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.


Enough said.  Yeah they’re tough.  Yeah they make your hand hurt.  And in variation 8, you get to play it as part of a chord!  Woo hoo!

OK, so I haven’t done this in a while, so I’ll show you the music:

See how there are three notes in one for all of those?  That’s a chord and it means more than one string has to be played at once.  Playing two strings is no problem, but it’s really hard to play three strings at the exact same time on a violin, so we don’t.  We play the low two notes on two strings and then immediately after play the upper two notes.  The middle note ends up getting played twice.

The problem with playing this variation becomes immediately obvious:  the first measure has thirds!  Remember, if I said anything was going to get me in this project it would be the thirds.  So before tackling the piece as a chord, I play just the first two measures, thirds only:

Coming back down IS hard.  Coming up is also hard, don’t get me wrong.  Double stops in general are very difficult because my chubby little fingers are all over the fingerboard and if one touches the wrong string then the violin has a cow and screeches horrifically.  Getting a good sound with just the open string is hard enough, and now I have to worry about now grazing the string with another finger?  It’s just one more hazard to avoid when playing these things.  Also, while octaves make my hand hurt, thirds REALLY make my hand hurt.   The more I play though, the better they feel.  Of course, that’s until I play the entire chord.

Luckily, the chord part you have to add is just the open e string.  For the first measure anyway.  Here’s me not quite getting through the first measure, but I get a pretty decent sound for the two notes I do play:

This variation is going to be a beast, although it is pretty satisfying when even a few notes are played well.

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