I'm a composer. What instrument(s) would it be easiest to play parts like this on? Thinking along the lines of unpitched percussion, but I'm open to anything. For example: enter image description here

  • 2
    Easier question to answer is which instruments can't do that.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 18:44
  • @tim With more than 13 notes/attacks per second I assume you are joking.
    – guidot
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:50
  • @guidot - now, you'll never know!
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:52

3 Answers 3


I would say many woodwinds, brass, and strings (violin etc). This is a matter of body control more so than a limitation of the instrument. One example of an instrument that might not be able to play it is a harpsichord. I don't think a guitar would provide that much versatility that you could accent, hold for full count at different subdivisions at that speed. You are not looking at dynamics only but also sustain and at that speed most guitarists would get the accent okay but everything would be staccato. My bet would be with a clarinet.

  • Quadruple tonguing, anyone?
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:53
  • Practice makes perfect.
    – user50691
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:54
  • I'd love to find out who coined that phrase - 'cos strictly speaking it's not true! If you practise something badly, though, I suppose it would turn out perfectly bad..?
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:57
  • How about, perfect practice improves technique and dexterity.
    – user50691
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 15:04
  • Getting there!!
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 15:13

probably guitar, with the versatility of the picking techniques on hand, a wide range of dynamics come up


You know how fast 16th notes are at 200 bpm, right? They’re pretty much a blur. I would say medium to high pitched stick percussion like a snare drum is your best bet. Forget the tenuto markings, they have no effect on most percussion instruments.

  • "The tenuto articulation is often used to indicate a slight raise in dynamic, less than a normal accent." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percussion_notation
    – Eriek
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 20:46
  • I stand corrected, in that case leave them in. But at that velocity how much articulation can you expect to get out of a musician? Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 21:08
  • @JohnBelzaguy - Likely a substantial amount, given that I've seen drum cadence scores with similar attention to accent detail and really fast notes (e.g. 16th-note sextuplets).
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 11:42
  • @Dekkadeci At 200bpm? I tip my hat to them, and I’m not being facetious! Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 16:30
  • @JohnBelzaguy - The few performances of drum cadences I've viewed on YouTube look spectacular.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 11:01

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