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One_Tree_Hill

Paganini Concerto #1

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Everyone plays the double harmonics in that movement. However, some people cut out the long boring G string passage in the middle. Wait, come to think of it, one person cut out the double harmonics, and that was Aaron Rosand. I have no idea why. I'm sure a good violinist like him can play them.

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Probably because they sound so hideous. Actually that's why I asked this question...I'm listening to a recording of the piece and the harmonics sound really gross. Maybe I'll follow Rosand's lead. What's good enough for Aaron Rosand is good enough for me!

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A lot of Paganini is about showing off, and sometimes the music does suffer. I think that in some recordings the double harmonics sound great (listen to the teenage Menuhin). But do what you want, especially if to you the music is more important than showing what you can do.

Carlo.

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OTH, I know what you mean. I do not have huge hands so what I do at times is practice those double harmonics in a 3/4 sized fiddle. I then even experiment on a really large fiddle and sometimes even on the viola. Somehow it makes it easy when going to my regular full size fiddle.

Pagus

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Actually, I don't care for the way they sound. I have plenty of good recordings of the piece, and they sound terrible in any case with the bare orchestra part. I think it's unmusical no matter how they are played. My technical ability is not what I'm talking about here, if I thought they were musical I would play them.

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aarnbite, Yes, it's just toooo easy. But eat three cats for breakfast each day when you want to play the tripple harmonics.

But I personally believe there is hardly anything on earth which can sound so beautiful as harmonics/double harmonics played properly, even with vibrato. I don't think that Menuhins teenage recording of that passage was all that good, however, though he got it out technically OK, but perhaps that was all he was trying to do, as I believe, most people consider it quite a challenge (no, not really like aarntbite and iupviolin seemed to be saying!).

But, how do you play them? Don't do like I used to do, by playing them all in 4ths. I did some injury to my fingers for a few months by doing that!

You should do it the way it is written in the music. They tell you which fingers to hold down and which fingers to touch lightly on certain notes.

It helps to be quite exacting, and then you have to do very careful vibrato. That you will work out how to do yourself when you get there!

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"A lot of Paganini is about showing off, and sometimes the music does suffer. "

Suffer? Its the purpose of what paganini wrote! So musically it serves the point he was trying to make at the time: break through the sound barrier and move into lightspeed! Its a true rock & roll attitude!! Move over Malmsteen!!!

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I've been thinking about this and wondering whether the double harmonics sounded more musical when played on gut strings. And another question arises : would Paganini himself even have used vibrato at all in such passages (was vibrato particularly common during his era)?

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At least learn them. It'll pay off if you ever have to play the Rugrats theme. Plus, non-musicians think they're really cool.

How do you feel about the double harmonics in I Palpiti (or the whole piece, for that matter)?

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>was vibrato particularly common during his era?

Without a time machine, it is not possible to know. If the earliest recordings of string players, and orchestras are any indication, at the end of the 1800's, audiences were receptive to a greater variety of sound production on stage then they are today. How much or little vibrato you used didn't seem to matter much back then. If I remember correctly, Mozart's father gave a warning, in one of his method books, for students not to use vibrato on all notes, as some string players in his day were in the habit of doing.

How did Paganini sounded will never been known on this side of the grave. Schubert wrote that he went to one of Paganini's concerts with certain expections, and was amazed when Paganini started to play it was with only a tiny,thin sound which soon captivated the audience in its "web". From that point on Schubert goes into the superlatives and gives us no further clues as to how Paganini actually performed. The small orchestras Paganini employed would indicate that Paganini had a small tone, and probably didn't have the type of vibrato which would cut through a large size orchestra. Wish someone like Carl Flesch lived back who would of left us a detailed, objective account of Paganini's playing.

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