Liszt had already used the theme for an earlier set of variations, Grande Fantaise de Bravoure sur "La Clochette" de Paganini in B minor for piano in 1831-32. He then revised the piece as Etudes d'Execution Transcendante d'apres Paganini ("Trancendental Etudes after Paganini") No. 3 in A-flat minor, S. 140—not to be confused with Études d'exécution transcendante S. 139. This revision actually contains not only the La Campanella theme from the 2nd Violin Concerto, but also the main theme from the rondo of Paganini's first violin concerto. The final version of Grandes Etudes de Paganini, which is the now most commonly published and recorded of the available variations, is written in the enharmonic key of G-sharp minor.
The etude is played at a brisk pace and studies right hand jumping between intervals larger than one octave, sometimes even stretching for two whole octaves within the time of a sixteenth note, at Allegretto tempo. As a whole, the etude can be practiced upon to increase dexterity and accuracy at large jumps on the piano, along with agility of the weaker fingers of the hand. The largest intervals reached by the right hand are fifteenths (two octaves) and sixteenths (two octaves and a second). Sixteenth notes are played between the two notes and the same note is played two octaves or two octaves and a second higher with no rest. No time is provided for the pianist to move the hand, thus forcing the pianist to avoid tension within the muscles. Fifteenth intervals are quite common in the beginning of the etude, while the sixteenth intervals appear twice, at around the thirtieth and thirty-second measures.
Sheet File: lacampanella.pdf