Lots of chat about Paganini lately...specifically #16. A while back I uploaded Kayser's preparatory studies but did not share with this group. Study carefully and these will get you ready. Each of Kayser's studies will prepare you for the individual Paganini caprices, Auer used them...what could it hurt to give them a whirl?
I'm being dead serious when I tell you that I love studies. I'm not ready for actual Paganini Caprices, and perhaps I never will be. So I'm grateful to learn about these and I'm eager to try them. Maybe one of them will be suitable for Lydia's three-hour challenge.
Very interesting. I have the impression that they don't map one-to-one to each caprice, or at least I don't understand the correspondence. (Some correspondences, but not all, are clear.)
Perhaps I'm just naive, but I've always found the idea of repertoire-specific preparatory studies kind of strange. Isn't the best study just the piece of music itself in this case? Unless, of course, one's general technical skills aren't up to snuff to play a piece, but in that case isn't it sort of like skipping steps if we're only prepping the specific technical skills that lead to the ability to play one particular piece?
There are problems that only occur in a handful of works, or passages that are just fricking difficult.
"Isn't the best study just the piece of music itself?" Maybe for that piece. Maybe not for the piece you do later that has the same kind of tricky stuff. Good studies will take you through a variety of positions, keys, etc. on whatever lick that's being highlighted. I strongly suspect, however, that one reason why I like studies so much is because nobody will ever expect me to perform them, and my teacher doesn't ask me to memorize them. I hate memorizing.
There are simplified versions of some hard pieces, which IMO also serve as good stepping stone. Link below is one for No. 24 where you can press and listen directly.
I also find studies fun. Exercises, etudes, problem-specific routines. They help with music-making. As long as these do not become the end by themselves-which they rarely do for most players anyway-there's no harm (nor will the actual piece become "less musical", etc.)