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Thread: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

  1. #1

    Default Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Hello Colleagues,

    I am trying to play, in the mandolin, an instrumental song called Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini. Although I have got the music sheet in standard notation, I have serious difficulties about to know what is the best left hand digitation to adopt for the mandolin performance.

    In this song there several arpeggios and pull-off/harm-on riffs which make difficult the adaptation from the violin to mandolin style. Additionally, I think some octave adjustments are necessary for some specific variations of theme.

    Then, I would like to know if some of mandolinist colleagues can help me undertake this hard task? Or if someone know where the tablature of this song is available to download?

    Advanced TKs,

    Musical Regards!!

    Carlos Gomes SJK-SP

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Since this is a violin piece there may very well be parts of it that cannot be played exactly as a violinist would. Also, this is a virtuoso piece -- I don't know your level on mandolin but it could be a super challenge. I highly doubt that this piece is available in tablature any where and also bear in mind that those fingerings may not be optimal anyway. I would just try out different possibilitiesand see what works for you.

    There seem to be multiple editions for download at IMSLP and some might have performance notes and fingering (for violin) from various editors which could give you some idea of how to approach it. In the meantime, perhaps there are others who have played this piece who can give you some advice.
    Jim

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Sorry, I don't know of mandolin tablature for Paganini's op.1, no.24, but I do know I wouldn't want to be committed to somebody else's tablature setting of this difficult piece if I ever chose to interpret it. If you can translate the notes of the score at all, I'd recommend trying your hand at your own setting, catered to your own interpretive ability. Tuning is identical, so modifications of the left hand could (perhaps should) be minimal. The "pull-off" passages (i.e., left-hand pizzicati) should translate very effectively to mandolin. The whole bow-to-plectrum thing is an altogether different matter and would require some thought (where to apply tremolo, stroke direction, etc.). To hear this handled quite effectively on mandolin, look for Fantasia Romantica by the able Sebastiaan de Grebber.

    When you're feeling up to exploring music composed for mandolin in similar vein, look to the unaccompanied preludes of Raffaele Calace. Whatever you think of the interpretive style of her camp, Gertrud Weyhofen's (then Tröster) of all ten called The Romantic Mandolin of Raffaele Calace is excellently executed.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Pardon my simultaneous-typing redundancy, Jim.

  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    Pardon my simultaneous-typing redundancy, Jim.
    Great minds run in the same gutter.
    Jim

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Jim and Eugene,

    Really this classical piece is very difficult and demands a high level on mandolin. Then, I must probably be limited to the theme variations with moderate performance level, since my mandolin level is not so high !!

    As discussed here, some level of personal adaptation/interpretation certainly will be fundamental in order to obtain a good performance on mandolin. Additionally, I see this piece as an excellent and complete exercise for the right-hand techniques (tremolo, picks jumps, sweeps, etc) as well as for left-hand ones (independence, speed, precision, etc) .

    Thanks for worthy tips and good recommendations.

    Carlos Gomes SJK-SP

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  10. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Carlos: I downloaded this edition edited and notated by Emil Kross from IMSLP. It has some playing instructions in that edition. I did not look at the other editions.

    I have worked thru a few sections of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas. Some of them are way beyond my capabilities but are things I like to play thru and see what I can extract from them and learn. I doubt I would ever play any of them in public but it is fun to play through. Some of those are approachable, being just a little more difficult and involved than fiddle tunes, like the gigues.
    Jim

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  12. #8

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    The 24th Caprice is so violinistic that it's probably better played as a duet. Even so, it's not my favorite arrangement...


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  14. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    I think the arrangement is OK but the performance and recording quality is not perfect. Still, not so bad for these guys. They tried.
    Jim

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  15. #10

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I think the arrangement is OK but the performance and recording quality is not perfect. Still, not so bad for these guys. They tried.
    It just seems to me that the Paganini Caprices (especially the 24th) IMPLY so much more than solo violin music. I think he's trying to suggest orchestral colors and range, not to mention lush harmonies. To my ears, mandolin arrangements are just trying to catch up to the violin original, whereas the violin is trying to suggest something much bigger.

    Liszt's arrangement of some of the Caprices makes more sense to my ears, since they flesh out the harmonies, colors, and drama...



    It's no mystery why Liszt, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff were so fond of that theme.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by John Anthony View Post
    It just seems to me that the Paganini Caprices (especially the 24th) IMPLY so much more than solo violin music. I think he's trying to suggest orchestral colors and range, not to mention lush harmonies. To my ears, mandolin arrangements are just trying to catch up to the violin original, whereas the violin is trying to suggest something much bigger.
    I think you are quite correct and the same thing could apply to the Bach solo violin pieces.
    Jim

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  18. #12

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I think you are quite correct and the same thing could apply to the Bach solo violin pieces.
    Indeed. With so many of the Bach solo instrument suites, you get the feeling that you're looking through a small window onto a vast and glorious landscape.

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  20. #13

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by John Anthony View Post
    It's no mystery why Liszt, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff were so fond of that theme.
    Also, note Fisk's arrangement of the full set for guitar.

  21. #14

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    ...And still, check out de Grebber's excellent performance of this piece on solo mandolin.

  22. #15

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Thanks for the recommendations Eugene!

  23. #16

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    My pleasure.

  24. #17

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature


    Dear Mandolin friends

    Following this Paganini Caprice 24 discussion thread is really interesting.
    I have a (rather far…) past violin experience which can not be easily restored.
    "As you forget the violin for a day, the violin retaliates by forgetting you for years."
    Frankly speaking – restoring violinist technique is merely impossible.

    Recently I started practicing Mandolin – getting through the common standard violin solo repertoire – mainly Baroque pieces (Bach's sonatas & partitas, Vivaldi, Corelli, Scarlatti … others…)

    Paganini caprices are inspiring and challenging indeed.
    It is quite hard to expect that a Mandolin will perform as a violin.
    So I took the "caprice No .24" scores origin and started "downgrading" them step by step – gradually simplifying the "impossible sections" (so to say) into a more plausible "amateurish" form.

    As of now - I have several versions - where some of the difficult variations are transformed into a "thinner" shape, others are slightly reduced to meet my level while some extremely hard spots went through a really "though diet".
    Fingering was changed accordingly.
    Hope that the general "virtuosic" mood is preserved.

    Practicing it that way is really enjoyable.
    One can have control on level, pace and contents of personal progress.

    M.


  25. #18
    Registered User Julian Morris's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    I came across this oldish post, and was intrigued by Paganini's Caprice 24. Apologies if I have got the name wrong, but I mean the one that Rachmaninov did his famous variations on the hteme of. And anyone in the UK might know it as the theme tune for the arts programme South Bank Show.
    Paganini I believe was particularly showy on the violin, so I didn't expect the translation to mandolin to be easy. But here's my first take on the tablature for it (attached, hopefully). I only have the sheet music for teh theme and the first and second variations.
    Depending on tempo, the arpeggios in the first variation are punishingly expansive. First time I have used the 17th fret for real anyway. I found myself seekng momentary relief in occasional open strings to achieve chages in position.
    The chords are my own reading of what the musical structure is. In particular the diminished chords are telling.
    When I say diminished, they are not the pure 1st/flat 3rd/flat 5th form they have also the 6th, and so they recur every 3 semitones. Is there a name for that chord? An example openish version would be 1021.
    If nothing else the 1st variation is an opportunity to hear how hideous a straight arpeggio of that chord sounds and how Paganini makes it fit. I haven't even looked or listened to what Rachmaninov dos with it.
    For you classical players this will all be a bit naive, as it is. Any thuoghts, though, any of you?
    Note change from Am/E of theme, to A major of 2nd part of theme. Nice. Works its way back to the Am.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #19

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Assuming I'm reading that right, that chord is D F Ab C, right? That would be a half-diminished seventh chord, with a fully diminished being D F Ab Cb (no, not B. I promise it matters. Kind of.) From a theory perspective, all three versions of a diminished chord have fundamentally the same function, with basically some differences in flavor.

    I'm curious as to what anyone thinks the mandolin equivalent of some of the violin techniques Paganini uses would be. His up-bow staccato, or alternating between bow and left-hand pizzicato, for instance. How would you imitate those effects with a pick?

  28. #20
    Registered User Julian Morris's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by Rewjeo View Post
    Assuming I'm reading that right, that chord is D F Ab C, right? That would be a half-diminished seventh chord, with a fully diminished being D F Ab Cb (no, not B. I promise it matters. Kind of.) From a theory perspective, all three versions of a diminished chord have fundamentally the same function, with basically some differences in flavor.

    I'm curious as to what anyone thinks the mandolin equivalent of some of the violin techniques Paganini uses would be. His up-bow staccato, or alternating between bow and left-hand pizzicato, for instance. How would you imitate those effects with a pick?
    Now I don't know what I mean about the diminished chords. The one in the 2nd variation is F G# B D.

    As for how one tries to imitate a violin technique on the mandolin, I have no idea, except that sustained notes require tremelo. But Rachmaninov got a whole 24 variations out of it on every kind of instrument in the orchestra, primarily piano. I was just curious about it as a piece of music rather than specifically a violin piece.

    Is it basically a mandolin no-no?

  29. #21

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Hello Carlos, I may be able to help you...about 15 years ago, I started to transcribe the 24 caprices for mandolin b/c I was going to record it as a CD for release, and also as a book...I don't think I have to tell you how big of a task this is!

    Anyhow, I did several of the caprices, and most of the 24th...life stepped in with a big game-changer and I had to stop the whole project as well as everything else going on, and to make things worse, I have since lost most of my hard-earned pages in a move that didn't go well.

    I just recently was thinking about this, and am in the process of retreaving the 24th...I know where it is, I just don't have it in hand quite yet, but I don't have any problem with posting it here once I do.

    I have most of the 24th completed, and did have to make some adjustments as you mentioned...but alot of it, like my favorite parts, the arpeggios, and the pizzicato, are intact. Boy do those stop people in their tracks when they hear them on a mando!

    this is NOT an easy piece to play, by any means...I am a professional musician with just about as high a level on guitar and mandolin that one could have, and still its very difficult to execute flawlessly on demand

    for the record, I have probably 25 different recordings of what I consider to be one of the most important "dictionaires" of music ever written by a human being (Paganini's caprices), and I used Shlomo Mintz's violin recording as my main one to transcribe, as I like his interpretation, and found his "hesitancies" to be the most animated and alive

    I will keep you posted...feel free to PM me as I have alot going on at the moment that keeps me from doing music unfortunatly, but I do hope to possibly resume this project in the next months and ultimately record all the caprices in a friend of mine's pro studio in California on analog 2 inch tape.

    Its been a dream of mine for about the last 25 years.

    cheers,
    Angelo

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Gomes SJK-SP View Post
    Hello Colleagues,

    I am trying to play, in the mandolin, an instrumental song called Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini. Although I have got the music sheet in standard notation, I have serious difficulties about to know what is the best left hand digitation to adopt for the mandolin performance.

    In this song there several arpeggios and pull-off/harm-on riffs which make difficult the adaptation from the violin to mandolin style. Additionally, I think some octave adjustments are necessary for some specific variations of theme.

    Then, I would like to know if some of mandolinist colleagues can help me undertake this hard task? Or if someone know where the tablature of this song is available to download?

    Advanced TKs,

    Musical Regards!!

    Carlos Gomes SJK-SP

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  31. #22
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    Quote Originally Posted by ammscray View Post
    Hello Carlos, I may be able to help you...about 15 years ago, I started to transcribe the 24 caprices for mandolin b/c I was going to record it as a CD for release, and also as a book...I don't think I have to tell you how big of a task this is!
    Angelo: Carlos posted in this site almost 6 years ago and last posted on the Mandolin Cafe about 1-1/2 years ago. So I would not be surprised if he even checked I here any more. Of course anything is possible.
    Jim

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  32. #23

    Default Re: Caprice 24 of Niccolo Paganini - Tablature

    lol thanks Jim...I saw the recent 2018 posts and didnt even think to check the OP date...thats an old brain for ya!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Angelo: Carlos posted in this site almost 6 years ago and last posted on the Mandolin Cafe about 1-1/2 years ago. So I would not be surprised if he even checked I here any more. Of course anything is possible.

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