'Fastest in the world' caprice no. 16 by Paganini

Edited: January 12, 2019, 8:26 AM · This is my "Fastest in the world" version of the 16 caprice of Paganini.
I played it within 1:15 minutes (the average for the fast versions is about 1:30 minutes).

I've recorded also the "Screaming cat" version- Turbo version, which is even faster
(1:10 minutes),
It is kind of a "joke" version:

Update 2:
"57.5 seconds" version- Caprice No.16 by Paganini:

Replies (90)

January 9, 2019, 5:35 PM · No. I won't.
January 9, 2019, 5:35 PM · Oh Jesus Christ!
January 9, 2019, 5:36 PM · Know what? If I played it, it would sound about like that. And that's not a compliment. I don't know why you can't take anyone's advice, but this is getting old.
January 9, 2019, 5:43 PM · Very good! It's excellent. I wish I could play like you.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 5:58 PM · This version is about speed. not musicality.

This is the "Normal" version:

Edited: January 9, 2019, 5:58 PM · I liked the speed version better. It was actually more musical, I think.
January 9, 2019, 6:05 PM · I do not think David Garret could play it any faster, and coming from an amateur violinist I think this is quite good.
January 9, 2019, 6:15 PM · I have even faster version -"Turbo" version. 1:10 minutes.
But i don't dare to upload it.
I call it "Screaming cat" version.

You want to see it?

January 9, 2019, 6:18 PM · I agree with Jeff. His playing is not as bad as some people commented on it in the previous thread.
January 9, 2019, 6:39 PM · Thank you very much Matt. As an amateur player myself I just naturally want to praise and encourage others rather than demean and abase them.
January 9, 2019, 6:56 PM · Cotton Mather
The "slow", "Musical" version is too one of the fastest in the world (1:27).
January 9, 2019, 7:03 PM · This guy owns you all. Probably well over 100 man-hours have gone into y'all watching his stupid-ass videos and giving him all your heartfelt sincere advice. Just. Stop. Now.
January 9, 2019, 7:04 PM · Exactly Jeff! :-)
January 9, 2019, 7:05 PM · It was too slow in my opinion. Please upload the even faster version; I want to show my only student your videos so that they have an ideal to pursue.
January 9, 2019, 7:08 PM ·
January 9, 2019, 7:17 PM · Cotton mather
You sure?
I worned you!!!right? It is on your responsibility if something happens to your ears...

It is like a "Joke" version,"Screaming cat" - very very not musical, but full version and fast as hell.
1:10 minutes.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 7:26 PM · If I don't like someone, I would just stop following them or reading their posts. It's simple.

The OP isn't doing a crime.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 7:23 PM · This is the "Screaming cat" version- Turbo version
(1:10 minutes),
It is kind of a "joke" version:

January 9, 2019, 7:38 PM · That was slower than I expected. Still great, but I think you can push it to one minute on the dot with some more practise.
January 9, 2019, 7:57 PM · Several pianists can do the Minute Waltz in 1 minute. Maybe the "Minute Caprice" is yet to earn its name!
Edited: January 9, 2019, 8:07 PM · Cotton Mather
Now that you say it i have a new idea:
Why not to add violin to Olimpic sports?
What the difference from Rhythmic gymnastics for example?

Paganinis caprices are famously known for being also "Gymnastics for violin", no?
The performances in sports aren't always perfect too. This are a competitions and there are scores for the better ones.
It will bring public interest to the music and money.

I will consider it.

January 9, 2019, 8:05 PM · Matt wrote, " If I don't like someone, I would just stop following them or reading their posts. It's simple. The OP isn't doing a crime."

He has another entire thread on the same exact subject. So in addition to being a troll, he's a spammer.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 8:22 PM · Paul deck
We just got a new great and maybe even revolutionary idea
That can make classical music popular:
To add violin (and maybe other instruments) to olimpics sports.
Mainly on "speed" basis and "physical" part -
In violin there are the caprices and other pieces.
For piano there are pieces as Bethoven "moonlight" sonata.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 8:27 PM · Paul, while there are people who feel understandably annoyed, some others find it entertaining (not me though).

Anyway, matters like this will be up to Laurie as we aren't the forum police :-)

Edited: January 9, 2019, 9:18 PM · The classical music doesn't appeal to the public because it is boring!.
And it is boring because of such things and attitude-
I you see very fast violinist, playing one of the hardest pieces for violin (as all paganini's caprices) in the fastest speed, and what you are thinking about isintonaion problems.
The same thing with the pieces and the music itself. You don't try to be "appealing" and cacthy.

Therefore i started the new "Classical Pop" style. That intends to combine High level performane with "Catchyness"

January 9, 2019, 9:18 PM · So who's going to do the 'high level performance?'
January 9, 2019, 9:27 PM · Nate Robinson, could you please extend your critique? I've read your full message but didn't actually got what you really think.

David, I think the fastest one was the best of all them all, Paganini could only dream to play like you. I see my ideas are sinking slowly. So, when are you finally going to play the 16th all in first position, on just one string, under 50 seconds?
You know, it's Paganini, go big or go home, play all notes as a G and keep speeding it up until you can perform it with just one bow stroke.

January 9, 2019, 9:28 PM · That is a splendid idea, David! I'm on board all the way.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 9:41 PM · Paganini 16 is nowhere near "one of the hardest pieces for violin". I could name twenty off the top of my head that are significantly more difficult.

If you want to prove you are "international soloist level", why not show us Brahms violin concerto in your next video?

Edited: January 9, 2019, 9:47 PM · Kate j
It isn't hard when you play it slow.
Try to play it fully in 1:30 minutes and you will feel that it is very hard
January 9, 2019, 9:48 PM · Putting other things aside, I think David raises a good point about classical music. It does tend toward stuffiness and perfectionism that isn't broadly appealing.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 9:52 PM · In my view it even harder to perform then the 24th,
Because it has so many notes and it is continuous,
And in fast speed you can easily make serious mistake.
January 9, 2019, 9:58 PM · There's a difference between minute details of precision that only an especially knowledgeable audience-member will catch, and the basics of good musicianship, which include, among other things, the right notes at the right time -- reasonably accurate intonation and a strong sense of pulse.

The audience notices beauty and compelling musicianship. A player can deliver an enjoyable performance that's not immaculate. But there's a window of tolerance, so to speak, where insufficient skill becomes a serious distraction to a listener.

January 9, 2019, 9:58 PM · "Putting other things aside, I think David raises a good point about classical music. It does tend toward stuffiness and perfectionism that isn't broadly appealing."

Broadly appealing?
What do you think classical music is, some kind of ice cream flavor or radio songs?

People are stupid and ignorant, that's why most people don't listen to classical music.
How would a science TV show fight a reality stupid TV show?
I'll tell you: 95% against 5%, reality and science respectively.
No, thank you, I don't want to "realitycize" a good quality science show because people are dumb. I don't want to destroy classical music by doing God knows what to it.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 10:09 PM · Tim ripond,
To play slowly is a compromise too!.
And people feel it.
So what's better? To play faster and with some technical compromises or to play slow and very clean and accurate?
If you can do both of course it is better, but sometimes you have to compromise on something.

2.The classical music itself is boring in many cases - too long pieces in many cases. No flexibility in changing and mixing things.
No new instruments.
In pop anyone can name immediately handreds of pieces that he likes, in classical music there are few. And not in full version even.

January 9, 2019, 10:13 PM · My point is not that classical music should be dumbed down, but I'd rather watch/hear Roman Kim than a historically informed performance. There's certainly a large intellectual component to classical music that many people simply don't get, and there's a minimum level of technical perfection required to convey the music. I just think the pendulum can swing more towards freshness and feeling and away from tradition, intellectualism and perfectionism.
January 9, 2019, 10:41 PM · David, you clearly haven't been listening to any contemporary compositions.

Yes, there's stuff that's really hard to appreciate, but there are composers writing cool accessible things, too. (And one might argue that the present and future of accessible classical music has been film scores, for more than 50 years now.)

January 9, 2019, 11:04 PM · Tim wrote, “People are stupid and ignorant, that’s why most people don’t listen to classical music”

Wow, I don’t know how to comment on this idea, really.

January 10, 2019, 4:05 AM · Tim was just being facetious.
January 10, 2019, 4:29 AM · David, you're not that fast. Speed it up.
January 10, 2019, 5:20 AM · I don't know if I'm facetious or not, but let me explain:
How the rating will share between a classical concert in the TV, played by Heifetz, a reality show and a history channel?
I'll tell you: 3%, 85%, 12%.
How many albums will a jazz band and a DJ sell?
I'll tell you: 6.000 and 8.000.000.
When do TV channels put the high culture shows like live music of great artists?
They broadcast at 1AM or later, may be 3AM.
How much money a stupid typical sex movie will make compared to any decent film?
May be the ratio is 100:1?

There you go, people don't tend to make the high value decisions.

January 10, 2019, 7:55 AM · Hi,
To me (or us classical musicians) the only thing that really matters
is that we enjoy what we do.Given that most of our time is spent practising,
and not performing (at amateur level,anyway),Its a good thing to enjoy playing music.Sometimes I actually enjoy my practise more than some concerts,because
in practise,thats where the discoveries of how to do things happens.

By the way its nice to see David smile in his screaming cat version of paganini,If one can laugh at ones mistakes they are easier to accept,I reckon.


January 10, 2019, 8:20 AM · Honestly I really enjoyed the screaming cat version. And I agree with Malcolm, was nice to see you smile when playing!
Edited: January 10, 2019, 9:08 AM · Speaking of classical music reality TV, does anyone remember when PBS (or at least I think it was on PBS here in the US) did a "reality show" on becoming an opera singer? I don't recall the name of it now, but it was fascinating to watch. I bet the viewership was similar to Tim's statement about the jazz vs electronic dance music record sales.

I think people think that classical music is too "intellectual" when, at least for me, it is rather accessible (maybe not to play, but to listen to - definitely).

January 10, 2019, 11:14 AM · Ricci plays this caprice like a bat out of hell

January 10, 2019, 11:21 AM · When I sit down in front of the TV after a long day -- often my days are filled with intense mental work -- I do not want to be intellectually challenged. I want something that will be sufficiently entertaining that the stress of the day will be smoothed away, so much so that frequently I will fall asleep and have a nap of 20 minutes or so. Sometimes I read instead of TV but usually it's non-fiction that does not require a great deal of nuanced thought (currently "Fear" by Bob Woodward). I do listen to music and I do go to concerts, but often these activities occur on weekends when I do not expect as much of my mental bandwidth, and I often like to have a nap before I go to a recital if I can work it in. Sometimes I have piano or violin music on in my office whilst working but I am not focused on it, and I have to turn it off when I am having a meeting or working on a paper with a graduate student, etc.

In short there is a reason why so much of the media spectrum is low-level mindless entertainment -- because hard-working people need that to unwind.

January 10, 2019, 12:34 PM · Riccis version of the Paganini 16.....W o w...
January 10, 2019, 1:39 PM · Never heard of Ricci - judging from the release date of that recording, he must've been old school. Great recording.
January 10, 2019, 2:32 PM · https://youtu.be/OTBvbI2YoLg

Even fast playing needs vowels, not just consonants.

January 10, 2019, 3:40 PM · Was that supposed to be painful for listeners?
Edited: January 10, 2019, 5:14 PM · Matt and Jeff, and other sympathisers, in David's two long previous threads, I plead guilty to an exasperated irony rather than mockery, but many of us have shown enormous patience and goodwill only to have it thrown back in our faces. Most folk come to v.com for help or information, not adulation. David has insulted both us and our favorite instrument by putting out this mess on You-Tube and then rejecting our comments.

All of us probably miss notes from time to time, but we are never proud of the fact. And being careful about intonation is an absolute requisite for both amateurs and professionals alike, players or singers.

David, every "pop" violinist I have heard, and even enjoyed watching, plays in tune, with a clean technique, however fast they play, (and however skimpy their clothes!) But I think you are on the wrong forum..

January 10, 2019, 5:29 PM · Classical music is incredibly facinating, exciting and potent.

I once had a job to play once a week for handicapped children. It was in a kindergarten where all children were handicapped one way or other both on a physical and a mental level. I played simple childrens songs and both light and heavy classical stuff.

A little girl was both autistic to some degree and blind and could not talk only make sounds. She didn't like the high pitched violin but loved the viola. She was especially happy if I played Bach's Chaconne for solo violin (transposed to viola). She was sitting in a trampoline, rocking a bit and making sounds of utter joy when I played.

Another child loved if I played a violin etude that I had composed myself. He couldn't talk and he couldn't walk, but he could lie on his back on a soft surface and then move his legs in the air while making happy sounds when I played that etude.

Classical music is music for the soul. It is also music for the intellect, for the dreamer, for the lover and much more. Classical music can be soothing, dramatic, light, heavy, grandiose, passionate, cool, calm, simple, complicated and a lot more.

I am not saying that pop music isn't great; I am just saying that classical music has so much power.

Edited: January 10, 2019, 5:34 PM · The Ricci sounds almost too clean and too fast. I'm tempted to think he recorded it at a slower tempo and increased the speed later.
January 10, 2019, 5:45 PM · It can't be Ricci. There aren't any glissandos.
January 10, 2019, 6:29 PM · Yeah, I have no clue about Ricci, gotta look him up sometime.
Anyways, some violin pieces for David to noodle around with that are considerably harder than Paganini No. 16:
Ernst's Grand Caprice on Schubert's Erkronig (I probably spelled that wrong)
Ernst's Polytechnic Etudes (the last of which is the Last Rose of Summer)
Paganini's Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento Variations (which Ziyu He absolutely slayed in the 2016 Menuhin Competition Senior Division)
Paganini's Il Palpiti
Paganini Caprice No. 5
The Ysaye Solo Sonatas (most violinists have heard and will recognize No. 3, "Ballade")
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens (my favorite composer)
God Save the King/Queen (can't remember which one - or are they two separate pieces? Please help) by Paganini
La Campagnella by Paganini
Waxman Carmen Fantasy (I don't like this one that much - Hubay is the best version of Carmen Fantasy in my opinion)
Most of the standard concerto repertoire (Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven, Bruch, Goldmark, Wieniawski Concertos, Paganini Concertos, Bartok No. 2, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, etc.)
Valse Scherzo by Tchaikovsky
Literally anything by Paganini, Ernst, Wieniawski, or Sarasate
So uh, here are some fun pieces for you to take at 1000000000000000 bpm.
Edited: January 10, 2019, 6:58 PM · Literally anything by Wieniawski?
I played his Mazurka Obertas for my level 8 exam years ago (patriotic polak pride, yo). If I'd known caprice 16 was also within my reach at the time and even easier, I would have played that instead of my Bach.
Edited: January 10, 2019, 7:29 PM · Paul is joking about Ricci, I assume.

For you young'uns, Ricci is an amazing violinist of the previous generation. He died a few years ago. One of my childhood teachers studied with him.

Ricci was known for his Paganini and other virtuosic playing. Listening to that #16 from him, I have no doubt that he was capable of playing it at that speed. (Note that it comes at the cost of the cleanliness of the big multi-string crossings.) In fact, there's a live video performance of all 24 on YouTube: LINK. (Note that he was almost 70 by the time of that video, and well past his technical prime, so it does not come close to what he was capable of when younger.)

He wrote several books on technique that may be worth your while to read. They're certainly full of interesting, somewhat unconventional, ideas.

January 10, 2019, 8:11 PM · Hmm. I first heard of Ricci less than a year ago, and I'm 35. I'm a little surprised it took as long as it did for me to become aware of his existence... but then most of the recordings I own are from the digital era, and only a handful are from violinists born before Perlman.
January 10, 2019, 8:45 PM · Yes Lydia, of course.

Can't run away by deleting your thread title, David. :)

Edited: January 10, 2019, 9:56 PM · Adrian, while it is true that the sincere comments were not followed by the OP, an equally good amount of taunts and ridicule were thrown back at him, not only for his playing, and he still didn't hit back strongly.

What's more, we don't even know whether the OP's failure to follow advice was due to his recalcitrance or inability.

I found it a bit easier to sympathize with people thanks to previous volunteer teaching for mentally backward kids. You may find it harder if you don't have such experience.

January 10, 2019, 9:48 PM · The screaming cat version is fun. And the Ricci rendition is awesome. I haven't listened to him much but seems this was right up his alley - very old school.
Edited: January 10, 2019, 11:03 PM · Matt: I started following this late, but I notice that the ridicule only started after a few pages of OP responding dismissively and aggressively to sincere advice in his first thread two months ago, e.g. demanding that other people play the Paganini caprices or insisting that everyone criticizing him was jealous of his ability. That's a strange definition of "didn't hit back strongly." The taunting was over the top, but at the same time I don't think the assertion that OP is nowhere near professional level (or even the top amateur levels) needs sugar-coating.
Edited: January 11, 2019, 12:07 AM · Andrew, yes in that first thread, the OP did hit back strongly - by standards applied to normal people. And I was exactly the person (or one of the people) he said was jealous of him LOL!

But while his attitude improved in the second thread, the taunting was still there, if not worse (besides the enormous body of helpful advice). Most of us already knew how he would perform this time, but he still attracted comments and sidethreads like a magnet - and we all gave him attention voluntarily.

He even came back and did a parody video to entertain us.

His playing level shouldn't need any sugar-coating, but shouldn't be made any worse than it really is. That playing level could easily pass grade 8 (correct me if I'm wrong on this), and I don't think it is that annoying to the general public. It is not an abomination to the instrument. It is better than a majority who is learning, myself included.

Edited: grade 8 to Andrew’s comment below. My confusion.

Edited: January 11, 2019, 12:02 AM · I have no idea what Grade 9 is.

The only grade system I'm familiar with for music is the ABRSM system, which only goes up to 8.

Edited: January 11, 2019, 12:31 AM · Matt, ABRSM grade 8 is really only an intermediate level of violin playing. Call it a gateway to a pre-conservatory level of study. It's years away from a professional standard of playing. The videos of stuff that's not going at light speed and is fairly easy demonstrate that David has significant left-hand chops, but the accuracy and consistency (broadly, control) isn't currently at a pre-professional level. Moreover, the right-hand and tone-production control would, I think, still be of concern even if you judged this by grade 8 standards.

The Paganini #16 is really as problematic as people say, though, and it only gets more problematic with speed. What's really drawing the reactions is David's seeming inability to hear his intonation issues.

David's getting the reactions he's getting because he seems to want us to tell him that he's an awesome player and is totally ready to pursue professional study. Despite the fact that he theoretically came to this forum to ask if he could play professionally, he has rejected every response that indicates that this is improbable.

You'll note much kinder responses to videos in this forum in general, even when they aren't great. People mete out their responses accordingly. Amateurs asking to be judged by amateur standards, for instance, are generally done the kindness of not getting sharp critiques when unasked for. (I posted a video some time back asking for a critique, for instance, in which I drift sharp at times. Several people pointed it out nicely -- and those deviations were far less than David is exhibiting.)

Edited: January 11, 2019, 4:38 AM · ..and to pass ABRSM grade 8, we absolutely have to play in tune!

Or even grades 5 or 6..
A friend of mine is an ABRSM examiner, and said that if the playing is basically out of tune (as opposed to occasional "accidents") then the candidate is not playing what the composer intended and will not pass.

January 11, 2019, 2:51 AM · Thanks, Lars P S, for your post!

And, to be honest, I could NOT name hundreds of pop tunes I like (I like some), while I wouldn't be able to stop naming classical stuff I love.

January 11, 2019, 3:20 AM · Ok. I'm ready to try to do it even faster. Seriously.
I will put a watch today.
Maybe i can make it in less than a minute!.
January 11, 2019, 4:24 AM · "Thanks, Lars P S, for your post!"

+1 !

Edited: January 11, 2019, 9:53 AM · "It" (i.e. David's playing) "is better than a majority who is learning, myself included."

But this majority-who-are-learning don't advertise themselves on YouTube!

I'm a retired semi-pro, and still learning thanks to my students! My videos remain in the private domain..

January 11, 2019, 7:07 AM · I noticed in ABRSM Grade 8 that you can choose K10 or K35! Very different skill level, K35 is in a hard key and there are double stops and stuff. The only way to even those out would be to demand very high accuracy for intonation in K10.

ABRSM Grade 8 is Kabalevsky. A notch below the Bruch Level it seems.

Edited: January 11, 2019, 7:52 AM ·

Herman West wrote:

Thanks, Lars P S, for your post!


Adrian Heath wrote:

"Thanks, Lars P S, for your post!"

+1 !


You are welcome!

January 11, 2019, 9:32 AM · In the ABRSM system, there are 3 diploma levels above Grade 8: DipABRSM, LRSM (Licentiate) and FRSM (Fellowship).

The DipABRSM repertoire list has pieces such as Mozart 4 (1st mvt), Saint-Saens 3 (1st mvt) and Barber (1st mvt)

LRSM repertoire includes Lalo (1st mvt), Vieuxtemps 5 (1st mvt), Mendelssohn (1st) etc

Meanwhile the FRSM pieces are very much professional level ones, such as Beethoven (1st mvt), Prokofiev 2 (1st mvt), Tchaik (3rd mvt), just to name a few

January 11, 2019, 9:32 AM · Trinity diplomas are very similar in standard actually
January 11, 2019, 9:54 AM · I just played through the 16th caprice and it was so fast that it was inaudible to the human ear (but it made my dog bark). It took 1/100 of a nanosecond. Dare To Beat That!
Edited: January 11, 2019, 10:01 AM · To balance the impression from the speed - here are 2 pieces i recorded yesterday:
(Keep in mind that the zoom q2n isnt the best camera outhere, and maybe i don't know how to put the best audio settings on it, therefore it might still have some distortion of the sound):

January 11, 2019, 11:30 AM · Hi David -- (First time replying to one of your posts.) These latest two videos are still nowhere near "international soloist level" or "professional orchestra level", but at least IMO they are at a good amateur level, and actually fairly enjoyable to listen to. Your Paganini speed videos really are quite bad, and if I were you, I would take some of the sound advice that was previously given about them. Cheers!
January 12, 2019, 3:20 AM · Great news.
I managed to play the 16 caprice in 59 seconds!!!.
Less than a minute. I will upload it later today.
January 12, 2019, 4:41 AM · I entirely agree with Gene. Some nice phrasing.
But there are a few notes too high, which multiply drastically when you play fast.

Caprice 16? Well, poor Ricci in 1947 only managed 1min 4secs.
BUT every single note was in tune. He must have done a lot of slow practice!

January 12, 2019, 5:00 AM · On the topic of ABRSM, the OP's "Spring" would definitely pass Grade 8 (where it's sometimes been on the syllabus) and might well pass DipABRSM (where is it is also on the syllabus) - at that level they are really looking for more musical shape and direction, though I don't know how flat a performance has to be to get an actual fail. (Of course there's also the issue of the other half of the movement, the other 25 minutes of the programme, the quick study exercise and the programme notes and viva voce... ABRSM exams are exhaustive..... ;) )
January 12, 2019, 8:25 AM · "57.5 seconds" version - Caprice No.16 by Paganini:

January 12, 2019, 2:23 PM · OK, I've sat on this comment long enough. David, let's hear your fastest Bach Chaconne. Get your popcorn ready, folks...
January 12, 2019, 3:13 PM · Yuck.
Edited: January 12, 2019, 5:36 PM · Paul smith
Wow. It might be very good idea - to play Bach piece in the fastest speed - i didn't think about it.
It is interesting to hear how bach sounds fast like that - because of the harmony it might sound very good.
January 12, 2019, 5:44 PM · Start with the E Major Praeludio.
January 12, 2019, 6:06 PM · Paul Deck
Great, i will try it
January 12, 2019, 8:59 PM · Actually I'd say the Bach Presto from the first unaccompanied sonata. There's a deeply impressive Hilary Hahn bit of her playing her (already fast) Presto at "double speed" in TwoSet's LingLing challenge video.
January 12, 2019, 9:32 PM · Not to play down technique but what is your violin and the bow you use
January 15, 2019, 6:09 AM · Ling Ling can play this so much faster that time itself begins to run backwards.
Edited: January 15, 2019, 6:34 AM · That sub-one-minute version is the only one where you actually hit that high note...

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