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 Post subject: Which is harder?
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:01 am 
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Is it harder in your opinion to play runs on woodwinds (because there are so many weird finger combinations) or brass (because there are so few valves to work with)?

Share your opinions, and please give me reasoning behind your answer!


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 10:12 am 
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brass, since embouchure is responsible to delineate notes; i.e. each valve position [or slide position for bone players] has x-number of notes based on overtone series. woodwinds have keys for every note and embouchure is relatively stable compared to brass brethren who have to alter their embouchures to get the different notes.

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 2:00 pm 
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i just picked up trombone a year ago
i've been playing clarinet and sax for a long time now

i don't care what anyone says, brass and woodwinds are both equally hard in different ways for me.

i struggle as much on clarinet (7 years) as I do on trombone, on different things.

sure partials make it hard, but there are things about woodwinds that are no easy feat

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:32 pm 
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Boninetax wrote:
i just picked up trombone a year ago
i've been playing clarinet and sax for a long time now

i don't care what anyone says, brass and woodwinds are both equally hard in different ways for me.

i struggle as much on clarinet (7 years) as I do on trombone, on different things.

sure partials make it hard, but there are things about woodwinds that are no easy feat


yup i'll have to agree with that, i've picked up a baritone last semester after playing the sax for quite a while and man, it can get frustrating at times to hit the correct pitch. For sax you can use the same amount of air and reach most of the notes on a given scale but brass instruments are so much more intense, yet so much more fulfilling.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:16 pm 
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No easy answer to that question. The key, accidentals, skips vs steps, changes in range (going across the break on clarinet for instance) all play a hand. Some things "lay well" under the fingers. Henry Fillmore was great about writing clarinet parts that lay well.

I would say in a VERY general sense that runs are easier, in the majortity of cases for woodwinds. How's that for diplomatic? But if you ever want to argue the point, dig up a recording of a British brass band playing a transcription from the orchestra repertoire.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 5:18 am 
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All instruments are equally difficult to play WELL. No wind instrument is built in tune with itself. All players have to make embouchure adjustments to play in tune.

I believe there are instruments that are easier to start on, however. My beginning sax players have an easier time getting a first sound than everyone else.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:00 pm 
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I believe it is harder for brass players to play runs.

It is a lot easier to hit a wrong note on a brass instrument because valve combinations( slide positions ) have more then one note(s) that are playable with that combination( position ).

Even though it is still difficult for woodwinds because of the amount of keys they have.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:54 pm 
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Well I've played everything from bassoon to tuba and the woodwinds were harder for me to learn. Now before I get flamed from the brass let me explain...

The fingerings on woodwinds are much trickier to learn. The bassoon has 12 thumb keys alone! The fingerings are typically different between octaves, and each note has a slightly different embouchure.

For brass, once you learn the basic valve combinations the rest is easy...if you have a good ear. I was able to pick up tuba over a weekend and play fluently enough to get though all of our pep music and field show. The valve combinations are essentially the same between octaves and even instruments (especially same clefed instruments). Furthermore, once you learn how valve combinations correspond to slide positions you can play trombone.

Now, after saying all that...I will say that trumpet and horn are hard to learn. The partials are so close together that your embouchure must be dead on every time.

Bottom line...fingerings are evil for woodwinds and partials are evil for brass.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:00 pm 
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bassoonuba wrote:
Well I've played everything from bassoon to tuba and the woodwinds were harder for me to learn. Now before I get flamed from the brass let me explain...

The fingerings on woodwinds are much trickier to learn. The bassoon has 12 thumb keys alone! The fingerings are typically different between octaves, and each note has a slightly different embouchure.

For brass, once you learn the basic valve combinations the rest is easy...if you have a good ear. I was able to pick up tuba over a weekend and play fluently enough to get though all of our pep music and field show. The valve combinations are essentially the same between octaves and even instruments (especially same clefed instruments). Furthermore, once you learn how valve combinations correspond to slide positions you can play trombone.

Now, after saying all that...I will say that trumpet and horn are hard to learn. The partials are so close together that your embouchure must be dead on every time.

Bottom line...fingerings are evil for woodwinds and partials are evil for brass.




You make a very good point.

You have also reminded me,... RUNS ARE RIDICULOUSLY HARD ON FRENCH HORN!

But they are still hard on woodwinds.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:49 pm 
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I really think it depends. Like bassoonuba said earlier, the bassoon has much harder fingerings than other woodwinds. Also, like someone else said earlier, a clarinet player may have difficulty playing over the break.

While none of this is an excuse for poor playing, I think all instruments are equally difficult. There is always something you can make better. While runs might sound better on a woodwind, there may be minute details that are off.

That's what I think, anyways.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:21 am 
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i say woodwinds cuz i don't know how. :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:55 pm 
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That Guy wrote:
You make a very good point.

You have also reminded me,... RUNS ARE RIDICULOUSLY HARD ON FRENCH HORN!

Indeed. The French Horn is not a particularly agile instrument. Nor is the trombone, though a quality player can handle runs on it well enough. The trumpets, euphonium, and tuba (yes, tuba) are all extremely agile instruments and best suited for handling brass runs.

Woodwinds are normally pretty adept at handling runs, but like PGOK said, the "lay" of the notes is important. And, just personal perception here, but it seems to me that the double-reeds (oboe, english horn, bassoon) aren't as good on fast runs as the flutes and single-reeds.

Strings can tear up a run if it's written correctly, but the strings' aren't particularly well-suited for chromatic runs, which are much better written for the winds.

Another thing to consider is phrasing and articulation. Woodwinds handle slurred runs better, brass handles detached (staccato or accented) runs better. Again, in general.

Just my opinion as a brass player and composer. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:16 pm 
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I would have to say that it really depends on the player. If they are a good player they will handle runs much easier on thier instrument. I will make the arguement however that trombones and french horns have it the hardest. Once you have them down though you can play runs. The trombone because of the positions and if you are off the position by just a half inch you sound off. I can only say french horn because of what my brother told me when he played it.

As i said earlier, "It depend on the player."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:06 pm 
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all i can say is try bassoon!! ha ha flick keys need to die!!!! and contra isint any easier! not that theres any runs for contra bassoon that i know of!! but as long as you love what u play and u can play the runs who cares which instrument its harder on!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:11 pm 
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JazzGeek wrote:
brass, since embouchure is responsible to delineate notes; i.e. each valve position [or slide position for bone players] has x-number of notes based on overtone series. woodwinds have keys for every note and embouchure is relatively stable compared to brass brethren who have to alter their embouchures to get the different notes.



from what i know from teachers i have taken lessons from is you have such control with just your embuchure on contra bassoon that its basically like a brass instrument with what notes u can raise or lower. its basically crazy!! ha ha


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