Paganini's 24 Caprices opus 1 : a transcription for electric guitar, and analysis and development of the techniques required to perform them : a thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of PhD, Massey University, New Zealand
Since the late 1970s much interest has been shown in the development of electric guitar technique. Advances have been considerable, enabling players to explore new genres and repertoires but development methodologies have remained woefully fragmented. A new approach that sets out to promote electric guitar technique with development methodology is the purpose of this study. To this end, a process of transcription combined with an advanced technical analysis has been undertaken including a full categorization of the technical subgroups extant within each Caprice. The hypothesis behind this task has been to ascertain whether a ‘technical essence’ could be discovered in the Caprices and how that could be imparted in the process of transcription.
Transcribing the 24 Caprices for the electric guitar disclosed the technical components required for development which were then reduced to their constitute elements. The virtuosity and variation within the Caprices ensured that the each identified technique was developed to a high degree. The subjective nature of transcription ensured that multiple solutions were explored when a single solution to a technical problem was not obvious.
The analysis section of the study demonstrated that three fundamental techniques were required to play all 24 Caprices: alternate-picking, sweep-picking, and hammer-ons and pull-offs. The analyses also provided trends showing how each technique needed to be developed to comprehensively cover all twenty-four pieces.
In conclusion, the hypothesis was found to be correct.