I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

The whole third variation

After posting the theme about a week ago, I’ve only posted things like scales and the Kreutzer etude, so today I wanted to post a portion of the caprice.  I thought about trying to get variation 2 up to tempo, but I was a little too afraid of the grace notes, so I passed.  But variation 3, what’s so hard about a few octaves?

Here’s where we get into a plus of having this blog.  Besides the first passage, which I posted about a month ago, I hadn’t played any of this variation before.  Danielle played the whole thing, so I knew what it sounded like, but not where the fingers went, what notes there were, etc.  Now, I take forever to learn anything new on my own because I’m really slow at reading music.  I can do it, but I have to figure it out note by note and then figure out which finger needs to go where on the fingerboard.  Then I have to worry about the rhythm, which I usually end up messing up anyway.  How is this a plus for the blog?  The blog literally forced me to learn this so I could play it and post it–something I spent about four hours on today (although I didn’t practice thirds – don’t tell Danielle).  Without the pressure of posting, I probably wouldn’t put myself through this torment.

And octaves really make my pinkie hurt.

Here’s variation 3:

Every note is a double stop, so playing this variation involves shifting the first and fourth fingers up and down the G and D strings.  I tackled this in two ways.  First, I practiced playing octaves in general.  Here, the octave scales helped and some Sevcik exercises helped as well.  Second, I learned the notes of the variation with the first finger shifting along the G string only.  Here’s the first finger only starting at that high A:

Once I had the notes relatively in tune and the rhythm not horrible, then I added in the fourth finger and played the double stops:

Again, like everything I’ve put on here, it’s not perfect but I’m fairly proud of that four hours.  It takes a little too long to find that high A (I think I actually play a G#), the rhythm isn’t perfect, and the octaves themselves at times are not quite full octaves (more like a 7th, if such a thing exists) but I’m happy with it.

The next step was to play it with vibrato, which I did next:

Not bad, huh?

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5 Comments on “The whole third variation”

  1. R C L says:

    I think you need a Rhythm coach

  2. JRV says:

    Very groovy indeed — such progress is impressive — 🙂

  3. Di says:

    Fantastic! A long way to go, of course, but very impressive, given the short time. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

  4. Jean says:

    Vaughn, you have talent, that one’s for sure. You have the important ability to be convinced “I can do that”. Not just in a stupid way, but in an intelligent way. No wonder you are a mathematician 🙂

    • rrvaughn says:

      Hi Jean, you hit an important point: desire. With the proper desire, we can accomplish almost anything. Now, if I could get my math students to desire to pass my class… 🙂


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