Paganini Caprice Difficulty
When I first started seriously practicing the violin, I have always thought Paganini caprices were something I’d never be able to do. Nowadays, I’m thinking when will I be able to start learning my first one. To give some background, I’ve finished Bruch, Mozart 4, and the D minor(No Chaconne) and E Major Bach Partitas. I love Paganini’s 9th caprice and I’ve heard it’s actually one of his easiest. It it comparable to anything I’ve learned so far? I would ask my teacher, but I’m afraid I would sound like an idiot if it really does require a different level of playing than I currently have.
I would probably suggest starting with 13 or 14 first as 9 is harder than it looks to play well. I think my son started learning Paganini caprices around the time he was playing maybe Wieniawski 2, so a bit more advanced than where you are currently.
If Bruch is the most difficult thing you learned (and this pretty heavily depends on your execution of the 3rd movement), the "easier" caprices will still be a bit of a stretch for you.
Another vote here for Paganini 16, but I agree with Buri on his other points as well.
I wasn't even aware of the Baracuba Variations before - I have not printed some off to play! thanks Buri!
It is fascinating that the second half of the Caprices are remarkably more manageable than the first twelve...the difficulties one encounters in 4, 8, and 12 simply don't appear in the last twelve.
"I would ask my teacher, but I’m afraid I would sound like an idiot if it really does require a different level of playing than I currently have."
I started with 6 because I thought it was beautiful. I find it pretty easy now. As a matter of fact, I used it for my uni audition.
I would say start with 16, but I didn't start with 16, and Cotton makes a very good point. Of course, you could start with an easier one and work your way up to the harder ones. It's a tried and true method of learning the caprices and other repertoires. But if you start with the one you want to play you'll practice it more because you want to learn it. You can always go back and learn 16 and other easier ones later.
For some young students, the prospect of learning Paganini caprices really get them to practice.
There is the old "fish tale" about the teacher who sent home a very young student with a Paganini Caprice with the instructions to do only the first two lines and play it excruciatingly slowly, and the student comes back the next week with the whole caprice polished at performance tempo.
The relatively short E minor sonata is much easier in my opinion than the caprices. That might be a good introduction to Paganini; it’s very left hand friendly.
It's hard to tell whether you're up to the level of Paganini caprices simply based on the pieces you listed. Did you work on any other Etudes/Caprices before, such as Kreutzer, Rode, or Dont Op. 35?
24 contains variations, some of which are easier than others.
If you take out Var 6 and 11 from the 24th, then that. I find that 16 is the easiest because of all the simple detache bow strokes and lack of hard left hand patterns.
For easy Paganini (!) try this...
When I first studied these, my teacher had me start them in the following order: 16, 13, 2, 5, 6, 11. Then we did 1, and the rest in numerical order to 24 minus the six that we started with. I was told at the time that this was because 16 is the most straight-forward, and he believed that 13, 2, 5, 6 and 11 contained the core of Paganini's "technical toolkit" that would be applied to the rest of the caprices. It worked for me, but I don't know if this is standard or if it was based on what my technical abilities were at the time.
Ricochet for #5?
Here is how to unlock the Paganini Caprices: First turn clockwise to 16. Then go around one entire turn counter-clockwise to 13, and then clockwise again to 24.
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A.
Nice, Mike! I'm glad someone else here has invested time in the Konami Etudes. ;)