This Video of Bernstein Scolding Two Percussionists Proves Playing Triangle is Harder Than You Think

By Stephen Raskauskas |

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Triangle photo: Hannes Grobe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons, background added by WFMT

Have you ever watched an orchestra play a piece in which the percussionists might only be called upon to play the occasional few measures on the kettle drum, or perhaps to add color here and there a little triangle? Maybe you say to yourself, “Looks pretty easy to me!”

Well playing percussion is a lot harder than you might think. Unlike say, a violinist, who is responsible for playing one instrument, a percussionist must play dozens, if not hundreds, of different instruments.

In one rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet, the esteemed Leonard Bernstein lost his patience when two percussionists just aren’t shaping up the way he wants them to on the triangle. The video below proves playing the triangle isn’t so easy.