Playing Paganini

February 13, 2007 at 09:41 PM · Last year I visited a community orchestra (performed a concert with them). I overheard one of the first-violin players informing another violinist that she was a pro musician. I'm not exactly sure what she meant except that she was payed for her playing, but I think she wanted to impress the other player. Anyway, the same woman saw a picture in my case of me and four other violinists playing Paganini's Moto Perpetuo. She asked what we were playing in the picture and I told her it was a performance of the Moto Perpetuo. She asked for clarification, and when I confirmed that it was in fact Moto Perpetuo by Paganini, she informed me that she had never heard a recording or even heard of such a work, and then said that she avoids playing Paganini. (I even said Perpetuum Mobile because that's what some people call it.)

Now, you can perhaps imagine my shock at a professional saying this (I thought she'd have at least heard it on a CD or somehting), but at the same time it got me thinking. Later my teacher told me that this peice is considered very difficult and many violinists don't play it. My response was: WHY???

I've been thinking about Paganini in general. He's extremely difficult to play (His first concerto was a killer for me even though I learned a lot) but isn't there something to gain by playing challenging and difficult music? Is it professional to avoid a composer like Paganin? Or do some people just think it's not necessary to go through the pain? I've heard other 'professionals' say the same kind of thing, only about other composers. I'd welcome any thoughts you have on the matter. Maybe my view of a what a well-rounded musician, professional or not, ought to be isn't accurate? I confess I'm still relatively inexperienced compared to some of you. So fire away =)

Replies (65)

February 13, 2007 at 09:55 PM · The paganini moto perpetuo isn't too difficult. I think people stay away from Paganini is because there's so much there techniquewise. There are many stretches that, if done wrong, can cause damage to the hands.

Then again, there's much in the Paganini Caprices that can be used for etudes once a person reaches a moderate level of playing. It just needs to be done slow and deliberate (number 5 comes to mind).

I've always loved Paganini, but I didn't study any of his works until I was in grad school.

February 13, 2007 at 10:49 PM · Greetings,

frankly, if she had never heard of the Moto Perpetuo I wouldn`t take her that seriously. It does seme to be the cas ethat whensome people say `Oh I don`t play this compose ror that composer` as though they are not worthy of their efforts then that usually means they are not good enough. You don`t have to like Paginini or other music of that peculiar 19th c vituouso genre but one is a pretty poor violinst not at least to have explored it. Finding out what caprices one can and can@t play is part and parcle of being a profesisonal violinst to me;)

You`ve platyed Pagini one> What did you think about thta? What did you learn that is importnat to you?



February 13, 2007 at 11:27 PM · HAHA, people are hilarious! Professional! And don't stay away from Paganini (Caprices), it takes patience and time, but it's totally doable.


February 14, 2007 at 12:04 AM · I'm definitely not a professional, although I have very occasionally been paid to play at weddings and such. And I've heard of, and heard, Moto Perpetuo, but honestly, I just don't like it. I find it boring to listen to. In general, Paganini's music doesn't do much for me. I've never admitted that in public before.

I suppose it's possible I could change my mind, but with so much other great music out there that I do enjoy listening to, there hasn't seemed to be much point in trying. Life is short. I haven't read all the works of Shakespeare yet either.

But I'd never presume to tell anyone else what they should or shouldn't play, or should or shouldn't like. And I do feel as if that's a real benefit to being an amateur: being allowed to have your own opinions, even about icons.

February 14, 2007 at 01:03 AM · I think it is "unprofessional," as a violinist, to avoid Paganini. It is music that offers a lot especially if you try to play it with opera and musicality in mind, not just technical showmanship. In my opinion, every professional violinist should play some Paganini. It doesn't mean everyone has to like it, but I honestly think violinists should play it.

February 14, 2007 at 02:01 AM · Paganini, like Mozart, is a rite of passage for all violinists. Enough said. (but unlike Mozart, it is one that I have yet to seriously undertake...)

February 14, 2007 at 02:21 AM · Whenever I slog through a caprice for about a week or so, my playing definately becomes easier. Paganini is a facilitator, don't be fearful of it taking a little longer than you'd want.

February 14, 2007 at 02:35 AM · lauren, perlman played that piece in a recording, not sure if you have heard it yet. to play like that, or within a half mile radius, is challenging.

even at slower pace, it is one of the best and fun left and right hand exercises out there, imo.

February 14, 2007 at 02:35 AM · Well, as a budding pro (strange term...) I don't exactly see Paganini as being integral to my future, and I can't say that I'm all that broken up about it!

Frankly, I think it's more important to have the ability to play Paganini than to actually play it.

February 14, 2007 at 02:40 AM · (double post)

February 14, 2007 at 04:09 AM · It's considered par for the course for concert pianists to specialise in small niches of the vast repertoire, so in a way it's unfair that classical violinists are generally expected to be such all-rounders. I don't enjoy playing Paganini beyond a few of the wittier Caprices, but that's just a matter of taste, I go for more delicate and subtle stuff these days, no longer being a hot-blooded teenager eager to build the biggest possibile left-hand muscle...

Having said that, I don't think you could even make it to advanced student level without even hearing of the Moto Perpetuo, unless you had teachers who were intent on keeping it away from you! And being able to play Paganini certainly gives you huge advantages. Everyone who wants to master the violin should pay it some attention, but there should be no need to prove anything by playing it in public beyond a certain level.

February 14, 2007 at 04:36 AM · Greetings,

for me the moto perpetuo is like the viola player who proudly told me he had mastered spicatto. He assured me after a quick demonstration that in a few weeks he was going to try it on two notes,



February 14, 2007 at 04:58 AM · Buri - only you could give a viola joke that I HAVEN'T heard before! LOL! My spicatto however is quite mastered now at three notes :)

February 14, 2007 at 06:31 AM · The Moto Perpetuo is great to learn. It is challenging if you want to play it on a very high level. As far as Paganini's music is concerned - I absolutely love it! It might not always perhaps be the greatest music, but it is music of great beauty and charm. If you are a violinist you should not avoid playing his music, there are certain elements in the caprices which can help you improve both technically and musically. Some of his caprices like numbers 4&24 are great pieces of music in my opinion. I personally think no.4 would sound just great if it were arranged maybe for string orchestra. The fact that there were other composers like Brahms and Rachmaninoff among others, that made arrangements of the 24th caprice says a lot about what an important work of music caprice 24 really is.

February 14, 2007 at 07:25 PM · Buri is so right... viola is such a fat big instrument that it is just impossible to do violinistic stuff on it. That's why I'm old school in saying, don't play Ysaye or Bach P&S or Paganini on it. Go to violin, it's soo much easier.

I love that you said that Nate, Paganini is ridiculously fun. I love listening to the caprices and playing them (the few that I can play) and all those variations he performed! And I think Pieter? or who was it, was right that it does facilitate playing.

If you want perspective on all this, talk to Susan Jang of By 16, she's played all the Caprices and Nel Cor, the concertos. (Sorry Susan, I found a Korean place in East village...!)


February 15, 2007 at 01:48 AM · I feel that Paganini's music is very educational and should be played by all serious violinists, not always should it be performed, but atleast a few of the caprices or show peices should be learned for educational purposes. Paganini was one of the founders of the modern violin playing technique. Many of the techniques

February 15, 2007 at 02:10 AM · I always felt that you can become a better player by pushing yourself (ie, trying pieces that you normally may not be able to tackle).

February 15, 2007 at 02:33 AM · You live in Amman, Jordan. Nobody here knows what's normal there. They might not take you seriously because you don't know any Azoomi Urdun.

February 15, 2007 at 03:10 AM · HEY VINCE!

you should see william primose playing bach s&p's, paganini, etc ON THE VIOLA!

he was such an awesome player.

February 15, 2007 at 03:09 AM · When is a good time to start learning the caprices? Which etudes should you have done before you begin? Which one is the best to start with, and which ones are the standard ones that most people do? Right now along with other stuff I'm doing Kreutzer (I want to work hard and finish in a few months) and working in the Flesch scale system (3rds, 6ths, 8ths, 10ths, etc.) Thanks!

February 15, 2007 at 04:18 AM · Julia, start with no. 14. You're probably ready for it. It will help your Bach too.

February 15, 2007 at 04:40 AM · You should start I think when you feel that your fingers can handle the notes -- they are challenging.. stretches and all this stuff.

The only way I can play some is because I played viola and my fingers can reach almost every note in the caprices.

Yeah, Primrose would be considered my grandfather in terms of the musical lineage I come from. My teacher studied with him for 6 years... most of his training. But I'm no Primrose, so he can be my exception on who is allowed to play the S and Ps.

February 15, 2007 at 12:08 PM · Stephen – Sorry I haven’t had time to answer you till now. Yes, I played just the first movement of Paganini’s no. 1 with the cadenza when I was fifteen (with orchestra – it was for my Diploma of the French system. I forgot what it’s called in French. Superior, I think.) It was extremely challenging. I think it drove my parents crazy – listening to me practice it four hours a day. I’d say my teacher was taking a risk in giving it to me. But it really opened my mind more to virtuosic playing. I think I started to understand better what musicians can and can’t do to a piece to make it more interesting etc... (all the little details). Playing the concerto also really advanced my octaves, double stops, and staccato and so many other techniques.

Enosh- I totally agree!

Jim- I'm sorry I neglected to mention it was an orchestra in the US. Actually Arabic music isn’t half as hard to play as classical (I like to call it ‘concert’) music, although one must have an extremely good ear. One of my challenges has been creating competition for myself – almost all the other students at our conservatory think it’s insane to practice 4-7 hours a day, along with a regular high-school load of studies. But my amazing teacher has taught me to compete with myself. There are a few students who are also serious and focused though.

Thanks for all the responses guys! This is very interesting =)

February 15, 2007 at 12:54 PM · Hi Lauren,

I think it's very healthy to play repertoire above one's level. When it comes to performing, this is a different story. Many people are afraid to perform technically challenging works because of what can happen on stage. Teachers often avoid putting their students in a situation where the student will get on stage and make a bad impression. This is for the teacher's and student's sake. You can't blame someone for wanting to play as comfortably as possible. That being said, there are plenty of people who can play Paganini without being traumatized. It's not easy, but if you can play it well, you're an excellent violinist.

February 15, 2007 at 02:42 PM · Vince, don't forget the right hand--there's plenty of tricky bow work in Paganini.

February 22, 2007 at 03:09 AM · It is also important to remember that one should not try to gain a technique by practicing paganini, the technique should have been established before playing it. :0

February 22, 2007 at 04:09 AM · yeah... most of paganini is about your fingers working within a CONTROLLED system. (emphasis added)


February 22, 2007 at 05:39 AM · Derrick,

I know a lot of people who'd disagree with that.

February 22, 2007 at 02:44 PM · I would suggest the 60 variations on the Barucaba theme Paganini wrote himself for his friend Germi...If you are at the level of Rode and Dont studies, they will open new doors and improve your playing a lot...each variation is short, but in their ensemble,constitute a sort of preliminaire to further studies of his Capricci...They really are the foundation of Paganini's technic. He wrote these variations at the end of his life. And they are really fun to play . They will be very useful also if you learn the Locatelli Capricci in the same time...You really learn how to relax your left hand when going through Locatelli...


February 22, 2007 at 09:44 PM · Paganini's good to learn - but not at the expense of Kreutzer, Rode and Dont. Let's face it, if you are secure in the first 2 of those you can master the orchestral repertoire, Dont will cover you for any string quartet 1st violin part and concertos up to the Brahms. There are plenty of top chamber musicians who wouldn't touch Paganini with a barge pole.

PS I'm encouraged to see I'm on similar lines to you, Marc

February 23, 2007 at 09:16 AM · Hello... but do you guys know Perpetuela?

Hee Hee

February 23, 2007 at 02:25 PM · Marianne, yes, and I have the score at home...not to be confused with Moto Perpetuo...Accardo did record it with Charles Dutoit...Paganini did perform it himself many times in Paris and London,at an incredible speed, as noted on the viola part by one of the musicians of the orchestra...


February 23, 2007 at 04:25 PM · i much prefer it to moto perpetuo, it's really beautiful. i've never seen the printed score and i don't know anyone who owns it themselves.

February 23, 2007 at 04:32 PM · I agree with you: there is a beautiful humoristic theme in the middle section and the violin is doing all the accompaniment with fireworks in perpetual motion. It is more difficult to play than the c major moto perpetuo and the violin must be tuned up a half tone higher to sound in b flat ( you play in A major ). The same process as the first concerto originally written in e flat major...


February 23, 2007 at 05:03 PM · What are good etudes that help to improve your bowing and prepare you in that aspect for the Paganini caprices? I get a lot of complements about my intonation, but I've been told that my bowing is one of my weaker points.

February 23, 2007 at 07:03 PM · Gavinies are good...but hard...

February 23, 2007 at 10:00 PM · Gavinie and Dont

February 24, 2007 at 12:36 AM · Greetings,

if you want to get a pretaste of the caprice swithout killing yourslef start workign slowly and carefully on the Baracuba Variations. (Paginini's etudes!)

What everyone says about Gavienies, Dont etc is treu but somehow I am not convinced this is really the question being asked.

Everyone has a stronger hand IE is either a litlte better with bowing or left hand technique. The way a person practices should to some extent reflect this awarness.

So , when one gets to the much worn line from either student or teacher "bow arm not so good' it is really important to ask what is a good bow arm? What are the basic things that need to be achived before artisitc use of the bow is possible. The bottom line is the detache foolwed by 7 other strokes, but mastering and polishing the detache and using it in combination with vartious articlautions and patterns, string crossings is a lifetimes wortk and it is not really a querstion of developing Paginini bowing techniques by a linear selection of studies. If the fundamentals are in place tghen playign Paginini will teach you Paginini. It is up to you and your teahcer to agree wjhat the fundamentlas are and then for you to gte down to the grind on a daily bassis. It isn"t fun working on bowing but the dividends in the long run are enormous. In the short term , differences can be quite hard to hear.



June 19, 2009 at 11:10 AM ·

I have been working for over a year with Gregory Shir, a violinist, teacher and violin maker on his lifelong project of studying Paganini's Caprices.  This seems the place to put a mention our project.  

Gregory has found that once an advanced violinist plays at least a portion of certain caprices in a certain order with his modified fingerings, it becomes evident that there is a technique underlying the Caprices - that Paganini wrote them to be his etudes.

Paganini had composed all of these in his youth, long before he hastily wrote them for the publisher at age 35.

Gregory's specific practicing order is possibly reverse-engineered to help the violinist learn the technique in an orderly way - If you are in the right frame of mind and play them in this circuit you will figure out the patterns yourself.  The Caprices become memonics to remembering the rules of fingering and bowing.  There are external patterns that help memory - such as his first eight specific Caprices begin with alternating up and downbow.  He mentioned, for instance, that Caprice 24 is easier to play beginning with an upbow.

Anyway, I'm a piano player and took a few violin lessons as a child.  I try to rephrase the information he tells me and write it down.  Then he reads it and says, "yes, that's what I meant" or "no."  So I bring this to you to help me to help you!

- So here's our little blurb and our website so far, we're printing the book very soon.  You can comment on if you prefer it to yahoo.  If I find it's buried too deep in this thread I may ask to start another thread, but this is a good one.

Thank you for your comments!            Reseda Mickey and Gregory Shir.

-----        In the original manuscript of the 24 Caprices, Paganini did not assign names, fingerings, or bowings.

I believe Paganini had a secret that he did not want to share!

The legend is that Paganini rarely practiced his violin after the age of 30. Instead he designed a training circuit for himself that was better than simple exercises.


Paganini Technique Book 1 for violin (and viola)

Please take some time to play the samples.

There is really a lot of hidden information here; read the instructions and play the samples correctly, and you will be surprised.

This technique will not only help your playing of any violin music, but also your sightreading and improvisation.

We now have a yahoo forum for Paganini Technique:

Once you’ve played the samples for a while, please feel free to share your thoughts on the process.

We want to make playing the violin easier for everyone!

And of course, stand by for the next two books.

Thank you again for your participation in our project!

Gregory Shir and Reseda Mickey

P.S. Much of our recent progress was made because we were able to look at the original 24 Paganini Caprices manuscript, which corroborated many of our theories.

June 19, 2009 at 02:19 PM ·

Hmm. A big hmm.

I have studied the manuscript a "tad" too, and don't quite agree with your findings.

If you just want to play Pag with a fingering that suits you, you can use any you like, but when you write "there is a technique underlying the Caprices - that Paganini wrote them to be his etudes", and "we were able to look at the original 24 Paganini Caprices manuscript, which corroborated many of our theories." I get the impression that you are trying to find out how Paganini played them.

Well, in that case you failed. Paganini stayed in the same position rather than shifting as much as you write. But on the other hand are the backward stretches to the first position a nice touch.

You also wrote "In the original manuscript of the 24 Caprices, Paganini did not assign names, fingerings, or bowings." 

The bowings are there in the manuscript, perhaps not when to play up or down, but the bowings are there.

Som remarks:

No 4, not bad at all.

You have written som accents (in no 8) that are neither musical nor in the score. I don't like the dynamics either. There is a misprint of the fingering in bar 6.

The first measure of no 14 Pag played in the same position.

No 17 - why all the running up and down the E-string? And it is hard to hide all those shiftings :)

Cap 23 the G-string passage he probably played in the same position. He also wrote some accents that have fallen out?

It is a great project nevertheless!

June 19, 2009 at 02:33 PM ·

Please don't take me wrong here, but I just had a peak at the website :)

Of course "El Cannone" wasn't Pag's instrument, he played an italian instrument, not a spanish one :)

What is the argument that this wasn't Pag's main instrument? Despite all the letters during decades when Pag wrote about it? Is it because of the travel? A good instrument can't travel like that? Perhaps his real instrument went by Ups :)

Sorry, I am bored - I mean no harm!

June 19, 2009 at 03:06 PM ·

Just read this thread... to correct something someone posted 2 years ago, William Primrose didn't play the Sonatas and Partitas on viola (he played the Cello Suites), though he did play a few Caprices.

And they're all as valuable for us violists to learn as for you guys!

June 19, 2009 at 03:35 PM ·

March 19, 2010 at 01:23 AM ·

Apologies, spelled the name of 'Cannone' wrong.  We're working on more info on this anyway, descriptions of this violin tell about major alterations, very interesting.

Mattias, thank you for specifics.  I'm planning on answering asap, I'm a pianist, I just write what he tells me, and he's Russian so we have to go back and forth till I get it right.

March 19, 2010 at 03:16 AM ·

 Paganini's Moto Perpetuo should be required of all serious violinists. There are lots of recordings--I have Michael Rabin.

Moto Perpetuo is not an incredibly difficult piece, and lies very well.  I find that it's mostly playable with just a few spots at the end. Actually, the difficulty of this piece is in endurance and concentration, and not the notes. Most Paganini is very playable, with spots here and there of extreme difficulty, and many of the Caprices are within the grasp of any tenacious violinist. There are harder things to play out there, such as Ernst. And actually, I think playing a Bach fugue really well is much harder.


March 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM ·

Another doable piece is Paganini's Cantabile, for violin and guitar (piano). I greatly enjoyed watching Leonid Kogan playing it on YouTube.


March 19, 2010 at 04:01 PM ·

I love Paganini, Perpetuo Molto. I am not the biggest Paganini fan but I love this piece of his. My teacher considered to have me play it but then decided not too because he thought I wouldn´t learn as much from it as from another piece. I am Asta Grade 8 so Paganini´s pieces can and should be attacked by serious violinists.

The thing I do not like about Paganini is that to me some of his music lacks a certain musical quality. But his works are not to be feared and they are essential to study. So a professional violinists should definetly have played Paganini.

March 19, 2010 at 04:52 PM ·


I'd have to disagree--I think Paganini's Caprices display a genius for melody and even harmonic richness. Perhaps they don't display the depth of Brahms, but when viewed through the lens of bel canto opera--Paganini's lens--they're stunningly original and enjoyable in the same manner as Rossini. Violinists who really have the technique and bravura required to play them (not me) do bring out the musicality. The Caprices really have not been equalled ( though the Moto Perpetuo is nothing more than an etude).


December 21, 2011 at 06:52 PM · First rule of chess, you can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent.

December 22, 2011 at 03:29 AM · Greetings,

I agree with Scott . Anna, whta `certain musicla quality`do you think is lacking?

Paginin was not the only extraordinary vilinist compose in history but his works are still around while those less lyrical, imaginative and creative have fallen by the wayside. That doesn`T suggets anything in particlar is lacking.

I eat TYiramisu for its sweet flavor, tofu for protein and prunes so I can hav ea good dump afterwords. I don`t demand all of these qualities in abundance from everything.



December 22, 2011 at 04:26 AM · I don't know if the OP is still around and don't remember this thread when it first came out. But I think she answered her own question when she said that the Pag 1st concerto was a killer, but that she learned a lot through working on it. The same is true for any challenging music. At the end of the day (or year!) we may not be able to play all of it in tempo, but practicing never goes to waste, and I believe that everything we work on helps with everything else, directly or indirectly.

That said, everyone has different technical strengths and musical proclivities. A serious student should be exposed to a wide range of repertoire. But a pro, playing a solo in an important venue, where publicly experimenting and dare-deviling are not the best idea, needs to go with his strengths, both technical and musical, if possible.

December 22, 2011 at 09:56 PM · Javier Rivera, why did you dig out this skeleton? Nevermind.

I would love to play Paganini one day - and I certainly will meet this challenge one day, even if it takes me my whole life. I love Paganini.

Nevertheless I do not even consider playing Shostakovich, at least for the next few years. Why? I simply do not like the music at all.

Maybe she does not like Paganini (heard a piece a while ago and decided that this is not for ears) and therefore she does not want to play it? If she likes the music I think she would try to play it at some point in her life.

Avoiding a composer completely does not make sense to me if she likes the music. It may be too hard for her to play it at the moment but at least I see a challange in that...

December 24, 2011 at 07:18 PM · The greats can make anything sound fabulous: I would even enjoy a CD of Perlman playing scales! For us lesser mortals, let's stick to music which moves us, and with which we should enjoy moving others.

There is all the technique we need to master in "real" repertoire. As I wrote in another post, Paganini is like icing sugar with the price-tag of caviar!

December 24, 2011 at 07:53 PM · I think that there is some expressive value in playing Paganini's music, especially some of his concertos. It takes a lot of be able to bring out the melody and emotion behind all of the technical challenges. Even if it is still too difficult for someone to perform, practicing it can improve technique and allow for an easier time with somewhat simpler pieces.

February 10, 2016 at 01:44 PM · An old thread, but I picked it up today from a link on ("The Paganini Technique by Gregory Shir").

I think it is worth mentioning that if a violinist wants an introduction to the music of Paganini but does not yet feel ready for the Caprices or the Moto Perpetuo, then they could do worse than to look at some of his many works for violin and guitar, in particular the "Lucca" sonatas. Paganini composed many of these for his pupils among the high-born young ladies of the Court of Lucca, so they clearly reflect the standard of playing he had in mind - perhaps grades 6-8 in today's terms?. They are delightful short pieces consisting of two movements, a slow lyrical first and a quicker dance-like second, some of which I have reason to believe were based closely on popular tunes or folk dances of the time.

He also composed more demanding violin-guitar works, notably the Centone Sonatas which are significantly longer than the Lucca pieces, and which I would grade at 8 or higher.

February 10, 2016 at 04:48 PM · How difficult are those works for the guitarist?

February 10, 2016 at 05:05 PM · Lydia, although I haven't seen the guitar parts I have listened to recordings of most of Paganini's violin-guitar works by Luigi Bianchi and Maurizio Preda (you'll find a lot on YouTube, and their CDs on Amazon), which tell me that the guitar parts are well worth playing. Although the guitar is generally accompanying it is intelligent and interesting accompaniment, with the occasional solo flourish. Paganini was possibly the foremost guitarist of his time. Most of the time, though, the violin part is playable as solo.

The guitar part could be played on the piano, but I think you'd have to find a good pianist who could match the required delicacy of the guitar in these works.

PS, the layout of the Bianchi-Preda CDs is,

Discs 1-3 Centone Sonatas Op 64 MS 112

Discs 4-6 Lucca Sonatas (various Opus and MS numbers)

Disc 7 Sonatas Op 2 and 3 MS 26,27 (24 not easy sonatas)

Disc 8 Sonata Concertata in A Op 61, and the Barucabà Variations Op. 14

Disc 9 More duets MS 110, and Grand Sonata Op 39

These discs contain other miscellaneous pieces, including:

Cantabile in D Op 17 (CD 1)

Duetto Amoroso Op 63 (CD 6)

Entrata d'Adone nella Reggia di Venere MS 8 (CD 7)

Moto Perpetuo Op 11 (CD 7)

Carnagnola MS 1 (CD 9)

February 10, 2016 at 10:13 PM · Lydia,

the guitar part is probably slightly harder than the violin part but perectly accessible. I have no idea how to evaluate them but any intermediate level ? guitarist could play at least some of them. The works emphasize lyricism and charm rather than virtuouso technique for both players. They are lovely works to perform.



February 13, 2016 at 01:19 PM · I always feel that Paganini's music is icing-sugar with a caviar price-tag. I want music that gives me back more than I put into it; e.g.Brahms or Bartok.

I enjoy Perlman's & Rabin's recordings of the Caprices, but then I would enjoy discs of them playing scales, too!

February 14, 2016 at 02:50 PM · Wow...this is some kind of subject to think about...Should we(professionals) play Paganini?

Late Ruggiero Ricci...Maestro Ricci used to practice 'Moto Perpetuo every morning'(all with fingered octaves)in full speed none stop until the end. Well, people might think that is impossible to do that with fingered octave...but it is true story. And people will say Why Did Maestro Ricci Do That...such crazy exercise everyday...Answer is clear....TECHNIQUES DO NOT COME FREE!!!

February 16, 2016 at 08:07 AM · It's like cooking.

Sure, you might not be the best at making a souffle, doing an infusion, or gutting a fish properly, but if you intend to work in that profession, you have to learn how to do everything at least reasonably competently.

I've only run into a couple folks who poo-poo the idea of playing Paganini at all, and the sad fact is that they lack the technical proficiency to do musical justice to the works. I don't love Paganini myself, since it takes me a lot more time to practice to get it to an acceptable level for public performance than I have to commit, but avoiding it altogether would have compromised my studies in the violin entirely. I still have nightmares about figuring out Caprice No. 1!

February 18, 2016 at 11:05 AM ·

February 18, 2016 at 11:28 AM · To add to all that have been said about Paganini's effect on one's own technical equipment via serious study, it's just mostly beautiful and effective music, worthy to be performed way more often than it's commonly seen today (not counting the Caprices, Concerto 1, and the more famous showpieces-though even these aren't performed THAT often.) His more supposedly "vulgar"/"bad" music can be quite a fun and even moving experience, as it's usually operatic and song-like, and therefore a more than great fit for the natural voice of our beloved instrument.

Refusing to study Paganini, even on grounds of not being a soloist or not going to "ever play it live" is doing oneself a great disservice.

February 19, 2016 at 01:04 AM · Is the Caprice No. 24 basically Paganini's answer to the Bach D-minor Chaconne?

February 19, 2016 at 09:33 AM · Although...I can see how some of the stuff Ernst wrote can be very trying at times for anyone that is having difficulty playing Paganini.

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