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Paganini’s Greatest Secret


By Craig Birchfield

Occasionally, I will find a video that I think will be of some real interest or usefulness to our customers and teachers. I found one that I think is pretty special. The art of bowing can sometimes be a conundrum to both beginners and even advanced players. This may be the most interesting video you’ll see on the subject.

To most of you who are knowledgeable about the history of violin performance the name of Paganini shines like a beacon. Since he died about thirty years before the advent of recorded music we have no auditory record of his playing, only anecdotal. Still, he is universally regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time and he was certainly a pivotal artist who took performance of the instrument to greater heights that probably anyone preceding him. Obviously, Paganini was a virtuoso at bowing but it is said that he took his secrets to the grave. Luthier Kevin Lee, a very fine violinist in his own right and the Director of the Romantic School of Music, disputes this. In this unique YouTube video he shares a number of the great man’s techniques in a very lucid and logical manner. Be prepared, Lee dresses like a royal and sounds like a narrator for the History Channel but the dramatic presentation may make the information that more compelling. I think you will like this 19 minute lesson/presentation and you may never approach bowing quite the same. As always, your mileage may vary but check it out.

How To Really Hold A Violin Bow / Paganini’s Greatest Secret: