Correct Position of the Hand and Arm


Undoubtedly the position used by Paganini himself is the one to be considered and adopted. Paganini’s position of the arm and hand was totally different one from Louis Spohr’s, or that of all the master violinists of the classic­ period. In considering this difference of position, entirely peculiar to Paganini, many points in his phenomenal performance will ad­mit of explanation. I will begin by reviewing the generally adopted position of the body and violin, in order to allow of comparison with that as employed by Paganini. The rules for the usual and accepted position of the body and violin were as follows: The violinist must stand in such a manner that ie principal weigh of the body will rest upon the left foot. The right foot placed lightly, somewhat away from the left one, in a slanting outward position. The body must not be carried carelessly, but in a strictly upright position. The breast should be entirely unobstructed, so as to allow of free breathing. (See illustrations I and II). Through means of such a position, quiet repose and security of the left side of the body are obtained. At the same time free and unobstructed bowing is furthered on the right side. (See illustration I).

The violin is placed under the chin and against the left collar bone.

Illustration No. I

Correct manner of holding the violin. (Front View.)

Illustration No.II

Holding the violin in a horizontal position with the aid of the Becker Chin and Shoulder Rest through light pressure of the chin

Note correct position, Ease and comfort obtained by the use of the Becker Chin and Shoulder Rest.

[It is advised that] This treatise should be read and studied while hold­ing the violin and bow. Repeated and careful trials should be made to execute the different positions of the hand and arm with the aid of a large mirror. This must be repeated daily. It is positively necessary to employ oneself daily with these explanatory remarks, rules and hints, in order to become thor­oughly familiar with them.

Paganini Caprice No.2 in B minor


  1. The Study of Paganini's Twenty-Four Caprices: Preface
  2. Correct Position of the Hand and Arm
  3. Chinrest and Correct Positioning
  4. Louis Spohr's Fourth Position
  5. Paganini's Hand Positions
  6. Playing Demanding Music with Proper Hand Posture
  7. Practicing the Left-Hand Hold of the Violin or Viola
  8. Records and Witnesses to Paganini's Manner of Performing