3 Pieces of Music Classical Musicians Hate to Play

July 10, 2015

There are certain aspects of life that really begin to grate on you after a while. The damned self-service checkout not believing that the item you literally just placed onto it is there; being ID’d on the one day you’ve left your driving licence at home (to make matters worse, the red wine is only going to be used in the sauce) and of course, no matter what you do, you will almost always arrive at the station platform to see your train just chugging along into the distance. Sigh.

But what about musicians? They must have their own personal frustrations, right? Yes, in this blog we spare a thought for the tuba players, the cellists and anyone involved in banging a snare drum in the percussion ensemble.

Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Oh yes, everyone’s favourite piece of classical music by the ultimate one hit wonder. Who on earth would hate playing that? The answer of course is the cellists who are tortured throughout the entire piece with only playing eight quarter notes over and over again - D, A, B, F#, G, D, G, A. Do you think you could play those five notes on a cello? Congratulations! You can play your part in a rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon. Unfortunately for you, you will need to play them over and over and over again. Fifty-four times to be precise. Think about that when you hire a full orchestra for your wedding. Those poor, poor cellists. Our advice is to do your best to try and avoid eye contact as you walk down the aisle.

Holst’s Mars

Mars? Who on earth would hate playing Mars? This is a fair question because so far as we could ascertain in researching for this blog, tuba players are divided on whether they appreciate this particular piece of sheet music. Problems stem from the difficulty in working with the 5/4 time signature, the first Octave G leaps which come in so early on that you’re essentially doing them without a warm-up and for some poor souls, having to march along as they play. Phew! Still, it’s a lovely piece of music, eh?

Ravel’s Bolero

A fifteen minute epic that all in the UK associate with Torvill and Dean, this stirring piece of music builds and builds to a barnstorming crescendo that is hard to dislike. Unless of course you’re tasked with playing the snare drum in a live performance. It’s hard to quite do justice to how dull and tiring this must be, but the above video hopefully shows the monotony that the poor percussionist is going through. Tap, tap, tap... And so on and so forth at the exact same tempo, occasionally increasing your force until finally the piece comes to an end, 4050 beats later. So nice that someone actually counted. Marvellous.  

As for other pieces of music that musicians aren't too keen to play... Sibelius' 6th symphony on trombone (Sibelius' 7th makes up for a career of providing boredom for trombone players), anything by Sousa as a horn player and of course any typical waltz for a violinist (chun chun--chun chun--chun chun...) Maybe it's better to simply listen instead?



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By Henry Fosdike