Paganini and Style
I have been working for some time on a practice method for the Paganini caprices and came across some interesting information concerning the 21st caprice. It is well documented that Paganini would use a single finger many times in succession. ( Francois Fetis wrote (Paganini) will at times, employ one finger instead of another, but more often he uses one and the same finger for several notes.)
In 1830 Carl Guhr, a contemporary of Paganini published a book, Über Paganinis Kunst die Violine zu spielen. In the forward he writes in the English translation, "For a long time I was so fortunate as to hear this great master constantly, and to converse with him on his manner of playing."
In a musical example in the book he uses the opening of Caprice 21 which is an amoroso melody in 6ths. The fingering in the example is third and second finger throughout. When the same melody appears up an octave first and second fingers are used throughout. This is contrary to any modern edition of the work, and this reinforces the cantabile style in the piece.
Very Interesting, Mr. Berg. Thank you for posting this. I think the reason using the same finger pattern reinforces the cantabile style is because instead of thinking about a different finger pattern, the violinist can focus more on matching the style of the higher octave to that of the lower octave. I wonder why the modern editions would not keep that fingering. Was it Paganini's original fingering or was it Guhr's fingering?
We do not have to my knowledge any evidence of Paganini's fingerings in most of his works. However, Guhr was contemporary and wrote "For a long time I was so fortunate as to hear this great master constantly, and to converse with him on his manner of playing." So this is on good authority.
We have Waltz as fingered by Paganini for Sivort's benefit (I have the fingerings wriiten out, can provide if wanted). :)
I see about the fingerings. Would you be willing to share your Paganini practice method when your work is complete?
Bruce - I am only aware of David (1854) and Reuter (1924), that somewhat consistantly uses 2-3 throughout. Do you know if there are any other editions?
To mention Ricci once again !!! He also talks of the way Paganini played and has examples of fingering. (Ricci on Glissando) He mentions also about scales with one finger, and shifts using the same finger, and creeping about the fingerboard for safety reasons. (i.e. Avoiding Trombone like
@Peter: We now have a 'delete post' button. :)
Peter, your original Trombone comment regarding Trombone defecation was hilarious! It just fits some trombone players I've known.
Bruce and Helen, I also recommend the book, Ricci on Glissando for insight into Paganini's technique, a totally different style from today's.
@A.O. Thanks - I have now deleted.
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