Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Paganini Factor

Niccolo Paginini was a virtuoso violinist of such skill that conventional violin music seemed boringly easy for him. Searching for a challenge, he tried clever tricks, "like tuning one of his strings a semitone high, or playing the majority of a piece on one string after breaking the other three." He also wrote his own compositions that would offer him an adequate opportunity to make use of his talents. Playing his own compositions, he was able to show off "techniques that included harmonics, double stops, pizzicato with the left as well as the right hand, and near-impossible fingering and bowings."

There is just one problem with Paganini's compositions. They are not very good music. Doubtless some people enjoy watching a virtuoso violinist playing Paganini to show off his stuff, but Paganini compositions are not something anyone would listen to for the sheer beauty of the music itself. Paganini music.

This tendancy is by no means limited either to Paganini, or to music. It is present in a wide variety of arts ("art," including practical as well as "fine" arts, so long as some aesthetic component is present). Artists become bored simply trying to please their audience (or consumsers) and focus instead on what poses the greatest challenge to the artist, whether anyone else would want it or not. Call it the Pagnini factor.

Hence we have Paganini gourmet cooking that no one would want to eat, Paganini fashions that no one would want to wear or even look at, and Paganinin hairstyles that are threatened with the slightest activity. Paganini architecture is ornate to the point of ugliness. Paganini martial arts feature fantastically elaborate maneuvers that are worse than useless in actual fighting. Paganini movies blow the bank on special effects with no coherent plot. But saddest of all are the Paganini dogs, bred for difficult-to-achieve trait that ruins their health.

Paganini hairstyle:

Paganini martial arts:

Paganini architecture:

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