The Grandes Etudes de Paganini as we know them are revisions of an earlier version from 1838, the Etudes for Transcendental Technique.
Liszt first heard Paganini in April 1831 and was so entranced by the expressiveness and technical wizardry of this master violinist that he immediately declared his intention of achieving upon the piano an equivalent technical revolution.
Most of the Paganini Etudes are more or less straight-forward transcriptions for piano of some of Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op 1, published in 1820. Etude No. 6 is based on Paganini’s 24th Caprice, a variation set, the theme of which has become very well known because it has been used by several other composers for new variation works (Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Szymanowski among others).