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.

Let’s put some pizz on the situation

About four months ago, one of the variations I was most afraid of was the 9th – the one with all of the left hand pizzicato.  Left hand pizz (I originally spelled it ‘pitz’ but Danielle nixed that) is a very cool technique that sounds super cool.  Of course it’s incredibly intimidating as well and that’s why I’ve put it off, but Danielle put a stop to that as well.  For some of you not familar with how left hand pizzicato sounds, here’s a little taste:

Danielle began teaching this piece by just teaching the notes and then progressing into the actual pizzicato.  A couple night ago she gave me a lesson on this variation and you’ll see here how it progresses.  We start with just the notes, then we move to the pizz.  I had practiced the pizz technique on my own a little bit (to her surprise) but I play it as Elbert would call ‘scrambly.’  So we move on to playing the notes again but in a long-short-long-short rhythm that’s supposed to help when trying to play the proper rhythm.  As it turns out, it’s really hard to vary the rhythm like that and I got a little frustrated (which I don’t show you, dear viewer).  We plowed on and it turned out a little better.  After this, we move on to the actual variation.  This is just the first part, not quite all the way to the repeat, but almost:

I’m not going on the record to say that left hand pizz is easy, but compared to some of the other stuff (thirds come to mind) this variation was a pleasant surprise.  I’m going to try to knock out the rest of the variation soon so I can play through it all.

I have learned the rest of the fourth variation by now as well (which I’ll play for you in the next couple of days) so here’s a quick rundown of how much I’ve learned:

Theme – entire thing

Variation 1 – until the repeat

Variation 2 – entire thing without the grace notes

Variation 3 – entire thing

Variation 4 – entire thing

Variation 5 – not attempted

Variation 6 – thirds attempted, not really in tempo

Variation 7 – not attempted

Variation 8 – not attempted

Variation 9 – until the repeat

Variation 10 – not attempted

Variation 11 – not attempted

Finale – until the repeat

It does seem like I have a considerable amount left, but it also seems like I’m learning stuff much faster than before.

Honestly, I might just do it.  Well, I think I have good chances anyway.

4 Comments on “Let’s put some pizz on the situation”

  1. JRV says:

    You certainly do — consider this: you’ve only been at this for 7 months now — a little less, actually — as a choir director we had a few years ago told us, “We have all the time in the world!” — and it’s true — at this point in time you do — so carry on!!

  2. B.Rajkumar says:

    You have excellent pizz!!! You will surely make it.

    • rrvaughn says:

      Thanks Biju. I think practicing with a mute on helps the pizz because to get any sound out of plucking at all with the mute, you really have to PLUCK! When you take the mute off, then you get some serious sound.

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