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Ryan Vaughn

The whole third variation

April 28, 2011 at 6:34 PM

After posting the theme about a week ago, I've only posted things like scales and the Kreutzer etude, so today I wanted to post a portion of the caprice.  I thought about trying to get variation 2 up to tempo, but I was a little too afraid of the grace notes, so I passed.  But variation 3, what's so hard about a few octaves?

Here's where we get into a plus of having this blog.  Besides the first passage, which I posted about a month ago, I hadn't played any of this variation before.  Danielle played the whole thing, so I knew what it sounded like, but not where the fingers went, what notes there were, etc.  Now, I take forever to learn anything new on my own because I'm really slow at reading music.  I can do it, but I have to figure it out note by note and then figure out which finger needs to go where on the fingerboard.  Then I have to worry about the rhythm, which I usually end up messing up anyway.  How is this a plus for the blog?  The blog literally forced me to learn this so I could play it and post it--something I spent about four hours on today (although I didn't practice thirds - don't tell Danielle).  Without the pressure of posting, I probably wouldn't put myself through this torment.

And octaves really make my pinkie hurt.

In this variation, every note is a double stop, so playing it involves shifting the first and fourth fingers up and down the G and D strings.  I tackled this in two ways.  First, I practiced playing octaves in general.  Here, the octave scales helped and some Sevcik exercises helped as well.  Second, I learned the notes of the variation with the first finger shifting along the G string only.  Here's the first finger only starting at that high A:


Once I had the notes relatively in tune and the rhythm not horrible, then I added in the fourth finger and played the double stops:

 Again, like everything I've put on here, it's not perfect but I'm fairly proud of that four hours.  It takes a little too long to find that high A (I think it's closer to a G#), the rhythm isn't perfect, and the octaves themselves at times are not quite full octaves (more like a 7th, if such a thing exists) but I'm happy with it.

The next step was to play it with vibrato, which I did next:


Not bad, huh?

Read the whole story at

From Eloise Garland
Posted on April 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

 Hi, this is the first time I've commented on any of your blogs here, although I have been watching closely! Your progress, quite frankly, is astonishing! So what if people say you won't have the grounding of a 'proper' violinist, or that you'll end up being injured etc.?  This, to me, seems like an experiment worth doing. I'd love to see how far you get in terms of this, and can't wait to hear the full thing at the end of the one year! Also, the vibrato is coming on well, LOL! :) 

From Ryan Vaughn
Posted on May 3, 2011 at 4:59 AM

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Eloise.  Hopefully, it is an experiment worth doing; I believe that anything is possible if the desire is there.  Now, if I could only make my math students have the desire to pass my class! 

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