Niccolo Paganini

Paganini, Niccolò

Niccolò Paganini (nēkōlō´ pägänē´nē), 1782–1840, Italian violinist, whose virtuosity became a legend. He extended the compass of the violin by his use of harmonics, perfected the use of double and triple stops, and revived the practice of scordatura, the diverse tunings of the strings. Paganini made his debut as a child prodigy in 1793 at Genoa, his birthplace. In 1801 he retired to a villa in Tuscany and did not resume his concerts until 1805, when he became court violinist to the princess of Lucca. After he left (1813) her court, his success in Milan carried his fame throughout Europe. His retirement in 1835 was followed by the loss of his voice and, later, by death from cancer of the larynx. Paganini composed numerous pieces, most of them bravura variations for violin. Among the few compositions published during his lifetime are the 24 caprices for violin that were adapted for piano by both Schumann and Liszt.

See biographies by J. Pulver (1936, repr. 1970) and S. S. Stratton (1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Niccolo Paganini: Selected full-text books and articles

The Amadeus Book of the Violin: Construction, History, and Music
Walter Kolneder; Reinhard G. Pauly; Reinhard G. Pauly.
Amadeus Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Nicolo Paganini" begins on p. 389
Victor Book of Concertos
Abraham Veinus.
Simon and Schuster, 1948
Librarian’s tip: "Nicolo Paganini: 1782-1840" begins on p. 325
Composers of Yesterday: A Biographical and Critical Guide to the Most Important Composers of the Past
David Ewen; David Ewen.
H. W. Wilson, 1937
Librarian’s tip: "Niccolo Paganini 1782-1840" begins on p. 320
The Essence of Music: And Other Papers
Ferruccio Busoni; Rosamond Ley.
Philosophical Library, 1957
Librarian’s tip: "The Paganini Studies" begins on p. 163
The Age of Beethoven, 1790-1830
Gerald Abraham.
Oxford University Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Paganini" begins on p. 246
Virtue or Virtuosity? Explorations in the Ethics of Musical Performance
Jane O'Dea.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Paganini begins on p. 41
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