such a central force in Western music.

    Classical guitar has the Spanish stuff (beautiful but lightweight compared to say, Beethoven), transcriptions of lute music (that many would rather hear on lute), transcriptions of music written for other instruments, such Bach solo string stuff (that's definitely better on the original instrument), and a small but interesting core of 20th century repertoire.

    Where it gets interesting is the Latin American thing coming in Barrios, Villa Lobos, Brouwer, etc.

    As for Bream's tireless campaigning for a concert repertoire by notable composers of the day? I think Britten said Nocturnal was the last time he ever wanted to go near the guitar. I think it gave him an absolute headache writing for it. (And this is the man that read a harp manual cover to cover and then composed the Ceremony of Carols haha.)

    Then you have Takemitsu. He seems to have had a real affinity for the guitar.

  36. #35

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    [QUOTE=christianm77;723259]
    AFAIK Bluegrass is a modern fusion of swing/jazz and Appalachian music really - the blowing thing comes from jazz... Old time music doesn't have blowing, as you say... It's splitting hairs whether this older mountain music is actually Bluegrass or not - although the term Bluegrass AFAIK is kind of only used to refer to this type of music from the 60s on. Which is funny given how 'traditional' it sounds.

    Well I think Bill Monroe is considered the father of bluegrass, and he was around back in the 40's, I'm pretty sure. But you're right, the whole style is not as venerable as a lot of people think.

    Monroe started out with a conventional banjo player, and then he heard Earl Scruggs (who pioneered a new style, 3-finger, I guess it is...Scruggs is the Bird of banjo---pretty much everyone since, plays like him, or has to confront his legacy), and supposedly said something like, "Get that guy Scruggs to play banjo for me...I don't care what it takes...just get him."

    Randy Scruggs is Earl Scruggs' grandson, I believe, and he is a really, really good musician---like a lot of "Nashville cats", he plays a whole bunch of instruments. Pretty sure, he was in a band called "BR 549" for a while. (Great band, and a takeoff on a Hee-Haw skit.)

    There is a whole generation of "New-grass players" from the 60's onward, who have pushed the bounds of traditional bluegrass, both in the types of music played, and also in terms of sheer virtuosity.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 12-23-2016 at 09:38 AM.

  37. #36

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    I remember being a kid about 10 in classical guitar school I had a dialoque with my teacher:
    - I want to try to play Chaconne (Bach ofcourse)
    - Hm...
    - Well... I still want to give it a try...
    - Hm...
    - Well... why not?
    - You know... when I had entering exams at the Conservatory my friend played it...
    - And?
    - Hm...
    - What?!
    - He did not pass... let's try this nice little Cowboy Waltz... and Chaconne you can try at home like sight-reading if you want...

    (By the way he was accoplished pianist, played complete Rakhmanonov 3rd concerto, many Beethoven's sonatas from memory)

  38. #37

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    Oh, do I envy the piano players. I play guitar for hours every day, and I've done it for years. I never learned piano, and I rarely ever play on one...but I still find it so easy to grasp, and I have no problem laying down harmonies, playing melodies and improvise on one. I never practiced it, but can almost instantly sit down and focus on the musical aspect.

    Low-high is left-right. Chords are made from the scales you know, and easily moveable. The scale shapes never change - shifting into another scale is easily done wherever you are. The octaves are identical, you only have 12 keys to memorize. You press a dedicated key with one finger to make sound.

    On this friggin guitar you have to play in all directions. Chords (and scales) are a mess of crossing fingers and completely dependant on where you come from/are and where you want to go. There are 72 different fret spots to memorize (being nice and only considering up to the 12th fret) and distances shift with neck position. Both hands must be synchronised to make sound - with millimeter precision.

    So, at least considering high level of improvisational skills, I'd say the piano is a piece of cake compared to the guitar And to me it also manifests itself in the ratio of musical (and technical) improvisational skills in musicians on the respective instruments.

  39. #38

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    Classical guitar has the Spanish stuff (beautiful but lightweight compared to say, Beethoven), transcriptions of lute music (that many would rather hear on lute), transcriptions of music written for other instruments, such Bach solo string stuff (that's definitely better on the original instrument), and a small but interesting core of 20th century repertoire.

    Where it gets interesting is the Latin American thing coming in Barrios, Villa Lobos, Brouwer, etc.
    I would add also Romantic period repertoire.. but it is in a great deal salon music... theough tere were really gifted composers like Sor.


    By the way my friend wrote a few pieves for guitar solo and ensemble... initially he did not want to do it.. but the guitarist was so much excited bu his other music and participated so much taht finally they recorde a whole disc


  40. #39

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    Also, here's the REALLY big thing for me when it comes to jazz: the average jazz pianist swings more than the average jazz guitar player. The average guitar player rushes.

    I kind of feel one of the reasons is much of the time the guitar is playing half digested stuff that is easier on other instruments - struggling to make changes etc. It might also have to do with the physical nature of the instrument.

    Another problem being that when it comes to right hand technique we basically have two options, neither of them perfectly good:

    1) use a technique with a natural relationship to timing, but one that's hard to do for many figures, and can lack a bit in the legato area - traditional alternate flatpicking.

    2) use a technique with a natural flow which makes many typical bop lines much easier as well providing a bit more legato, but has a massive tendency to rush. Economy picking, gypsy picking etc.

    Now neither of these problems are insurmountable, but on the piano, you just put the finger down and - bang - there's your note. Your timing problems are not going to come from your technique so much, I think.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-23-2016 at 10:02 AM.

  41. #40

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    I would say guitar. The piano seems built to accommodate virtuosity, the guitar, to humble it.

  42. #41

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    Now the saxophone, that's an easy instrument. You just blow and push buttons. A glorified kazoo or melodica.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    Now the saxophone, that's an easy instrument. You just blow and push buttons. A glorified kazoo or melodica.
    A bit harder to give it depth and feeling. Unless you were just jesting, of course :-)

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Piano has 12 keys that are exactly the same pattern - one octave all up and down the keyboard. Pretty easy to get your head around.

    Middle C is always, as are all notes, in the same exact location.

    Guitar each note has so many different locations it can make your head spin. Playing a C scale in the same octave, you can not only have various fingerings, but play them in 3 or more entirely different locations.

    Chords are a separate entity, as most guitar players play them, that are almost seemingly not related to the scale at all. Not so with piano. Scales and chords are one entity.
    Yeah, but a guitar is MUCH easier to play in different keys. Playing a C scale and a Db scale uses the exact same fingering on a guitar. Transposing on guitar is trivial, not so on a piano.

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by zdub
    Yeah, but a guitar is MUCH easier to play in different keys. Playing a C scale and a Db scale uses the exact same fingering on a guitar. Transposing on guitar is trivial, not so on a piano.
    In my mind, this is the one advantage for ease of play up the neck, but it's more than proportionally offset IMO by the severe related DISADVANTAGE: the complete physical/kinesthetic disconnect with absolute pitch, up the neck. The fact still remains that most other instrumentalists aren't really behind guitarists very much in this skill either.

  46. #45

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    Just jesting, in part. (many a truth is spoken in jest). I used to play alto and was good but not great. I became passable almost overnight. And I was no prodigy on the guitar. I've played for close to 60 years and it's always felt like a serious work in progress. So the sax is relatively easy, kind of like singing. Easy to do badly. It's as hard or harder than anything to give it depth and feeling. That's the challenge. And to have facility in all 12 keys. That's not so easy. And it's of interest that the the bigger horns like the tenor and bari are easier in some ways than the alto and soprano. Some of your best sax players started on clarinet. It develops a better embouchure.

  47. #46

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    As someone has said, "learning to play the piano is learning to play the piano". Regardless of style of music played. The technique is standardized.

    Guitar? Someone who is learning to play flamenco on a Spanish guitar has a completely different training regimen and technical requirements than someone playing country and western on an American steel string guitar. Learning to play the guitar is often genre-specific.

    Also: the popularity of the guitar is that it is one of the easiest instruments to pickup and play music on, in a rudimentary and elemental way (hence the term "cowboy chords")....but it is one of the most DIFFICULT instruments to master. Functional fingerboard competence alone is a multi-year process.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdub
    Yeah, but a guitar is MUCH easier to play in different keys. Playing a C scale and a Db scale uses the exact same fingering on a guitar. Transposing on guitar is trivial, not so on a piano.
    Not if you want to 'do it properly' in the sense that a great fingering for g major might sound not so great for d major.... but yes there are definite advantages with chromatic stuff where the intervals stay the same.

    Using open strings complicates things too... but that's one of the guitars most beautiful natural resources.

  49. #48

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    I think we can all agree the piano sounds like shit through a Marshall though...

  50. #49

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    I have been learning flute, piano, guitar, saxophone for years. I can definately say that guitar is the hardest amongst all. On the piano You can "see" if You know what I mean. On the guitar it takes +++ years to see the freatboard just like pianists can see their instrument.
    I remember well that after 2 years of learning the flute my teacher put a quite hard unknown (it was unknown for me) sheet music on the stand before me, and I had no problem to read it and play it in tempo immediately. I've been learning the guitar for 20 years now, still cant read the sheet music fluidly not to mention reading the chords...

    MrBlues

  51. #50

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    The flute is just one line. Can you sight-read piano music? And to what level?

    And when you say guitar is hardest, do you mean for everybody or for you? Some people (like me!) find piano impossible but guitar much easier.
    Last edited by ragman1; 12-23-2016 at 03:41 PM.