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Type: Thesis
Title: The Paganini Caprices, their techniques and performance problems: a study on twelve Caprices with supporting video and audio recordings
Author: Melrose, Madeline Leah
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: Elder Conservatorium of Music
Abstract: The 24 Caprices by Niccolò Paganini are considered the most technically and musically demanding works in the entire violin repertoire. They are rarely performed in concerts due to the high risk of technical inaccuracies occurring and are usually only attempted by celebrity violinists who have devoted their life to mastering the violin. This project aims to bridge the gap between the capable violin student, esteemed teacher, and the challenging 24 Paganini Caprices, so that they can be both musically and technically better understood. The project does not seek to create an unrealistic attainment of perfection for the person who chooses to tackle the Caprices but provides a logical and practical approach for the highly trained, yet human, musician who wants to understand better the difficulties and solutions in the Caprices. Twelve Caprices out of the set of twenty-four are examined for their diverse techniques and challenging musical phrases. Using the methodology of reflexive evaluation, the project investigates the outcome of performance and how to solve problems of technique and interpretation through a clear step-by-step approach with a pedagogical purpose. Seventeen techniques are studied, analysed and discussed in this project. By disassembling the Caprices into their technical categories, the Caprices become more approachable and playable as challenging sections are brought out of context. The harmonic structure, form, tempo and unusual writing are also studied, and a larger overview of the piece provides knowledge and insight into the persona, interpretation and emotional moodiness of the Caprices. The project’s contribution to the discipline is justified through several examples; including carrying out empirical work that has not been completed before, using a unique methodological approach to address technical problems, providing knowledge in a crossdisciplinary perspective and extending and elaborating on an existing work. Most importantly, the pedagogical methodology of the project is transferrable, and can be used and adapted when approaching other works containing the same technique and musical references as the Paganini Caprices.
Advisor: Dollman, Emily
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, 2020
Keywords: Paganini
violin performance
violin pedagogy
Paganini Caprices
Description: Part A: The Paganini Caprices -- Part B: The Video and Audio CD -- Part C: The Caprices and their Performance Problems
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Melrose2020_PhD.pdf33.3 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
The Paganini Caprices DVD.mp4444.47 MBMPEGView/Open
Caprice 1Caprice 1 Andante in E Major23.43 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 3Caprice 3 Sostenuto Presto Sostenuto in E Minor37.04 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 5Caprice 5 Prelude Agitato Finale in A Minor32.56 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 6Caprice 6 Lento in G Minor59.09 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 9Caprice 9 Allegretto in E Major36.52 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 10Caprice 10 Vivace in G Minor.27.74 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 11Caprice 11 Andante Presto Tempo I in C Major57.54 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 12Caprice 12 Allegro in A Flat Major34.11 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 16Caprice 16 Presto in G Minor18.26 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 19Caprice 19 Lento Allegro Assai in E Flat Major33.42 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 20Caprice 20 Allegretto in D Major38.07 MBWAVView/Open
Caprice 24Caprice 24 Theme & Variations in A Minor59.4 MBWAVView/Open

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