Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Jeff Nichols

Committee Members

Norman Carey

David Schober

Ari Streisfeld

Subject Categories

Music Performance


Salvatore Sciarrino, Six Caprices, Sei Capricci, SoloViolin, Contempory Repertoire, Extended Techniques


This dissertation provides insight into the compositional and string techniques used in Salvatore Sciarrino’s Sei Capricci for solo violin. Each of the six chapters provides an analysis and performance guide for a caprice. A diagram of the score analysis for each caprice is included at the end of each chapter. In addition to the examination of Sciarrino’s original techniques for violin, caprices that make references to Paganini’s 24 Caprices for solo violin are discussed. Salvatore Sciarrino is an Italian composer (b. 1947) whose use of untraditional hushed sounds has become his signature compositional style. His innovative use of instrumental techniques – key taps for flute, vertical bow motion on strings, air flow into a brass instrument without sound resonance – has broadened the sound world for instruments and voice. Nonetheless, Sciarrino’s reverence for the traditions of classical music are visible in his music by way of formal structure, motivic construction, or indirect quotes.

This study will help violinists approach the score of Sei Capricci by illuminating formal structures, fingering patterns, and repeated motives throughout each caprice. A side- by- side comparison of musical figures from Sciarrino’s Sei Capricci and Paganini’s Twenty-four Caprices for solo violin shows many striking similarities, further making Sciarrino’s work more accessible. My hope is that this study will encourage more violinists to take a deeper look at this fascinating composition.