Caprice No. 5 (Paganini)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The saxophonist David Hernando performing Caprice No.5, by Niccolò Paganini.

Caprice No. 5 is one of 24 pieces composed by virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini in the early 19th century. The piece is known for its incredible speed and extremely high technical difficulty. Paganini is said to have been able to play it on one string, but there is no evidence to support or refute this.[1]

Transcription for other instruments[edit]

The piece has been transcribed for many instruments: saxophone, piano, cello, accordion, and guitar.

The piece is also associated with the movie Crossroads (1986 film) as "Eugene's Trick Bag",[2] which was written and performed by Steve Vai and heavily inspired by the caprice.

The first recorded true transcription of the piece appeared on Eliot Fisk's landmark recording that transcribed the entire 24 Caprices for the classical guitar.

Influence on contemporary music[edit]

Though written for the violin, the piece has also become known amongst guitarists, particularly because of its appeal to the technical proficiency of the shred guitar genre, as seen from virtuoso Jason Becker's version of the piece, re-arranged for electric guitar (see External Links) and for Yngwie Malmsteen's use of Paganini inspired techniques in his music. Yngwie Malmsteen created a guitar tab transcription (although, it deviated from the original score) for the piece in an issue of Guitar World magazine. The following are examples of the piece in modern music:

References in contemporary art[edit]

Cory Arcangel produced a mashup video,[4] or Caprice No. 5 supercut, for his 2011 Solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Paganini, Mai Kawabat. 303 pages. Boydell Press (2013). ISBN 978-1843837565
  2. ^ Milward, John (20 December 1987). "Lettin' it slide: Guitarist Ry Cooder won't follow rock trends". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. p. C28.
  3. ^ Guitar Dominance! (CD edition liner notes).
  4. ^ Arcangel, Cory. "Paganini Caprice No. 5 — Cory Arcangel's Official Portfolio Website and Portal". Cory Arcangel's Official Portfolio Website and Portal. Retrieved 2 October 2017.