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Is violin harder than cello?

This article provides some information on the relative abilities of the two different playing instruments in the United States. The article shows that the relative difficulty levels of both music fields, based upon the mean score from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam for the fourth grade, for the last 5 years, have been very nearly the same across the states.

Source: Author analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data collected for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for Grades 3, 5 and 6 (NAEP-4) (1999 and 2005 NAEP tables 8 and 9).

The relative ease that musicians can use their instrument and perform on a high level, compared to the way that cellists use their instrument, may be related to the fact that a higher proportion of violinists use cello or violin as their instrument. However, some cellists also use a variety of instruments including drums, saxophone, clarinet, bass violin, viola, and ukulele and are found in all states with the exception of California and Louisiana. Because these musical instruments can be quite different in shape, sizes, and weight, the comparison is more difficult as a representative sample size of instrument types used is not large enough to have a statistically significant impact.
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There is increasing information on the relative difficulty of violin and cello players that will be discussed, but there are also some key points to realize while reviewing this article. Overall, it is unlikely that a large number of students are playing violin or cello at the level of their respective playing fields as compared to the levels that the students at the high school, college, or university level can play. Additionally, the relative difficulty levels of each of the professional sports is generally lower than in other areas within the United States. Overall, the differences between the musical fields have been increasing over time although not as rapidly.

Summary of Relative Ability Among Musical Fields

It should be noted that this analysis cannot tell us the exact nature of the differences or the reasons why these differences exist between the violinists and the cellists. There is an overall tendency to compare violinists to their cellist peers, however, there are a number of other factors that have yet to be explored. The greatest differences that have been identified were with the relative ability compared to the cellist to use their instrument and their relative skill at performing a task. The fact that a higher percentage of violinists use cellos versus cellos as their instrument also has to be considered. This