Add new comment

The points made in this comment are fair, but really this was not what we were trying to talk about in the article. More or less by definition, a virtuoso performer on any musical instrument is doing things at the limit of human abilities. Most players can't match the experts, so in that sense every instrument is "hard to play". We were trying to make a different point relating to the underlying physics. A complete beginner can pluck an open guitar string or bow an open violin string. The guitar string can be more or less guaranteed to make a musical note with the expected pitch, but the violin string may produce a horrible squawk: the physics of bowing allows a wider range of possible responses than a plucked string. The player has to learn to control these, in a way that has no direct analogue with controlling a single note on a plucked string.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.

  • What do chocolate and mayonnaise have in common? It's maths! Find out how in this podcast featuring engineer Valerie Pinfield.

  • Is it possible to write unique music with the limited quantity of notes and chords available? We ask musician Oli Freke!

  • How can maths help to understand the Southern Ocean, a vital component of the Earth's climate system?

  • Was the mathematical modelling projecting the course of the pandemic too pessimistic, or were the projections justified? Matt Keeling tells our colleagues from SBIDER about the COVID models that fed into public policy.

  • PhD student Daniel Kreuter tells us about his work on the BloodCounts! project, which uses maths to make optimal use of the billions of blood tests performed every year around the globe.