Paganini and the guitar: tracing instrumental idioms in the 24 caprices for violin

Murray, Samuel J (2016) Paganini and the guitar: tracing instrumental idioms in the 24 caprices for violin. In: Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference 2016, 6-8 January 2016, Bangor University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract / Summary

Although primarily known as a violinist, Paganini was also an accomplished guitarist and mandolinist. Contemporaries Carulli (cited in Gazzelloni, 2006, 5) and Esendier (cited in Bargellini, 1934, 416) claimed that Paganini composed and played his compositions first on the guitar before effectively translating them into the violin compositions we now know. Furthermore, violinist Ruggerio Ricci believed that “many of Paganini's unusual technical combinations are directly traceable to his guitar playing” (cited in Borer, 1995, 190). If the guitar did indeed play a significant role in Paganini’s compositional process, then are there any signs that it influenced his musical language? And if so, how might we go about assessing or uncovering that influence?
This paper is a summary of some of the work undertaken in this area as part of my PhD. The paper begins by surveying some of the existing methodologies for identifying instrument specific idiomatic writing proposed by Huron & Berec (2009), Williams (1981) and Dallman (1972), before discussing the applicability of each to the specific instance of Paganini. The paper concludes by drawing on examples taken from the 24 caprices that appear to show the influence of the guitar on Paganini’s writing for solo violin.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Music > Classical Music
Music > Instrumental
Music > Musical Performance
Courses by Department: Academy of Music & Theatre Arts > Music
Depositing User: Samuel Murray
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 16:16
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:08
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/2266

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