Caprice No.16 by Paganini

Edited: January 9, 2019, 9:35 AM · Hello.I would like to hear your opinions on my Caprice no.16 by Paganini.

The privious recording was taken with the Phone.
i bought a new camera (zoom q2n) and this is the new recording:

Replies (239)

December 30, 2018, 10:10 PM · Please slow down--WAY down--and learn the notes with correct intonation. Then gradually speed it up, only advancing the metronome to the next tempo when you can play it well in tune at the current tempo. It's helpful to use the same part and amount of bow in slow tempos that you plan to use when you speed it up.

This particular caprice also lends itself well to rhythm practice (dotted sixteenth and thirty-second/thirty-second and dotted sixteenth) when speeding it up but again, please do not do this until you are playing every note in tune.

December 30, 2018, 10:41 PM · Oh my, it's you again...
December 30, 2018, 11:05 PM · Cotton Mather
I can say the same thing about you...
December 30, 2018, 11:12 PM · Guys please keep going. It'll be better than David v. Lyndon.
Edited: December 30, 2018, 11:32 PM · No one here likes it? Really?
I don't say it's perfect, but overall it is very good for such difficult piece i think.

Try to hear this and then hear other performances of it on youtube:

Violin isn't a mechanical instrument, you can always find some fault in intonation or something if you want.

December 30, 2018, 11:38 PM · It's so out of tune that the actual pitches are almost lost. And the tone is really harsh.

Please take Mary Ellen's advice.

December 30, 2018, 11:41 PM · Lydia leong
It is a phone recording, try to listen with Earphones and carefully it sounds much cleaner in my view.
December 31, 2018, 12:03 AM · You asked, you got the opinion. Above are professionals and very advanced players. Here is my son's (5,5 years old): "close it, i got pain in my head, he will kill the violin".

Now you have what to wish and what to promise yourself in the new year)))

Happy new year!

Edited: December 31, 2018, 12:11 AM · I will buy a professional recording device soon and I believe you will see that i play pretty clean. The phone distorts the sound.
Try to listen with earphones carefully.
Edited: December 31, 2018, 12:16 AM · That's why you can't do recorded auditions with smartphone recordings, no? Just with proffesional recording device.
December 31, 2018, 1:49 AM · David - your phone doesn't change your pitch. And it is really out of tune.
December 31, 2018, 2:13 AM · Might I recommend 'Scales (Scales and Scale Studies for the Violin)' by Simon Fischer? Combine that with a metronome and I think you'll make some real improvement.

Practice it with your metronome at 60 for a few months then come back with a new recording and you might find a better reception. The difference will be noticeable.

Edited: December 31, 2018, 3:28 AM · Ok. Then i'll say it like this:
I am much smarter and better violinist and more objective then you all and i say it is very good.
I don't say it is perfect, but for such hard piece it is very good, even to play paganini from the start to the end is huge achievement. Especially in such speed.
To find mistakes you can in every violinist, including the most famous.

This is very bed recording and it sounds very different with earphones and even very nice.

Edited: December 31, 2018, 2:55 AM · If all what you intrested in is perfect tune, you should be piansts
December 31, 2018, 3:40 AM · David, we are not worthy of such beauty. I’ve never heard such sweet tone, ringing with exctacy as your fingers dance upon the strings like skittering flames. I dare say you are the greatest violinist of our time. We should be honored that you graced us with your discovery before your inevitable dazzling career as a consummate violin soloist.
December 31, 2018, 4:45 AM · Christopher sinkule,
This was a phone camera recording, it distorts the sound.

About a hour ago i recorded new one with better microphon,
it still isn't proffesional microphone but it sounds much cleaner:

December 31, 2018, 4:51 AM · I think you need to work on the string crossings
December 31, 2018, 4:52 AM · I recommend rode etude 21, as well as dont etudes 2, 3, 5 and 13
Edited: December 31, 2018, 6:45 AM · A good mic/playback system can be a great help to a performer. It helps him to identify issues that may not be otherwise obvious to him. It further helps him to understand that a fundamental problem that faces musicians at some time or another is that what the mic hears and what we think we hear while we are playing can be two very different things.

It is worth pointing out that an anonymous comment on public media such as YouTube is often not the informed criticism that a performer really needs.

Edited: December 31, 2018, 8:49 AM · David, your energy is remarkable, but how can you put such a mess out on YouTube. You give the violin a bad name, which is not fair on the rest of us, amateur or professional.

The first requirement is intonation, without which no amount of speed has any value whatsoever.

Perhaps it is you who should play the piano instead!

Edited: December 31, 2018, 8:55 AM · It wasn't too bad.... until you got to the hard parts.
December 31, 2018, 9:51 AM · i enjoyed this video and think you did a very good job on a difficult piecem
December 31, 2018, 10:17 AM · Please listen to the new version that i updated
with better microphone- it sounds much cleaner:
The previous microphone was very bad,that's why i reccomended to listen with earphones - the sound was very distorted and didn't reflect the real sound:

December 31, 2018, 11:18 AM · I am curious to learn how long David has worked on this piece.
December 31, 2018, 11:35 AM · Well David, the sound is better, but the new microphone doesn't seem to improve your intonation.....
December 31, 2018, 11:58 AM · What ?! Is this guy back? He didn't appear to take any of the positive, practical advice from the panel the first time around.
December 31, 2018, 12:48 PM · Adrian Heath
You serious? You think that the intonation is so bad with the new version?
Try to compare to other performances of it on YouTube. I think the intonation is preety good.

It is still a smartphone recording,not studio.
Soon i will buy a professional recording device and it will probably sound even better.

December 31, 2018, 12:56 PM · Maybe David cannot hear how out of tune it is. Try to compare to other performances of it on YouTube:
December 31, 2018, 1:11 PM · Joel quivey
You can't talk with me about "Musical" things on Paganini's caprices!, especially in such speed, it isn't Bach.

If you want to hear "Musicality" here is something:

December 31, 2018, 1:27 PM · Dawson weber:
1. Augustin Hadelich is a top professional and his version is one of the most popular on Youtube.
I'm not a proffesional (meaning i work in regular work 8 hours every day and have very limited time to practice).
2. I recorded with a smartphone!!!.

And still - in comparison i don't think that my version is very much out of tune overall.

December 31, 2018, 1:33 PM · I mainly feel that i have much more noises in my version. But noises aren't intonation.
This is a quality of recording issues.
December 31, 2018, 2:01 PM · Hi David,

I think you're doing a wonderful job as an amateur. Keep up the good work! not quite grounded. If you send this out to major conservatories as an undergraduate applicant, I'm not quite sure if you'll be invited for live auditions.

December 31, 2018, 2:37 PM · This reminds me of my lyre album.
Just need a new mic—then you'll see!
December 31, 2018, 4:16 PM · I'm having a hard time believing he's not just putting everyone on. He's got fingers like lightning....never hit the same spot twice!
December 31, 2018, 4:19 PM · This isn't good right now. It can be if you do the work to fix your technical deficiencies.
You don't keep a consistent tempo and you aren't playing in tune. Those would be the areas that you should work on. There are other things that can be better, but first, get the tempo and intonation.

Listen to the recording, and practice with a metronome all the passages where your tempo changes. Where the passage gets a little tricky, you slow down. As for the intonation, play slowly, and have zero tolerance for anything other than perfect intonation.

December 31, 2018, 4:23 PM · Ok. This discussion is useless i think.
You saw the huge difference between the sound in the previous recording and the current.
All i changed was a program the recordes.both were recorded on the phone!!!.

I will buy a professional recording device and then you will be able to judge.
I think that already in the current recording it sounds pretty good. The main problem is heavy noises.

Edited: December 31, 2018, 4:29 PM · If it doesn't matter that you record someting on the phone and in proffesional studio why you can't make auditions with phone recording? But allowed to do audition with proffesional recording device?
December 31, 2018, 4:45 PM · The recording definitely isn't good quality, but even a poor recording will accurately replicate pitch and tempo.
December 31, 2018, 4:45 PM · David, I really like the Shostakovich, the music and the performance.
December 31, 2018, 4:45 PM · David, I really like the Shostakovich, the music and the performance.
Edited: December 31, 2018, 5:05 PM · Here's how Hillary hahn sounds on smartphone recording:
Hillary hahn has intonation and sound problems???
No. It is the smartphone!. It distorts the sound.
So why you think that my smartphone has studio quality recording?

Lets wait to hear my playing on professional recording device.

December 31, 2018, 5:09 PM · Gabriel solof
Thank you
Edited: December 31, 2018, 5:36 PM · Cotton mather

You had huge discussion here before on how much it matters and different when you record something on smartphone and proffesional recording device, and now you tell me it doesn't matter that i recorded on smartphone?
People compare that to Augustin Hadelich's proffesional recording?

I think i will stop here. And we'll when i will record on proffesional device.

December 31, 2018, 5:37 PM ·
December 31, 2018, 6:03 PM · I'm not a proffesional violinist,
I learned politics in university,
And a politician, and now thinking about proffesional violin playing too.

But it seems that politicians! Are
more honest than classical violinists. I didn't think its possible that someone will Be less honest than politicians.
I will reconsider all this thing. It is pretty frightening.

Edited: December 31, 2018, 6:43 PM · David, experienced teachers like Mary Ellen and Bruce are listening to student recordings done on low-level equipment all the time as part of their work, so they can definitely tell which aspects of your recording are owing to a poor microphone, etc.

I've had this experience too, whereby intonation sounds worse in the recording. My theory is that amateur recording equipment tends to exaggerate the high overtones. This could be why your playing sounds more out of tune than it ordinarily would (and more scratchy and raw). But ... remember that the recording is only amplifying what's already there. It's not changing actual sound frequencies. So if your intonation sounds bad on the recording, that's because your intonation actually *IS* bad. In other words, it's the same bad intonation, but what's actually happening is that you're getting a clearer picture of it.

I realize it might seem like backward thinking to propose that you're getting a clearer picture of your intonation using cheap equipment, so let me offer another way of thinking about it. If you put on your orchestra mute, your intonation will sound better! We have all experienced this.
And it's one reason why teachers tell you to avoid practicing with a mute. Why? Because you muffle the high overtones which you need to hear the ringing (or lack thereof) in your violin. Bad recording equipment is doing exactly the opposite from the mute. Your phone is un-muting your violin. (I'm not sure how that would happen, but that's my theory.)

David, you're obviously a skilled violinist -- very capable! Get a teacher and you will only improve. That's what you want, right? If you don't like the advice you're getting here, for goodness sake, stop asking for it!

Edited: December 31, 2018, 7:12 PM · Paul, I regularly record my students on a plain old iPhone during lessons, then we listen and I have them mark parts that aren't quite right and need some work. (My goal is to get my students to 'hear' their own playing realistically, and not an idealized version). I hear both the live versions and the recorded versions. Cheap recording devices don't pick up the overtones, that's true. But they also aren't inaccurate either. If it's not in tune on a recording, it's not in tune in real life.

The two fundamentals of music- playing the proper pitches in the proper time- aren't being met here in these recordings. David, please listen to the recordings. Fix the sloppy bow changes, variations in tempo, and poor intonation. When you go up high, you're using the right fingers, but without regard to the sound produced. Stop arguing with everyone, go back and fix your mistakes. You can hear them. They are real. It would literally take less time to fix the spacing of your fingers in upper positions that it would to type out these absurd excuses.

December 31, 2018, 7:32 PM · David, if you can't hear that outside of first position you are out of tune, you have a real problem.
Try the piano?
December 31, 2018, 8:02 PM · You're actually not bad, but that piece is far too difficult and you haven't taken the time to learn it properly. Even Hillary Hahn has to do slow practice before achieving performance standard.

Unless you believe you are better than her, too?

Edited: December 31, 2018, 11:15 PM · Yeah, Davey. Go check out my post titled "I'm quitting violin. Forever."
I give a little preview of my upcoming lyre album, which I recorded on my phone...
My cellphone mic ruined it! The tone was shot and the intonation was everywhere. But I know I played perfectly. I was there.
Wait until the full album is released (recorded in-studio). It'll blow you away.
These schmucks have no idea what they're on about, David. They just don't understand how recording technology works!
Edited: January 1, 2019, 1:20 AM · With the slow and “musical” piece, I noticed that the OP appears to be unable to achieve a relax and continuous vibrato. That might be something he could work on as well if the career of an “international soloist” is ever going to be in the picture.
January 1, 2019, 1:23 AM · Like everyone else said,the camera does not really effect the intonation. The third time you posted the video, the recording quality was much better.

I think of it like this, for example:

If Hilary Hahn played this caprice on a $200 violin Vs her, I don't know,$700k vulliaume, she could play it with good intonation on both instruments,(if the cheap one set up properly).The ONLY diffence is the quality of theinstrument, sound, playability etc... As it would sound so much more rich,brilliant and genuine on her vulliaume.

It's the exact thing with phone phone recorder. The intonation never changes when recorded.

Edited: January 1, 2019, 1:28 AM · Opps so maNy typos!!

January 1, 2019, 1:40 AM · A low-quality recording doesn't distort intonation. And most smartphones have fairly decent-quality microphones. You can shoot perfectly listenable violin videos with a smartphone. YouTube videos shot with a smartphone won't capture the high-fidelity nuances of a pro recording set-up coupled with SACD lossless quality, but they will do sufficiently well for judging the general quality of someone's tone.

Intonation, by the way, is a fundamental part of musicianship and musicality on the violin. The way you tune a chord (including when it is arpeggiated) indicates your understanding of where it sits in the harmonic progression of the passage, and where each note should be placed within that chord. It's not just a technical issue.

When it's so out of tune that a listener can't really discern what pitch you *intended* to hit, it makes nonsense out of the music.

January 1, 2019, 4:17 AM · Ok. Today i bought the zoom q2n camera.
I will record things in the upcoming days and you will be able
To judge if i really so out of tune.
Edited: January 1, 2019, 2:20 PM · David, we already know all your videos are often out of tune!
It's you yourself who need to be aware of it...

In the OP you ask for our reactions, and then refuse to take any notice.

On we find professionals, experienced teachers, serious amateurs etc. who spend their entire lives surveying their intonation. Those with intonation difficulties ask for advice, not praise.

We are a thoughtful, caring group, and most definitely not "dishonest"!

Edited: January 1, 2019, 12:28 PM · So yes, the sound is less harsh with a different microphone, but all the same bowing artifacts are still audible. The bow-stroke is inconsistent and the attacks are messy.

In your Shostakovich recording, you are out of tune with yourself. Pitch is decent but not always spot on.

Hahn recorded with a smartphone still sounds beautiful, and I don't think the sound is distorted. Certainly there's no distortion of the intonation.

You've got to learn to listen to yourself critically. A teacher of mine once told me that the worst possible habit for a violinist is to listen to yourself play and think, "I'm awesome!"

January 1, 2019, 2:52 PM · David K.-- This is intended to be a serious, constructive comment: Among American professional baseball players, no matter how good or expensive they are; they take a winter vacation and then do about 2 months of spring training. They review all the fundamentals of their craft, watched closely by the coaches. You could do something similar, take a vacation from the violin that is long enough to get out of shape. Then review the fundamentals, like a beginner, under the supervision of a strict teacher, someone who is willing to accept you as a student.
Edited: January 1, 2019, 5:06 PM · Why start your post with "Hello.I would like to hear your opinions on my Caprice no.16 by Paganini." if you don't want opinions?

Joel, that's a good idea. I took a year off in high school and somehow came back sounding *better* than before. Didn't realise it had an explanation - it makes a lot of sense.

January 1, 2019, 6:31 PM · I'm not sure what it is about this poster that compels us all to offer sincere advice, as he takes none of it, but I think if we could find a way to exploit this compulsion and expand it, we could be rich. RICH.
January 1, 2019, 10:29 PM · David, you inspired me - I'm off work today, so I took about 3 hours to learn and work on this caprice. In keeping with the spirit of things, here is a recording I made on my phone (iphone 7):

obviously, not polished or performance level, a little sloppy here, a little pitchy there - must be the phone!

January 1, 2019, 10:34 PM · Thumbs up, Irene!

And I just discovered Audioship, thanks to you. Very useful.

January 1, 2019, 10:37 PM · Nice job, Irene!
January 1, 2019, 11:07 PM · 1.Irene chen, it is amazing! Playing. I'm serious.

But can you show the video for us also to be sure this is really you? And not world class known performer?
You don't have any other videos in your channel. And this is not a video, only audio, so how can we know?

2. As i said i bought yesterday new camera that should be very proffesional, i will record this in the upcoming days and we'll see.

Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:15 PM · You learned paganini's caprice in 3 hours?
And play like this?...
You are better than paganini And Heifetz combined!!!. Not just better than me...
January 1, 2019, 11:19 PM · Wow nice job especially for 3 hours!

David, we can tell this isn't a professional peformance by the quality of recording and occasional errors.

Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:21 PM · David - I'm flattered! But I assure you, this is my own playing, and the recording is nowhere near a "world class known performer" level. I am a professional, though, and so I've gotten used to digesting large amounts of music in a small amount of time. I would say my playing is fairly standard for what I do.
Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:26 PM · Seriously, people, you started to lie and cheat now?
You learned Paganini's caprice in 3 hours and play this piece almost as good as top violinists in the world?
You know i am a politician in my proffesion, right?
Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:34 PM · while the caprices all have their own challenges, 16 is one of the more manageable ones. I wouldn't have been able to work, say, 4 up to anywhere near passable in as short a time.
Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:36 PM · Irene would probably be the first to say that this recording is nowhere near as good as the top violinists in the world. (EDIT: As I was writing that, Irene posted just that!)

It sounds like what it is -- a highly competent professional who's put a couple of hours of work into something that's difficult but is well within their technical capabilities, resulting in solid progress but not yet performance-level polish.

I wonder, David, if one of your challenges is that you aren't capable of listening critically. You should be able to hear a bunch of imperfections in that recording -- and in listening analytically, still be able to detect and separate what is a lack of polish versus a lack of skill.

Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:40 PM · 16 is the easiest caprice, and Irene's performance is clearly professional but also clearly not at world-class soloist level. There are errors. She can hear them, I can hear them, Lydia can hear them. This is not to take away from Irene's excellent playing or from 3 hours of concentrated hard work. I'm impressed. But it isn't Heifetz, as Irene has already said herself.

Irene's main point is well taken, which is that an iphone recording is perfectly fine to judge a performance by. You don't need to spend money on fancy equipment when slow practice will improve the result far more effectively.

I use my iphone in lessons sometimes to let students hear for themselves what I am trying to tell them.

Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:44 PM · Ok. Please record a video. What's the problem?
You see that people like it and think it is good, no? Me too.
You play so well and you can learn ans play like this Paganini's caprice in 3 hours?
You don't have any other video in your channel or on youtube.

This is her video:

Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:45 PM · I'm kind of tempted to take, say, the one-hour amateur Paganini 16 smartphone video challenge tomorrow. I'm too old for the Tide Pod challenge and 1 am is not the time to start learning a caprice tonight. ;-)
Edited: January 1, 2019, 11:46 PM · Lydia leong
You are welcomed. Seriously.lets do this challange.
But with video! Recording.
Edited: January 2, 2019, 12:34 AM · Anyone else thinks that irene chen's caprice 16 is just "average"?
January 2, 2019, 1:03 AM · 16, as noted by others, is the easiest of the 24. It is the only one I have studied as a teenager, so I am familiar with its challenges first hand.

I think Irene Chen’s version is excellent given that she only had three hours to work on it and is what one would normally expect from a professional violinist. I would also agree with her that it is not “world class”.

January 2, 2019, 1:13 AM · Nobody has said that Irene Chen’s performance is “average.” It’s quite professional. I think perhaps the disconnect is that you don’t grasp just how well a professional, non-world-class soloist, plays.

I don’t anticipate having the time tomorrow to practice and record #16 myself, but if I did, it would likely sound a lot like Irene’s version except probably slightly less clean. She really did a nice job. But the point she was making, which I am not sure has registered yet, is that your issue is not your recording equipment. Please SLOW DOWN and practice carefully for intonation and sound production.

January 2, 2019, 2:41 AM · So, does *listening* to Paganini 16 count into the practice time? What about looking at it? I need clear rules before putting effort in.
Edited: January 2, 2019, 3:03 AM · Mary ellen goree
1. She! said it is average for proffesional.
2. I still want proof that she played it.and explanation what level of proffesional she is:
If she is, for example, a first violin in some big orchestra it means she is international level violinist. She doesn't have to be top known soloist to be defined at "international level".
3.I have ears ans eyes and YouTube and I've seen a lot ot performances of it
This playing was very clean and in good wasn't "average".
4. I am not a proffesional violinist and the big question is if i can and if i at international level (not neccessary soloist), if you can define me as close to this level, that says that I'm at proffesional international level. And that's all i want to know.
Because It is not my profession and I'm thinking to go to proffesional playing.
January 2, 2019, 7:59 AM · I think she means average for a professional, not "average". Professional violinists are generally quite good at playing the violin!
Edited: January 2, 2019, 8:22 AM · David I have a question for you. You have acknowledged that Irene's P16 is better than yours. You showered her with compliments on her playing. So my question is: How is hers better? I want you to list at least three things she did better than you.

And by the way, "professional" is spelled with two s characters and one f. You might want to fix that on your CV too.

January 2, 2019, 8:46 AM · Proposed rules of the Paganini 16 challenge:

1. Only practice time counts towards the three-hour time limit
2. Audio/video must be shot with a smartphone or other nonprofessional recording device
3. Posted to YouTube (therefore subject to the same audio compression)

(Only slightly tongue in cheek.)

January 2, 2019, 9:17 AM · I'm just a rank beginner with a year on the instrument but I'd like to ask the more experienced players: how do you decide on some of the fingerings with the string crossing/hopping?

For instance when the descending G minor scale is droned against the B flat, do you play that on the G and D or G, D, A or G and A while "muting" the D string so it doesn't ring if the bow catches it a bit?

Super impressed with Irene's recording, in three hours I might only be able to do the first bar!

January 2, 2019, 9:39 AM · Hello, I would like to hear your opinions on my playing, so that I MAY CRUSH THEM WITH A SUPLEX OFF THE TOP TURNBUCKLE!
Edited: January 2, 2019, 9:50 AM · "how do you decide on some of the fingerings with the string crossing/hopping?"

As an amateur, there are three main ways that I finger my music.

(1) I start by purchasing an edition that has fingerings installed by a professional pedagogue like Galamian or Gingold or such. I realize that "urtext" is all the rage these days, but for studies? Or for beginners? Come on now, let's be realistic.

(2) I get occasional violin lessons, during which my teacher will often suggest alternative fingerings that might work better for me because he knows my individual strengths and limitations. In some pieces only a few fingerings are changed. In other pieces many of them are. When I have a brand new piece often my teacher will spend a whole lesson going through it with me for fingerings and other areas where he makes specific practicing suggestions.

(3) I experiment on my own when the fingerings in the printed edition don't work for me after practicing for a while, and then I play my fingerings for my teacher to see what he thinks. I always audition that particular section alone and I tell him that I re-fingered it. He's usually approving (say 2/3) if my fingerings differ from those in the printed edition, but less likely to approve (say 1/3) if my fingerings differ from those he gave me. If he doesn't approve he always explains why.

January 2, 2019, 10:15 AM · Ok. First try of the Zoom q2n camera:

January 2, 2019, 10:18 AM · Caprice 16 on the zoom q2n camera, first try (has some mistakes):

January 2, 2019, 11:44 AM · This is a pretty interesting exercise.

Let's start with a video of sight-reading this for the first time:

January 2, 2019, 11:45 AM · After ten minutes of practice, a read-through of the intro at what I thought was a tempo I could play it at with decent control.

Edited: January 2, 2019, 11:48 AM · And pushing the tempo at the 10-minute mark, which highlights everything that isn't at all solid. (If anyone has a tip for how to cross rapidly from the E to the G in a clean fashion, I'm all ears.)

January 2, 2019, 12:14 PM · Very good, lydia. I'm serious. It took me more than a month (about 1.5 months) to be able to play it fully.
January 2, 2019, 12:29 PM · I think I'd be awfully damned lucky to be at your sight-reading tempo after three hours.
Edited: January 2, 2019, 12:43 PM · I listened to your Spring Sonata. It's not super musical. You have technical skill (certainly better than me) but I think you're trying to play this piece too fast.

Your initial passage is very fast and pretty clean (to my amateur ears) but the 16th notes did not sound very even. At 0:45 there's an E-flat that didn't sound good, but I'm sure that's just a one-time mistake. In the "accompaniment" section (the slurred broken chords) remember that those chords need to be in tune with the piano. I suggest you record the harmonies on the piano (F major chord, then D minor, etc.) so you can practice with that and adjust the pitches of your broken chords, I think you will need to adjust a few of your notes (I had to do that when I worked on this piece).

Edited: January 2, 2019, 1:55 PM · David, playing in tune is continual work-in-progress for the vast majority of string players, including those at the top level (Heifetz and Casals for example). Unfortunately, a significant number of players are apparently unaware that they have an on-going intonation problem. It is a problem that usually can be successfully addressed by careful practice, patience, and a good teacher.

There is, however, an initial step that I think could be taken to identify the level of the problem before undertaking its solution. There is a simple on-line test that invites the listener to determine which of two differently pitched tones is the sharper, and then reduces the difference in pitch in stages until it can no longer be detected. If that difference is too big then there is a problem.

This is the test:

An explanatory comment. Firstly, a definition: 100 Cents = 1 semi-tone. The final stage in the test is a pitch difference of 6 Cents (1/16 of a semi-tone) which the test says is the smallest discernible difference in pitch – although I have seen mentioned elsewhere that 5 Cents (1/20 of a semi-tone) is the real smallest discernible limit. I would think that professional violinists and a good percentage of experienced non-professionals would be at, or very close to, the 6 Cents limit. A discernible limit of 12 Cents or above would certainly need work under a good teacher.

Edited: January 5, 2019, 12:11 PM · Trevor it goes way beyond that. You don't just have to be able to tell whether two pitches are the same or not. You have to be able to tell whether two notes in sequence form a proper half-step, whole step, etc. In other words, when you play "Twinkle" are your intervals correct? I can hear unisons. But I live in constant fear that my C-sharps are all wrong. :)

Edit -- this post prompted me to start a new thread on intonation:

January 2, 2019, 1:03 PM · And here's the challenge you face in wanting to be a pro, David:

I'm not a pro. I'm an amateur, just like you. I took 20 years off from playing the violin. I don't practice every day (though I wish I did) and my total average time per day is about 20 minutes due to that. So I'm far from being at the pinnacle of violinistic shape, too.

But I'm pretty sure that by the end of the three hours (especially if I could get that time all today, with a nap between sessions, which I don't think will happen), I will probably be playing this whole thing at the "slower" tempo of my 10-minute recording, relatively cleanly and generally in tune. It won't be performance-ready and it won't be at Irene's level of quality, but I expect it will be in a state where i could take it to a lesson and get useful feedback.

Most of those 3 hours are going to go into a handful of places that feel rather awkward. I spent a little under 30 minutes on this today, in total, reading it through, making those videos, putting in some fingerings, etc.

It is also, frankly, not that hard. If it took you a month and a half to play the whole thing, you don't have a professional level of technique or learning curve.

For the 3-hour limit, there are some interesting decisions to be made, in that I can pick easier fingerings in some places (like the two note slur passage) that require crossing a string, or I can minimize string crossings at the cost of more shifts. Going to a moderately fast tempo in a time crunch practice suggests the easier fingerings are better -- but if I were working this up to a really high speed over a longer period of time I'd prefer not to have the string crossings.

And the "how to maximize the use of 3 hours and only 3 hours" has many other interesting questions on the trade-offs of how to use the practice time in terms of biggest bang for the buck. The most interesting practice problem I've thought about in a while. :-)

So here's my challenge to you, David: Drop your tempo to the speed of my sight-reading and take a video of it. And then a second video, at the tempo of my 10-minutes-slower -- same thing. Record your first try for both, just like I did -- no "best of" retries. What do you sound like at those speeds? I think it'd be interesting to hear.

Edited: January 2, 2019, 1:16 PM · The recording quality is certainly better, but the playing still takes us back to Mary Ellen's opening comment. Slow practice should not be underestimated.

From Hilary Hahn: Slow Practice for String Players

To add to it, when practicing slow I do one version where I also play every string crossing as a double stop (when possible) as well as check notes with neighboring open strings - it is an easy way to check the intonation at a given spot.
Thanks for sharing videos, Lydia and Irene!

January 2, 2019, 1:59 PM · Geez! I think Paganini would be impressed to know that in 2019, a professional violinist can play this as well as Irene after three hours, and an excellent amateur can play it as well as Lydia in ten minutes, fixable errors notwithstanding. Actually, I suspect he'd be annoyed and have to go off and write something even harder.
January 2, 2019, 2:08 PM · Trevor - I did the test, and found it quite easy, but I was surprised that my wife failed the 4'th question (she plays mainly folk).
Edited: January 2, 2019, 3:57 PM · Lydia, (and David?) regarding rapid E/G string crossing:

I'm not risking a video, but I use a lower elbow, set for the E-string, and reach the G-string with mainly hand and forearm: the elbow follows of course but much less than for a full passage on the G. My bow pivots over the thumb, avoiding clumsy wrist movements.

January 2, 2019, 5:55 PM · Paul, I recognise that interval recognition goes well beyond that initial test. If the test shows that your ear is good enough to distinguish 6 Cents (1/16 semi-tone) then you should be well on the road to mastering the intonation of the various thirds, other intervals and leading notes. If, on the other hand, you cannot reliably detect which is the sharper of two notes that are, say, 20 Cents (1/5 semi-tone) apart then serious basic work needs to be done.
January 2, 2019, 10:17 PM · Even Heifetz admitted he had trouble with intonation in certain pieces. e.g. the start of the Mendelssohn concerto. It's character building.
January 3, 2019, 4:11 AM · OK, I'm up for this. Paganini 16 is more difficult than what I'm meant to be working on (which is the 3rd movement of the Bruch concerto, the Debussy sonata, and Rode 7). But it's not so difficult that I can't give it a go :)
Edited: January 3, 2019, 4:54 AM · I hate to add to this thread, but...there is an app called "InTune" that was developed by a cellist and professor of music at Wittenberg University - Daniel Kazez - to improve intonation. It's a game in which you first hear a stable pitch, and then a second, which you must simply recognize as either higher or lower than the first tone. It starts at a half step, and gradually reduces the space between the two notes. He apparently found that, when his students "played" the game, their ability to hear/intonation improved.

There are 3 pitch levels (low, medium, and high). Interestingly, (perhaps because my ear is used to thinking about the higher range?)I can fairly easily hear the differences in the medium and high range (to 1.07% of a difference), but the lowest is consistently harder for me! (1.5% of a difference is my best so far).

Of course, if you only play this game, I'm sure you will still suffer with intonation problems, but I think it really can help train the ears to hear pitch differences and figure out ways to "think" about intonation. For example, I see colors that help me identity if it is higher or lower, and focusing on the color palette in my visual mind's eye helps me more than anything.

January 3, 2019, 1:28 PM · I’m going to try the challenge! Let’s see what happens for a low level intermediate amateur. Lol!!
January 3, 2019, 1:55 PM · I may throw my hat in the ring for this one.
January 5, 2019, 6:24 AM · I sure wish I had David's problem. I recorded myself playing and it depressed me so much I've barely practiced for three weeks. Sigh.
January 5, 2019, 8:04 AM · New recording with the new camera - the zoom q2n
(the 16 caprice main video above was made with samsung phone):

I think it sounds pretty clean, no?

January 5, 2019, 9:26 AM · David, are you going take me up on my Paganini 16 query? Video yourself at slower speeds. (One at the tempo of my sight-read video and the other at the tempo of my "slower" video.)

On your Sarasate video: Still intonation issues, not as significant. But why do you use only the upper half of the bow?

January 5, 2019, 9:48 AM · You're gonna get nerve damage if you vibrate like that.
January 5, 2019, 9:55 AM · I enjoyed that one David!
Edited: January 5, 2019, 10:21 AM · @Jean dubuisson
Thank you

@Lydia leong:
I will soon record full "good" version with the new camera of the 16th caprice,
But why to play it slower? Maybe i will record it even faster.
The 16th caprice is reletevly easy in slow speed, it is hard when you play it fast.
It is harder to play and perform with it fast in my view then the 24th because it has so many notes and it is continuous and you can easily get confused and can make a mistake.

January 5, 2019, 10:25 AM ·
January 5, 2019, 11:26 AM · Cotton why do you think that would cause nerve damage?
Edited: January 5, 2019, 12:03 PM · David, the point of practicing slowly is to hear the tuning of every single note.
We can only speed up (a little at a time) when the fingers have learned to drop directly in the right spot without needing subsequent correction.
This is not just to speed up accurate performance, but to speed up our perception of the in-tune sounds, so we notice the tuning of even very fast passages.
Edited: January 5, 2019, 12:25 PM · "But why to play it slower? Maybe i will record it even faster."

That's the true secret of Heifetz, right? Played so damned fast so nobody could hear how bad his intonation was?

I hate to say it, David, but not only does Francesca sound better playing P16, she looks one hell of a lot better too. There's no amount of slow-practice going to help you there. :)

Edited: January 5, 2019, 12:49 PM · Sure, David. And if it's easy, I think we're all curious to hear how well you play it in a slower tempo. If it's easy, it should be immaculate when slower, yes?

Except... no. I strongly suspect that the reason you're resisting recording it slower is that you know it's just as out-of-tune and messy when it's slower. You're attempting to use speed as an excuse / mask for poor playing.

Edited: January 5, 2019, 4:11 PM · David, can you actually hear that Francesca is in tune and that you are not? We can. If you cannot, there is no earthly chance of your playing professionally.

You have talent, so please listen, to yourself and to our advice!

January 5, 2019, 3:06 PM · I frequently remind my students that if they can't play it slowly, then they can't play it fast.
Edited: January 5, 2019, 3:21 PM · I say that because I can see that he's pressing down on the poor thing with the combined force of a thousand suns. I'm surprised he doesn't flatten his strings—although it certainly sounds like they could indeed be flat.
January 5, 2019, 3:19 PM · So here is roughly 2/3 of the Caprice after roughly an hour of practice. As I mentioned earlier, this is a technical notch or so more difficult than what I'm meant to be working on, so a big challenge for my quick-study skills. There are plenty of mistakes but I think they are more of the nature of my left hand not knowing what it's doing at all, than playing the right notes out of tune!

Edited: January 5, 2019, 3:29 PM · Lydia asked about string crossing over multiple strings. Here is an excerpt from a practice method I am working on for all the Paganini Caprices. This is specifically about the 16th, although can be applied to the 2nd, etc. Hope this helps.Please understand that I haven't done much editing on this, so wording may be a bit unclear. Bruce


When performing a very fast piece with numerous of string crossings generally it is best to play as close to the middle of the bow as possible to eliminate as much vertical arm movement as possible. Also use as little bow as is necessary. If you do this then you will be forced to play closer to the bridge, which makes the string crossings even easier.

When going from a lower pitched string to a higher pitched string the right wrist and forearm moves in a circular, clockwise motion. The motion is initiated by the fingers reaching down as if to pick something up. (For example M1 beat 1 and M. 2 beat 1&2)

When going from a higher pitched string to a lower sounding string the right wrist and forearm moves in a circular counterclockwise motion. The motion is initiated by the upper arm and the elbow and the hand follows. (For example M1 beat 4).

Simon Fischer in his book “The Violin Lesson” illustrates this motion with an exercise in which the bow is placed at the heel on the E string . Then the bow is moved to the g string only by the forearm on a very short up bow stroke. (see Carl Flesch 6 )

When crossing over 3 strings the t should be in the wrist with little or no involvement of the upper arm. EG in m. 7 the bow is rocked over the A string quickly and without sounding it. It then grabs the E string notes while the bow arm remains in D string territory. You can also think that the bow hair is flat or even facing away from you on the down bows and on the edge on the up bows. The tip of the bow will also be pointing towards the scroll on the up bow and parallel to the bridge on the down bow. Similarly in M. 10 rock the bow over the D to the A string while the arm remains in G string territory.

When crossing in the same direction over 3-4 strings and over several beats, the movement of the arm should be gradual and in a circular motion. To get the feeling of this, practice slurred in groups of 4, 8, and even 16 notes. Eg in m. 1

Place the bow hair on the wood of the bridge while fingering with the left hand. The bridge will feel like it's one curved string, which will result in an awareness of the gradual change of angle when going from string to string. Be sure to always go through a double-stop level for a split second when changing strings, so that it doesn't sound like there are four distinct strings. Also notice how close the strings actually are. The distance from the A to E string and from the D to G string is very small if you think of playing on the left hand side of the E string and the right hand side of the G string.

Exercise: Take a pencil in your fingertips, as if you were holding a bow, and lift it towards the palm of your hand. Once this is mastered, which should happen fairly quickly, practice the same thing with the bow instead of a pencil, making sure that the entire bow moves parallel to the floor as it goes up and down. This finger motion is what is needed when changing strings. When skipping strings, like from D to E, imagine that the intermediate strings are going to be played next, the A string in this example, which will set your bow arm in motion. At the same time, lift the bow with the fingers, like in the exercise just mentioned, and then place the bow on the A string. Once this technique is mastered, you will be able to go from the G to the E string quickly and seamlessly, and the audience won't notice the large skip; it will sound as if an adjacent string is being played instead. This is a great skill to have when playing Bach, where one has to skip strings often.

January 5, 2019, 3:35 PM · great post Bruce! one question, why are string crossings easier nearer the bridge?
January 5, 2019, 4:01 PM · Bruce, your description is very similar to the method my teacher used when addressing the same problem I had that Lydia mentioned in her post of Jan 2 (the one with three videos). In particular, "the bow is rocked over the A string quickly and without sounding it" (quoting you, Bruce), is a crucial point and for me worked almost immediately.
January 5, 2019, 4:28 PM · thanks so much Bruce!!
January 5, 2019, 5:36 PM · David, with regard to your intonation: your finger spacing in the upper positions isn't right. You sometimes/sometimes don't land the shifts, but what happens afterward, at least to my ear, is that your second finger is sharp, then your third is a little sharper, then your fourth is even sharper, so that by the time you get to the top note of a series, it's a half step or more too sharp. Scales and four finger runs starting very slow and accelerating in different positions can help you refresh your memory on the different spacing as you go higher up the fingerboard.
January 5, 2019, 6:09 PM · Upward drift is a common flaw in amateur violin playing. I am subject to it. There's a general feeling that one's playing is more "brilliant" if it's a little higher in pitch. Then you check against an open string or a harmonic and you realize you're out of tune.
Edited: January 5, 2019, 6:27 PM · Human hearing goes out of whack in those registers. If you play exactly in tune, the audience may perceive it as being flat.

Not to say that Dave is playing in tune by any means.

January 5, 2019, 6:28 PM · As an audience member I really enjoyed David's Sarasate Introduction. It is a lot more in tune than his other videos.
January 5, 2019, 6:45 PM · I don't think it's a hearing perception issue. With my students, when I do a recording playback, they definitely hear it sounds off. It's 100% an issue of not narrowing finger spacing as you go higher up the fingerboard. Repetition solidifies wrong muscle memory in the body and wrong pitches in the brain.
January 5, 2019, 8:04 PM · For some of us our fingers start to rub together when we get up a certain ways on the fingerboard. Of course, eventually it must be so for everyone, even those with the thinnest fingers. And then there is Perlman whose fingers are like sausages. I think that's one advantage of getting to the level of 3-octave scales while you're still a child. You can "grow into" that problem and learn to move one finger out of the way of another gradually. It's probably very hard to learn that as an adult. Even as a returner I struggle with this.

Pianos are often stretch-tuned (octaves are artificially slightly widened) to accommodate anharmonicity.

January 5, 2019, 9:41 PM · David, why can’t you take a single critique? You asked everyone their thoughts on your playing, yet you don’t accept any of them. Instead, you basically act as if your opinion is superior to their’s even though they’re helping you become more advanced as a violinist. If you can’t take a critique, don’t put it on a public forum at all. And don’t make any excuses about how your phone is bad. People can see through the phone’s “problems” and see your level of playing clearly. If you think it’s that difficult to bring it to a faster speed, I don’t think you should be starting the caprices at all. Please just begin to practice slowly and get the idea that you are superior to others out of your head.
January 5, 2019, 9:47 PM · Paul, if you watch the video and listen to what's going on, you can see that it's not a situation of fingers not being able to get close enough. It happens with the whole steps, and in the lower of high positions, not up in the gerbil register. Each note gets successively sharper. I've taught Introducing the Positions to enough kids over 20 years that it's an extremely recognizable error. Relearning the correct spacing is corrected with scales and four finger drills.
January 5, 2019, 9:58 PM · Ah ha. Thanks, Bruce. I do quick string crossings (including the skip-one-string crossings) with that doorknob-turning motion, but that initiation with the fingers is what I needed to get a clean E/G cross. I'd need to practice it to do it as fast as this caprice requires, but at a Bach sort of tempo it worked instantly.
Edited: January 5, 2019, 10:06 PM · Julie my comment was more of a general nature. But I agree with you that this is one of the central reasons to practice scales. I did mine today! I worked on Db major -- a hard scale for me because there are not many good calibration points.
January 5, 2019, 10:08 PM · Ugh... Db? Is that even a real note?


January 5, 2019, 10:19 PM · Just check the minor second with the open D and use a regular pattern.
January 5, 2019, 10:21 PM · At the risk of sounding arrogant about such an accomplished violinist, Francesca Dego should not be playing it that fast. She is making compromises for speed - slight intonation blips, needing to slow down for string crossings, etc.
January 5, 2019, 11:19 PM · I'm curious if it's immaculate (and at that same speed) in Dego's Paganini 24 Caprices album. The album isn't on Spotify, so I can't satisfy my curiosity cheaply.
January 5, 2019, 11:50 PM · Paganini 16, you say? Are we all blushing now?

January 6, 2019, 2:06 AM · Look, we are doing our best to help David, but it could well be a complete waste of time. Sad, really.
Edited: January 6, 2019, 2:56 AM · This is really not about violin playing.

This is a mental health issue.

It happens a lot online. Pretty much every online community of any size over 50 participants attracts basket cases, pardon my expression.

That doesn't mean they're bad people, but online help does not work. These are people who are all Send and never listen or engage.

Edited: January 6, 2019, 4:09 AM · ok.i tuned the violin with a tuner, not by ear,
and recorded with the new camera - the zoom q2n,
this is probably the best that i can now play the 16th caprice:

January 6, 2019, 12:54 PM · David, now you need to use the tuner on every note of the Caprice...
January 6, 2019, 1:50 PM · Just out of curiosity David, what do you see and hear in the recording that needs work?

Here's my story, if it helps: I never really stopped playing after dropping my music major in college, but I definitely slowed down the intensity of my practice. I also stopped taking regular lessons and just went to a teacher every couple of years. I went months without touching the violin. I backslid during that time. It was hard for me to accept that I wasn't as good at 28 as I was at 19, (when I practiced 6 hours a day, took music classes, and had bi-weekly lessons). I decided after listening to my dismal audition tape for a community orchestra that I was not going to lose what I had as a teenager. I went back to basics- Kreutzer, scales, arpeggios, and I worked on pieces significantly below my highest level. By doing that, I developed a better understanding of how the violin works, and picked up new technical tricks that made my playing more musical.

After a couple of years, I was better than I had been and I continue to improve every day! But it took humbling myself and accepting the reality of my playing, not the fantasy. Don't squander your talent to protect your ego. I wish you all the best

January 6, 2019, 1:50 PM ·
Edited: January 6, 2019, 3:54 PM · I would suggest that the inappropriate (on this forum) term "basket case" could be replaced with some neutral wording such as “mental health issues”.
Edited: January 6, 2019, 3:03 PM · indeed. David, like many have said before, it really does not make any sense to play something where almost every note is out of tune. you obviously have talent and a good left hand, a heritage from your strong training when you were younger. if it makes you feel any better, you probably have more talent and a better left hand than me but I am just a humble amateur. but you have to play in tune! playing in tune is an obligation for every musician, not only something for pianists!

you are probably sick of this piece by now, but the way you should have practiced this piece is as follows. play the first group of 4 notes plus the next one. practice that sequence of 5 notes until you have it in tune at the speed you want. now practice the second group of 4 notes plus the next one. and finally the third group of 4 notes plus the next one. at that point you can now practice on connecting the three groups, and hurray, you have one full measure in tune and in tempo! (the "next note" is done to connect each group to the next one.) in the same way you can practice the second measure. the third measure, the fourth measures. now try to play the first four measures. hurray! and so on for the next four measures. after that you can connect these two groups of four measures and voila, you have the first three lines of the piece (at least in my edition of the music). and so on and so on. getting this Caprice in tune and in a reasonable tempo is very hard work. I know for a fact that I do not have such heaps of free time. I wish you all the best in pursuing the violin, probably as a very fine hobby, playing beautifully and in tune the pieces for which you can spend the time. and why not join an amateur orchestra! all my best wishes for 2019.

January 6, 2019, 2:51 PM · David, can you hear that this attempt is even more out of tune (and badly controlled in the right hand) than the previous attempts?
January 6, 2019, 4:10 PM · I agree with Trevor. While I have used Ironic British Humour on these two threads, I prefer to avoid insults.
January 6, 2019, 5:55 PM · I’m glad that you are physically able to play it up to that speed. However, since it is a Paganini caprice, I believe that it should be “on the next level” if you will. Your first step to getting there should be that you should slow it down and focus on every note for the time being. You mentioned that you had a tuner, and I think it would tremendously help you if you went through every note very slowly (extremely) and tuned it with your tuner. Once you have the correct pitches and notes under your fingers, then you can speed it up and add accents (etc). I’m just an amateur as well, and going through every note extremely slowly to make sure it is on point helps me out very much. I hope this helps you! :)
January 6, 2019, 6:41 PM · "I tuned the violin with a tuner, not by ear."

This one sentence is incontrovertible proof that he's either a completely hopeless mental case, or the whole thing is a ruse.

January 6, 2019, 8:56 PM · Well, that does explain why the open strings are out of tune. They should be truly perfect fifths, and the equal-temperament tuning is wrong.
Edited: January 6, 2019, 9:31 PM · Actually i think I've played great here.
I tuned it with the tuner and it sounds sharper and cleaner that way.
My ears are not a tuner, therfore sometines it changes.
Overall i think it was pretty clean and fast and without mistakes so i pretty
Proud of it.
As i said - if you want perfect tune you should be pianists.
January 6, 2019, 9:41 PM · Violin is like human voice,
How many singers have voice that is perfect in tune?
If it sounds reasonable and you can listen it, its okay for me.
Maybe it isn't enough for classical violinist, but as i said i define myself as "Classical - Pop". In this too.
A new style that intends to combine "Catchiness" and high proffesional abilities.
January 6, 2019, 9:52 PM · Classical opera singers do sing in tune.

Pop singers sometimes can be horrible, but they have many other skills and aspects to help attract fans and make their music more appealing: autotune, catchy hooks, dancing skills, marketing their image. Since you're playing an acoustic instrument, nothing can help you better your sound aside from yourself, so play in tune is a must, no matter "pop" or not.

Edited: January 6, 2019, 10:00 PM · Your problem isn't that it's not perfectly in tune. Your problem is that it is so extremely out of tune that you're actually blurring the sense of what the pitch is. We're not talking about the fine gradations of intonation that allow you to, say, bring out the harmonic structure (although for this piece, that would be an appropriate expectation). We're just talking about getting in the general neighborhood of the right pitch.

This latest video is so out of tune as to essentially be entirely unlistenable. (My husband and toddler begged me to turn it off.) It's much worse than the previous attempts, and it's astonishing that you can't hear that. (By itself, that's a disqualification for playing professionally.)

Pop / rock / jazz / violinists and fiddlers play in tune, too. Your level of pitch deviation would be totally unacceptable outside classical circles as well. Check out Lady Gaga's violinist playing some Ysaye: VIDEO LINK

Edited: January 6, 2019, 10:14 PM · Most of the known music on radio and television and on youtube etc. including many live performances, was recorded with high proffesional equipment and was "polished" by music technicians. when i will record a cd in a studio (if it will happen) it will sound better too.
For "live" playing like mine that was recorded on pretty average sound recorder and without any proffesional "polis" i think it sounds great.
Edited: January 6, 2019, 11:24 PM · This is seriously not a recording issue. For that matter, if you'd actually play it slower, you might have a chance at hearing how hugely out of tune you are. If you were a vocalist, there'd be a significant chance that auto-tune software would actually auto-correct to the wrong note, that's how large your deviations are.

YouTube is filled with live video performances of this caprice shot with smartphones, so it can be readily proven that no, your issues are not just a recording artifact.

Even Chris Keating (who deserves kudos for bravery for posting his early effort) is more in tune than you are.

Edited: January 7, 2019, 12:42 AM · David, you've been shown two recordings of amateurs, both recording on amateur equipment after spending less than one hour on this caprice. Both Lydia and Chris will be the first to tell you they are nowhere near professional level, and they are playing better after less than an hour than you are after more than a month.

How much more obvious does it need to be that you are not currently at "high professional" level? And what kind of advice are you looking for if you're going to reject any suggestion that your playing needs improvement?

Edited: January 7, 2019, 2:04 AM · I take up three points:
- Most (not all!) professional opera singers have a vibrato so wide and violent that their intonation is irrelevant.
- BUT, the timbre of a violin demands finer intonation, and a much narrower vibrato, than the voice of a singer.
- David, you suggest that we change to the piano if we want to play in tune, and also you can't hear anything wrong with your playing. We can weep at your lack of musical ear, but any audition jury or artist's agent would just laugh at your pretentiousness.

January 7, 2019, 3:49 AM · It's the fastest violinist of all time again!
Such a honor to hear you've been practicing. Your Caprice 16 is almost perfect, it only needs more speed. Like, really, way more speed. Your intonation is good enough, don't waste any more time, all you got to do is speed now. I calculated you are at 208.56 bpm. Average, Pythagorean mean. Standard deviation about 30. 43 bpm.
Listen, you really must hit the 350 bpm in order to really master this piece, remember you're the fastest violinist in the world, you can't perform at just 208.56, that's for beginners. It's Paganini, who cares about tone or musicality?
It's Paganini!
Indeed I would just play all in first position, it's a sacrifice, yeah, specially for the higher passages, but again, it's Paganini! Who cares about the melody or accurate notes? You want that? Well then listen you all to Brahms or some slow pieces for humans at just 240 bpm. David meanwhile will hit the 350 and you will all see!
January 7, 2019, 4:01 AM · Tim, I fear David will take you "compliments" literally.
You are not helping!
Edited: January 7, 2019, 6:21 AM · Hook, line, and sinker. Y'all have been bamboozled. The funniest part is that after this thread fades off, in a couple of months he'll do it again.
January 7, 2019, 9:26 AM · Indeed, time to end this thread, best for all involved.
January 7, 2019, 9:30 AM · I'd still love to see more people take the three-hour challenge. It's kind of a neat process. :-)
January 7, 2019, 10:33 AM · I still have two hours to go!


January 7, 2019, 10:50 AM · Okay, Lydia. I'll make you a deal. I'll take the three-hour challenge with P16, if you agree to actually listen to it. I'll be doing my best, but it's going to sound BAD.

Cotton wrote, "Just check the minor second with the open D and use a regular pattern." Wow ... why didn't I think of that? Everything's so simple in your world. You should be a violin teacher or something. (Preferably the "or something".)

January 7, 2019, 10:52 AM · It warms my heart to know that I've made such a positive difference in your life.
Edited: January 7, 2019, 11:20 AM · No wonder classical music so unpopular,
You spend most of the time on "Tuning" the music then on actually playing...
You are Boringggg!!!.

Seriously- i played the 24 caprice, one of the hardest pieces for violin, in the fastest speed in the world. And you said it isn't "musical" enough,
What??? It is the fastest! In the world!!!:

I played "The bee" of schubert again - much faster then most performences and you said: "it isnt in rhythm":

I played the "Air" of bach with 1 bow for the long notes, and you say ot isnt interesting:

And now with the 16 caprice you tell me to play it slow. It is boring! Slow (at least when i play it slow).
And as i said - i play "Classical Pop" not classical music - the idea is to combine "catchiness" and "high level performance",
And yes, that includes sometimesto compromise some things for speed for example in order not to be boring, Even intonation, as long as it is reasonable.

The intonation is reasonable, i work on intonation and hear it near my ear and it is ok.

January 7, 2019, 11:51 AM · The intonation is nowhere near reasonable. If you think it is ok in your ear, then you clearly need to use a tuner everyday. Did you read a single comment I wrote? Why can’t you just take our advice? If you want to try to take on music professionally, you need to have patience and practice slow. At this point, you are clearly never going to get there. You need to focus on each individual note and always find somewhere to improve. Playing pieces fast does not mean that it is musical. For crying out loud, your upbow staccato was you just you throwing your bow at your violin like you were angry at it. I’m trying to be helpful, but you aren’t taking any of our help. By the way, for something to be “catchy” and “high level performance”, the player should be playing the right notes, and intonation should be spot on.
January 7, 2019, 12:14 PM · "Slow is boring" is probably not a statement you should ever make to a professional musician.

David, try taking a slow-downer app to your recording, so you can actually slow it down sufficiently for you to hear and process what you played. The intonation deviations are large enough for them to be clear to everyone else even at full tempo. But I hope that a slow-downer would help you also hear them.

January 7, 2019, 12:19 PM · You guys ... hook and bait are already in. Going for sinker.
January 7, 2019, 1:00 PM · Maybe someone (Lydia?) could start a separate thread for the Paganini 16 challenge? I'm going to look at it tonight, but I'm not saying I'm taking up the challenge yet.
Edited: January 7, 2019, 1:08 PM · Aha! I summoned the FASTEST VIOLINIST in the WHOLE UNIVERSE!!!!
I'm glad I did, cause now things can only speed up. Come on David, give 'em hell, hit the 499 bpm in the 24th caprice, kill the boring pieces, stun the audience!
The bee? What bee, that drunk bee hitting walls and zing-zagging at just 234bpm?
Come on David, I know you can hit at least 2400 bpm on that one, put the metronome on fire, turn your violin into a fire pit! That's how you play the bee.
Did you know the translation for that german piece is actually "fire ant"?
But an "ant" is a stupid slow animal, so it changed to fire bee. Fire bee isn't real and it triggered heavily animalists since it was a very aggressive titling for a piece, so later bee was introduced.
And why are you wasting your time with that 56 bpm Air piece? What in heavens are you thinking David? Do you think you will get anywhere practicing those Suzuki 1 speed pieces?
I'll tell you what, I want you to become an ultrasonic violinist, that means, you will create the illusion of faking a piece but in reality you will be playing it so fast light comes to audience way before sound, so everything will be unsynced. How about that, David? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Aim for that, David, become the first FASTEST GREATEST ultrasonic 2300W violinist! Unleash three-phase performance at almost 207.85V!!! Give 'em show!
January 7, 2019, 1:55 PM · I think a 3 hour challenge post would be great! (Anything to get off this thread)

Could we have 3 different challenges so everyone can have a go? Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced?

January 7, 2019, 1:58 PM · Strange that nobody here has yet mentioned that ultimate speed target in violin playing (in the public's perception at any rate) - Paganini's Moto Perpetuo. People seem to forget that Paganini expected it to be played at allegro, not presto or prestissimo, and was looking for accuracy in all departments combined with the musicality the piece demands.
January 7, 2019, 2:24 PM · Great idea, Julie.

New thread: LINK

Paganini #16, Kreutzer #11, and Wolfhart op. 45 #3 are my suggestions for the three levels.

January 7, 2019, 7:13 PM · The saddest part is you actually have the potential to sound good, you just aren't taking anybody's advice.
Edited: January 7, 2019, 7:23 PM · David,

I just went to the other side of the room to pick up my socks after being blessed with your stunning recording of Schubert's l'Abeille, but not having found them after 20 minutes I can only assume that, not only did you knock my socks off, but you have completely eviscerated them. Perhaps even sent them to a parallel universe. The sheer speed of your fingers and the brilliance of your tone is clearly capable of pulling apart the fabric of space and time. The universe is not ready for a violinist of your majesty!
I must warn you, however, that going too fast may actually have the opposite effect from your intention because of special relativity. Your fingers and bow are moving at such a rate of speed that they nearly transcend the speed of light, and this of course may make it appear that you are playing more slowly to an outside observer while you perceive yourself as playing faster. Maybe try to keep it below that limit. But of course, who is a lowly labourer such as myself to make suggestions to the great David Krakovich! Play as you wish.

January 7, 2019, 7:27 PM · I decided against the challenge because I’d need 4 hours.
January 7, 2019, 8:33 PM · This guy is hands down one of the greatest trolls to grace in a very long time.
January 8, 2019, 12:46 AM · ..and we kind folk fall for it!

We could gather all our good advice into a single document..

Edited: January 8, 2019, 1:41 AM · Ok. Please take an headphones, put the 16 caprice that i played, or the "introduction" by sarasaye , that i shot with the new camera on high voulme and listen carefully. Preferably with close eyes.
It is reasonable intonation.

I played solo as a kid and teenager in alot of official events, including to israeli prime minister, and got many good reviews, if it wasn't reasonable you think it could happen?

There's definitely a distortion, you saw the differences by yourself Between the phone and the new camera.

January 8, 2019, 1:44 AM · If it sounds better and cleaner when you hear it with g
Headphones and close eyes carefully - it is the camera distortion problem that makes it sound out of tune with speakers.
Edited: January 8, 2019, 3:27 AM · I changed the audio frequency on the camera to 96k (highest) from what it was - 44.1(lowest), i think now it might sound cleaner.
you don't think it is reasonable intonation?

Edited: January 8, 2019, 4:40 AM · David, we don't ask you to perform slowly, but to practice slowly.

Retraining the ear can require endless patience, and total vigilance while performing, even at speed.

In first position, your left hand is well trained, but higher up, you are usually hopelessly out of tune. Cheap microphones and speakers, or low sample rate, affect tone but not intonation.

If intonation is not your priority, please, please don't inflict your violin on the public. It's not funny anymore.

Edited: January 8, 2019, 7:20 AM · Did you close your eyes Adrian? If you do, here is what you might see:

Edited: January 8, 2019, 8:02 AM · sure David, in that Spring sonata fragment you just posted, the intonation is certainly reasonable. very different from your Pag 16 where almost every note is out of tune. but, as Adrian said, this has nothing to do with equipment but with the piece itself and how you play it.
Edited: January 8, 2019, 8:04 AM · Jean dubuisson -
ok. So it might be the setting of the camera and the distortion,
Because i changed only them.
I recorded another piece with the new setting : "Zigunerweizn",
I will upload it in the upcoming houres.
I think it sounds better too.
January 8, 2019, 8:04 AM · David you also changed the piece you play!
Edited: January 8, 2019, 8:53 AM · Jean dubuisson - i played the same "spring" few days ago with the previous settings and people said the intonation is very bad:
I too can feel the difference:

Few days ago (previous audio settings)

Today(New audio settings):

January 8, 2019, 9:12 AM · Nate, I reckon there are two species of troll, one the mischievous deliberate kind, the other the one who doesn't know it, and possibly never will.
Edited: January 8, 2019, 9:27 AM · Trebor jennings,
This discussion was actually very helpful and productive, seriously.
Becuase i bought a new camera and changed the settings on it and now it sounds much better, you don't think so?
maybe it will help other people too.
it is clear that the audio setting on camera and the phone distorted significantly the sound.

People here said that camera settings and recording on phone doesn't affect the sound but it clearly does.

Edited: January 8, 2019, 12:05 PM · David, I agree that audio settings on camera and phone will distort the sound to a greater or lesser extent - but not in all respects. The one thing that cannot be affected by the audio equipment is the intonation. Poor intonation will show up on poor recordings as it also will on top studio recordings.

The only thing I can think of is that a poor quality recording (noise, poor equalisation for example) could conceivably distract the listener's attention from poor intonation content, possibly even more so if the listener is also the performer; but the poor intonation is still there and will be observable both by a careful listener and on screen in spectrogram mode. This is a good argument for getting the best recording equipment one can afford. It will reveal more clearly what is there, warts and all!

January 8, 2019, 10:21 AM · Hi,David,
I listened to your rendition of part of the 'spring' sonata.
Your intonation (or playing in tune) sounds better than the
Paganini.This is because the piece of music is less technically
challenging.My advice would be to play pieces of this difficulty
'in tune' before moving on to more difficult pieces.
Also,I know,as an adult learner,it seems to be harder to take
criticism,without feeling offended(its like our ego gets bruised!)
When we are children,we do as we are told because we look up to
parents and elders,and music teachers,etc.
I have found that if someone gives me tips or criticism,
I take it humbly and appreciate their time taken to help me.

Remember learning is a journey,

January 8, 2019, 12:11 PM · I agree with Nate and Paul. We are being trolled hook, line, and sinker.
Some advise from a Master of yesteryear.

"Enlarge your playing, make the instrument sing and don't just play 'notes'
Virtuosity without music is nothing. Every note, every sound, must live, sing.
Music above all."

Eugene Ysaye.

January 8, 2019, 12:55 PM · Great quote.
Edited: January 8, 2019, 1:51 PM · Ok. This is the "Zigunerweizn" with the new audio settings, 
It isn't easy nor "just first position" as the "spring"
I think it sounds pretty clean with the new settings. 
(Im still working on it ,therfore it is just parts of it)

Edited: January 8, 2019, 2:08 PM · Play at 10000 notes a second YEAH!!!
Also, your caprice No. 24 was nasty - why can't you just slow down? If you are playing too fast, your intonation and overall abilities will just suffer. Please get some help from a teacher.
I'm 14, and I'm pretty sure I could learn maybe the first 3 variations somewhat decently in maybe 2 hours.
Also, your bow seems to be strangely tight.
January 8, 2019, 2:07 PM · I'm looking forward to hearing that in video form, Nina.
Edited: January 8, 2019, 2:14 PM · Sure, I'll try and squeeze it in (between all the loads of orchestral music I have to learn by Friday, yikes). I'd rather do that then do my English project.
January 8, 2019, 2:16 PM · Nina roco,
The 24 caprice was recorded with the phone!, samsung phone (iphone is much better for this),
Now i have the new proffesional camera and it should sound much better.
I will record it again too soon.
The "Zigunerweizn" isn't easy too. And it sounds pretty good i think, no?
Edited: January 8, 2019, 2:28 PM · "Zigeunerweisen" = "Gypsy Errors."

How he keeps a straight face is beyond me.

January 8, 2019, 3:43 PM · The issue isn't with the recording quality, as LITERALLY EVERYONE ON THIS THREAD TOLD YOU. The problem is you not practicing slowly. Here's a vid from a RENOWNED PIANO PROFESSOR (still applies to violin though) on the importance of practicing slowly.
By the way, his stuff is great - particularly the 10 things every serious pianist does daily. His stuff is super high quality. Also, Eddy Chen's YouTube channel has some of the best violin tutorial vids.
January 8, 2019, 3:48 PM · Hey, David, I cHaNgEd My MiNd! YoU should AuDiTiOn FoR a ToP cOnSeRvAtOrY aNd SeE hOw ThAt GoEs!!!
January 8, 2019, 7:45 PM · He's not a troll. Trolls aren't his age & don't spend this long on one community. It's completely plausible that David is serious.
January 8, 2019, 8:06 PM · Kate there's not a soul alive who could play the Zig like that and honest-to-God think it sounds good.
January 8, 2019, 8:48 PM · Paul, regarding your comment:
"there's not a soul alive who could play the Zig like that and honest-to-God think it sounds good."

You know those students who come in a week before the final exam, asking you what they need to do to pass, despite the fact that they've missed 1/3 or more days of class*?

*because obviously, they could have passed, but why bother going to class and learning all unimportant nonsense?

January 8, 2019, 9:31 PM · David, just because you were playing well when you were young, under the guidance and monitoring (and correction) of a teacher, and practicing a lot, doesn't mean that you're doing so now.

Certainly I'm not playing anywhere near as well as I did as a teenager. Importantly, I retain much of the self-awareness / self-criticality of those younger years, so I'm aware of my deficiencies.

January 8, 2019, 9:48 PM · Julie, yes I have had those kinds of students. But they generally actually have a pretty good idea where they stand, and when challenged they admit that they shouldn't have done that, and they concede that they probably haven't really learned anything. But then, these students are hoping to PASS so that they can continue in some other major that just happens to require CHEM. They're not hoping to become professional chemists.

More relevant are the students who come every day, do all the homework, attend office hours, and still get miserable exam grades. When they say, "My exam score doesn't reflect my knowledge or understanding," that's closer to what we have here, and it's hard to rectify. But I've never seen one nearly so recalcitrant as this OP.

January 8, 2019, 10:13 PM · The intonation for "Spring" is within tolerance for an intermediate-level amateur, but not for an advanced player (whether amateur or pro). Can you hear that there are still many notes that are out of tune, and that when you repeat a pitch in a passage, you're not consistently hitting the same place? I'm guessing you might not actually be hearing it, because many players would attempt to cover for the error immediately -- for instance, widening the vibrato to try to mask the deviation, or slightly moving the finger.

You have fast fingers. Indeed, you may have enough speed that you are playing faster than your ears/brain can catch the errors.

January 9, 2019, 4:56 AM · Ok. I recorded 2 new versions of the 16 caprice with the new settings of the camera that seem to make it sound clean:
1. Nice and clean version with "normal" speed.
2. The fastest in the world -"crazy" version.
And i will upload them later.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 5:01 AM · Ok. I recorded 2 new versions of the 16 caprice with the new settings of the camera that seem to make it sound clean:
1. Nice and clean version with "normal" speed.
2. The fastest in the world -"crazy" version.
And i will upload them later.

January 9, 2019, 5:11 AM · I actually just facepalmed.
January 9, 2019, 9:32 AM · This is the new recording of the caprice with the improved audio
Settings on the zoom q2n:

Edited: January 9, 2019, 10:01 AM · Come on, David, we've talked about this. You're concentrating too much now in intonation, clarity, camera settings and musicality. For the hundredth time, it's PAGANINI!!!
Don't waste your and our time and blast the damn metronome up. You know, I think you don't have the proper gear to practice Paganini sheet music. You need what's known as "skyrocket" metronome, which is a NASA device that goes up to 13499bpm at laboratory conditions (25ºC and 1atm), marking clear and precise "clicks" for these fast tempo pieces. I know, I know, 13499 bpm is not that much if we're talking about the fastest violinist of the entire Universe, but at least it's something to start from.
I met this girl once, shaved head for aerodynamics, that was practicing 16th caprice, and she was using a prototype of a 2nd gen "rocketlauncher" metronome that was able to mark up to 15999 bpm. Problem is her bow was made of your regular premium old pernambuco wood, so it was actually slowing her quite a lot. Since you are lightning fast, I believe you can go up to 20000 bpm for sure, but you would need to give up wood bows and start using induced electromagnetic photon bows. Ain't nothing like a lighting bow to really, REALLY play Paganini.
January 9, 2019, 10:01 AM · Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to what we just saw:

January 9, 2019, 10:11 AM ·
Edited: January 9, 2019, 11:38 AM · Nate Robinson
You know i played to Netanyahu solo as a kid? When he was first elected to prime minister.
It wasn't the reaction.

Also - my academical proffesion is politics,and I'm a politician in israel,
And I'm pretty strongly against him in israeli politics, therefore he might have such face because of me now, but for different reasons...

January 9, 2019, 11:50 AM · Instead of blowing off money on cameras/audio recorders like Paganini did on gambling, why don't you get a better violin and bow?
January 9, 2019, 11:50 AM · Instead of blowing off money on cameras/audio recorders like Paganini did on gambling, why don't you get a better violin and bow?
January 9, 2019, 12:07 PM · Hi David, the issue is NOT that you should perform the 16th caprice slowly. It is meant to be "presto". The issue is that you should PRACTICE it slowly at first and then gradually speed it up after you have corrected the intonation. I hope that clears things up a little. You have posted a bunch of recordings of the same piece with different levels of sound quality, but your intonation is not fixed in any of them.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 12:31 PM · Nina roco,
You right, this violin is very cheap,
But I'm not a proffesional violinist,
I'm still thinking about it.

If i will decide to go to play proffesionaly (people here seem to be categorically against it...)
I will buy or rent a better violin of course.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 12:51 PM · Michael pijoan,
I agree. Seriously. There are some places that need intonation improvements.
And i have to work slow on them.
But i think that it clear now with the new camera that the intonation is overall reasonable,
And that the phone recording distorted it significantly:
Here is the comparison:

Phone version:

"zoom q2n" camera version (with 96k on audio settings):

Edited: January 9, 2019, 2:00 PM · The sound is better, but it's still out of tune outside first position. If you don't hear this, please stop playing. We at are having a great time wetting ourselves, but innocent folk watching you on YouTube might think this is normal violin playing. I find that downright dishonest! No wonder you want to be a politician!
January 9, 2019, 2:46 PM · Hi David, I have some advice for you. Audition for some professional orchestras. There are a number of ways you can find auditions, one of which is by browsing postings. A lot of people I know have gotten jobs using and similar websites. Additionally, contact orchestras near you and ask them if they have any auditions coming up. If they don't, ask them if you can audition for their substitute list. At the very least, give their HR team your contact information and request to be placed on their email list.

Get their list of orchestral excerpts and learn them. Then go to an audition and see how it goes. If they confirm your own assessments of your playing, then come back here and tell us all that we were wrong. If not, then use it as a learning experience and you may find that we were actually trying to help you all along. Good luck.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 3:52 PM · Micheal, I fear your post has too many words (and maybe not enough pictures?)

David, are you by any chance confusing "tone" and "intonation?" Or "tone" and "in tune"?

January 9, 2019, 4:22 PM · This was the "slow" version of the caprice.
I also recorded "fastest in the world" version.
I will upload it in the upcoming hour
January 9, 2019, 4:33 PM · Well, I'll have another go: Okay, your intonation is still very poor. If you think it's good, well, you're wrong, but let's move on to your bow hand. Your right arm is quite low and you hit the notes on the lower strings with force rather than angle. It's what's causing that crunchy sound. You're also not phrasing anything correctly at all. Not your slow pieces, not your fast pieces. You have accents on random notes, which destroys the musicality of the line. You don't seen to have any idea what the musical phrase is. Perhaps look at the sheet music and mark the phrases? It's not coherent. The effect to the listener would be similar to listening to someone deliver a speech who is accenting all the wrong words and syllables and occasionally yelling random words. It's very unpleasant to listen to.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 4:57 PM · Ok. This is the "Fastest in the world" version of the 16 caprice.
I played it within 1:15 minutes (the average for the fast versions is about 1:30 minutes)

January 9, 2019, 6:47 PM · Good golly. Now not even the first position notes are in tune. And there's more string noise than tone.
January 9, 2019, 8:02 PM · My sense of pitch isn't as good as it used to be, but I did feel a bit the way Mary Ellen felt.
January 9, 2019, 9:47 PM · You should listen to Michael's advice and audition for a professional orchestra.

I know, it's probably beneath you as the world's best soloist, but it would be a good way to prove us all wrong.

January 10, 2019, 2:50 AM · Some parts are actually impressively fast, but the sound during the string crossings at that speed is pretty hilarious.
January 10, 2019, 7:04 AM · Kate j
My academical proffesion is politics (Political Science), and I'm a politician in israel that promoting a new party and political candidacy to the office of israeli prime minister for the last years.(Very serious!).

Now we have elections in israel, and if i will not be elected I'm thinking seriously about proffesional violin playing as main work. (Alongside with the political activism things as secondary job).
That's why I'm here- to consult with people from the sphere about my chances as professional violinist.
I really don't know where i stand exacly in terms of level of playing.

Also - i checked the salaries of the orchestra players, and they are very low!, it is almost a minimum wage.
In israel we don't have many options too, this is a small country, so I'll probably will have to move to other country or to think about something else -
So this is a very big decision to make for me.

The salaries of musicians is a very serious political issue, that I'm dealing in politics too, very not attractive and unfair an low in my opinion in most cases. All over the world.

January 10, 2019, 1:32 PM · Don't think about salaries yet, just audition for a professional orchestra. Auditioning is good practice and you'll learn a lot. The result will give you a good idea of where you stand in terms of your level of playing, which is something you asked for.
Edited: January 10, 2019, 7:01 PM · David, with one exception*, all of the professional violinists that I know who attended conservatoire (perhaps ten individuals) are playing in fee-for-service orchestras and teaching. About half of those live in the DC area, where there are salaried orchestras. The other half live near me, where there is no salaried orchestra nearby. The difference between their musicianship and yours is enormous. My teacher is one of them -- he is a Russian who lived in Israel for a while and eventually emigrated to the US at least partly because the opportunities are so much better here.

*The exception is someone who built a successful career as a chamber player, supplemented with teaching. The difference between his musicianship and yours is so large that I can't even begin to describe it.

Look at the Jerusalem Quartet. Those guys are unbelievable, phenomenal players. Their recording of Beethoven Op. 18 makes me cry, it's so good. I listen to it again and again. I try to play along (and then I cry because my skill is so inferior.) I'll bet even for them it is not easy to make a living.

It is interesting to hear you say that musicians' salaries are a "serious political issue" in Israel. Do they have a labor union? The musicians unions in the US are only strong in certain contexts and places in America. But the union is like a rising tide. For example even as an amateur jazz pianist I get a fair number of gigs, and the local musicians (a combination of amateurs and pros) has convinced a fair number of venues to raise musicians' pay to the union minimum (or more) even though not all of the players are union members.

January 10, 2019, 9:27 PM · Thread whose title seems to have been deleted, which has cool stuff with Ruggiero Ricci playing this caprice: LINK

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