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Paganini and the Classical Guitar

If you are familiar with Classical Music you no doubt have heard of Paganini. His name is synonomous with virtuoso violin playing. He was so good that it is rumored that people would faint during his performances.

And it was also said that he had made a pact with the devil in exchange for his violin skills. You might have heard of that too.

But you might not know that Paganini was a life long fan of the classical guitar. He performed with it and he composed many pieces for it.

It is a shame that we will never get to hear him play but he has left behind a wonderful body of compositions that we can still enjoy.

In this article I give you an overview of some of Paganini's work for the Classical Guitar.



He lived from 1782-1840 and this was a very influential time for the early classical guitar. Early in terms of it coming into the modern era of guitar. He was a contemporary of the famous guitarists of the time and he was acquainted with them. He also performed with one of them as part of a duet.

His first composition for the Guitar was a duet for guitar and violin called Variazioni sulla Carmagnola. He was twelve years old when he wrote it. He wrote a lot of various pieces for solo guitar including 43 Caprices and 37 Sonatas. Probably the most famous of his guitar works is his Grand Sonata for violin and Guitar.

He was always fascinated with the Classical Guitar and he was acquainted with several of the guitar masters of his time including Giuliani and Carulli. He also performed a series of concerts with classical guitarist Luigi Legnani.

His Compositions for Guitar:

  • 43 Caprices
  • 37 Sonatas
  • various Sonatinas and small pieces
  • Most famous is probably his Grand Sonata for Violin and Guitar


If you play classical guitar I have a couple of pieces for you in pdf format right here:

Minuet - A pretty easy piece on one sheet. But, as is typical of Paganini it is played pretty fast! (In the key of F)

Perigoldina - A little bit more complex with some variations. (In the key of A)


Want to listen to a piece? I have one of Paganini's more famous pieces. It is for guitar and violin and you can hear it right here: Paganini's Cantabile


Paganini: 24 Caprices arranged for Guitar





Paganini: Complete Ghiribizzi, for Solo Guitar

This work is a whole lot of fun. You can listen to samples of each piece on the amazon website.






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