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In the beginning of this video it looks like the player is actually pizzicatoing with the left-hand and playing regular notes on a different string, is that what is happening? Is that even a thing?

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  • I guitar we call it Hammer Pulloffs. One of left hand's fingers would pluck the string while another might be holding a note. Given how Pag was a guitarist too and took a LOT of inspiration from spanish guitar, thats most probably where it comes from. Jan 7 at 8:57
  • Yes. Difficult but part of becoming a skilled player Jan 7 at 14:06
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is that what is happening?

It certainly is.

Is that even a thing?

It wasn't before Paganini came along. He was the best violinist in the world in his day. Initially his problem was that extant composition for the violin wasn't sufficiently difficult to highlight his superiority. His solution was to compose music that, to begin with, only he could play.

Paganini went on to become the early 19th century equivalent of a modern rock star, going on tour where he was payed fantastic sums of money to perform and with modern style female groupies.

Today, however, when there are more violinists alive than have died through all the ages, pretty much all the top soloists are expected to and can play his compositions. So, yes, simultaneous left hand pizz and arco are a thing at elite levels.

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  • I had to do that on the cello part for Villa-Lobos "Jet Whistle" Jan 7 at 14:07
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    Not to disagree here, but on a side note, the baroque instrument baryton was regularly played with bowed notes and pizzicato at the same time. The baryton is a kind of bass viola da gamba, but with many added sympathetic strings running under the fingerboard, which can also be plucked by the left thumb {the neck is hollow underneath) while bowing the playing strings. Jan 10 at 20:43

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