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Date: February 26, 2009

I, Fang-Yi Shen ,

hereby submit this original work as part of the requirements for the degree of:
Doctor of Musical Arts
in Violoncello Performance
It is entitled:
A Pedagogical and Analytic Comparison of
Auguste Franchomme's Twelve Caprices, Op. 7 and
Alfredo Piatti's Twelve Caprices, Op. 25

Student Signature:
Fang-Yi Shen

This work and its defense approved by:

Committee Chair:
Dr. David C. Berry
Dr. Jonathan Kregor
Prof. Lee Fiser

Approval of the electronic document:

I have reviewed the Thesis/Dissertation in its final electronic format and certify that it is an
accurate copy of the document reviewed and approved by the committee.

Committee Chair signature: Dr. David C. Berry

A Pedagogical and Analytic Comparison of
Auguste Franchomme’s Twelve Caprices, Op. 7 and
Alfredo Piatti’s Twelve Caprices, Op. 25

A thesis submitted to the

Division of Graduate Studies and Research

of the University of Cincinnati

In partial fulfillment of the

requirements for the degree of


In the Performance Studies Division

of the College-Conservatory of Music


Fang-Yi Shen

BM, National Taiwan Normal University, 2001

MM, College-Conservatory of Cincinnati, 2004

Committee Chairs: Dr. David Carson Berry

Dr. Jonathan Kregor
Prof. Lee Fiser

The etude has a long history in the cello repertoire, evidenced by the volume of

pedagogical works in the form of etudes, exercises, studies, and concert etudes available today.

The sets of 12 Caprices by Franchomme and Piatti are concert etudes which are studied and

performed frequently today. Selected works of these two standard etude books have been

examined and analyzed, with regard to technical issues and issues of musicality.

This document focuses on the these two books, exploring the history of the cello

techniques covered, explaining aspects of the music from a Schenkerian point of view,

comparing the similarities and differences in technique and compositional style, and integrating

aspects of performance and analysis. Professional players and students can use the information

provided in this document to help in understanding the value of the two books, the evolution of

cello technique in the nineteenth century, and the different compositional styles. Based on the

shift in technical demands that evolved during the second half of the nineteenth century, cello

players would be able to know when to study these two etudes. This document can provide the

performer with a new analytical perspective, one that can enhance performance.

Copyright (c) 2009, Fang-Yi Shen

My interest in Auguste Franchomme and Alfredo Piatti stems from first playing

their music when I was fifteen years old. Assuming that both composers were from

different nations and they spent their life and career in England, little did I realize the

extent of their contributions to cello techniques and the cello repertoire. While studying

with Prof. Lee Fiser at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

(CCM), I was drawn to a variety of cello techniques by Piatti’s Twelve Caprices, Op. 25.

Thanks to his instruction and others, I got the opportunity to get a better understanding of

the history of the nineteenth-century cello techniques and repertoire.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to study in the United States for these seven

years, especially pursuing my mater and doctoral studies at the CCM under a full

university scholarship. I have learned a lot about music, cello and some other things

about life, particularly the last two years of my studies having the second cognate in

music theory. Without the help of Dr. David Carson Berry and Dr. Steven Cahn, I could

not have finished all the requirements of a cognate within two quarters.

Dr. David Berry, who is my advisor, gave unbelievable support and offered his

expert knowledge throughout every stage of the process. Before I started to do research

for this document, I had very little ability to do the Schenkerian analysis and to use Finale

music notation software. With the guide from Dr. Berry, I became very familiar with

them. I would like to thank him for his time, patience, excellent teaching and professional

knowledge. Prof. Lee Fiser, my cello professor at the CCM, has taught me many things

about cello playing, including techniques and musicality. His emphasis on the body

relaxation has freed me from physical tension, which I have been pursuing for the last ten

years. Thanks for his extreme patience, support and wonderful teaching.

Dr. Kregor, who is my reader, gave me a different view about performance and

analysis, so that I came up the last chapter about integration of performance and analysis.

His expert editing and coaching abilities along with his remarkable suggestions about

writing broadened my research, in which my benefit extended to combine performance

and theory. I also greatly appreciate the friendship and encouragement of my classmates

and colleagues during my studies, especially Stephen Brown.

Last but not least, special thanks for my family for unconditional love and support,

and for being proud of me, even though so many unexpected life dramas happened in

these seven years while I pursued my master and doctoral degrees in music. They have

been very supportive for all of my decisions, especially the fact that I got the second

cognate (music theory) during my last year of my doctoral study.

I could not have accomplished my document without the support and help from

these people. I feel very lucky to have these generous people in my life. There is no word

to describe how grateful I am. This seven-year American life had made me more

complete as a cellist, and as a human being.

February 2009

Cincinnati, OH

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Etude ……………………………………………………………………………….1

Definition …………………………………………………………………………………1
The Development of Cello Techniques .………………………………………..................4
Types …………………………………….…………………………………….................12
Figures …………………………………………………………………………………...15

Chapter Two: The Biographies of Franchomme and Piatti ……………………………………..16

Franchomme …………………………………………………………………………….16
As a Composer …...……………………………………………………...............16
Association with the Contemporary Musicians ……..……………….………….17
Music ………………………………………….…………………………………18

Piatti …………………………………………………………………………………….20
Life at the Conservatory in 1830s ………………..………………………………21
Connections with the Contemporary Musicians …………………………………22
Orchestra Life …………………………….……………………………24
Performance Life at London from 1847 to 1890s ……………………..25
Performing Piatti’s Own Works ……….……………………………….26
Honorary Diploma ………………….……….………………………….27
Critics ………………………………..……….…………………………27
Music ………………………………..……….………………………….28
Figures ……………………..…………………….……….……………………………...29

Chapter Three: Performance Aspect …………………………………………………………….41

Observation of Advanced Etudes by Franchomme and Piatti ……………..……………41
Techniques of the Right Hand ……………………………..……………………………43
Detache ………………………………………………………………………….43
Legato …………………………………………………………………………...44
Staccato ……..………….………………………..………………………………45
Spiccato ………………………………………….………………………………47
Martele …………………………………………..……………………………….48
Ricochet ………………………………………….………………………………49
Chord …………………………………………….………………………………50

Techniques of the Left Hand ………………..…………………….………..……………51

Fingering ……………………………….…..……………………………………..52
Position Establishment ……………………………………………………………53
Neck Position ……….……………….…………………………..53
Thumb Position ……………………………….…………………53
Double Stops ………………………………………..……………………………56
Harmonics ……………………………………..………………………………….57

Pizzicato ………………………………………..…………………………………59
Classification of the Left and Right Hand in the Etudes of Franchomme …….......….…62
Classification of the Left and Right Hand in the Etudes of Piatti ….………………...….64
A synthesis of two Caprices, Op. 7 and Op. 25 …………………….……….……..……66
Conclusion ……........……………….,,,,,,,…………………….……………....…………68
Figures ………………..…………………………………….……………………………69

Chapter Four: Analysis of Selected Works by Franchomme and Piatti …...……………………86

Comparison of Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9 and Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25,
No. 6 ……………………………………………………………………………….…….88
Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9 ………………………………….........88
The Relation of the Minor Third – the Relative Mediant ……..………...89
Voice Leading: The Chromatic Descending Line with Motivic
Parallelism ……………………………………………………………….91
Some Other Techniques ………..………………………………………..95
Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6 ………………………………………...……99
A Succession of Minor Thirds ……………….…………………………..99
Modal Mixture …………..………………………………………………102
The Relationship of “Leads” and “Follows” ……………..……………..104
The Function of the Neighbor Note ………………………..….………...105
Implied Note ………………………………………………….…………105
Conclusion of Franchomme’s No.9 and Piatti’s No. 6 ...………..……………..107

Comparison of Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1 and Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25,
No. 1 ……………………………………………………………………………………108
Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1 ………………………………………108
Omnibus Progression …………………………………………………..108
The Movement of the Kopfton, D/ Register Transfer …………….....…109
Chromatic Thirds and the Relationship of thirds ………………………110
Subordinate Linear Progression with Motivic Parallelism ………….....111
Form: Modified Binary Form ………………………………………….112
Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1 …………………………………………….115
Obligatory Register …………………………………………………….115
Prolongation ……………………………………………………………118
Form: Prelude Form ……………………………………………………124
Conclusion ……………………………………………………………..127
Conclusion of Franchomme’s No. 1 and Piatti’s No. 1 ………………………. 128
Figures ………..………………………………………………..……………….129

Chapter Five: Integration of analysis and performance ………………………………………..155

The Opinions of the Past Scholars ………………………………………………..……156
My Own View ………………………………………………………………………….160
Examples ……………………………………………………………………………….163
Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9 ……………………………………...163

Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6 ….…………………………………………163
Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1 ……………………………………..165
Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1 …………………………………………….166
Conclusion ….…………………………………………………………………………..167
Figures …………………………………………….……………………………………168

Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………..... 174

Bibliography ………………………………………………..………………………………….177

Appendix (Music) ………..........................…………………………….………………………184

A. Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1 ……………………………………………185
A. Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9 ……………………………………………188
A. Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1 …………………………………………………...191
A. Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6 …………………….……..………………………193

Chapter One

I. Definition.

An etude is a piece of music composed to develop and cultivate techniques, skills, styles,

and concepts. The French word étude is equivalent to “study” in English. For an instrumental

performer, etudes are a critically essential part of the curriculum. For all the instrumentalists,

their study is necessary to learn about various style periods, to play easily in all keys, to conquer

times signatures and rhythmic patterns, to expand bow control, to master articulation patterns, to

develop left- and right-hand coordination, and to become proficient in various techniques.

Etude is also issued under different names, such as method, exercise, fantasia ricercar,

capriccio/caprice, study, etc. Before 1520, the term “fantasia” already was used as a title in

German keyboard manuscripts, in which the musical context was on the imaginative musical

idea instead of a compositional genre. Later, the compositions still tended to emphasize on the

idea of musical imagination, such as Hermann Finck’s Bona fantasia (1556). Fantasia was

treated as a kind of prelude in Germany and Netherlands of the seventeenth century. Michael

Praetorius (1571 – 1621) once described it as “Of Preludes in their own right.” In the sixteenth

and seventeenth centuries, fantasia, ricercar and capriccio were interchangeable with each other.

One of the most important characteristics was that fantasia was free from the restriction of

words1: the composer could express his/her own inspiration without any expression of words.

The musicians of the eighteenth century increased the freedom of fantasia inherited from the

Renaissance and the seventeenth century, in terms of tempo, rhythm, harmony and modulation

(e.g. omission of bar line). The people after 1700 started to view fantasia as a genre that

Christopher D.S. Field, et al, “Fantasia,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 23 Octorber 2008

attempted to capture improvisatory elements as well as for didactic materials. For instance, J.S.

Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV 903 illustrates the sense of improvisational freedom

by using sudden deceptive cadences, bold modulation, and contrasting moods. Beethoven’s

Choral Fantasy Op. 80 (1808) starts with an improvisatory opening played by the pianist.2 Both

pieces are used for teaching from that time to today. The latter established that Beethoven was

the one who brought fantasia into a more diverse world for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Beethoven maintained and broke traditions by introducing chorus into a form that had been only

used for instruments for the past three-hundred years.3 The fantasia works after 1800s involved

with more folk melodies, quotations from operas, descriptive landscapes, etc. This genre also

reflected Romantic and modern spirit with different instrumentations, as in works by Schubert

(Wandererfantasie for piano solo, 1822), Chopin (Fantasy on Polish Airs for piano with

orchestra, 1828), Schumann (Fantasia in C, Op. 17, 1836 – 1838), Liszt (Fantasie und Fuge über

den Choral Ad nos, ad salutarem undam for organ, 1850), Vaughan Williams (Fantasia on

Greensleeves for orchestra and band, 1934), and Schoenberg (Phantasy, Op. 47 for violin and

piano, 1949).4

Ricerare was originally used for a prelude-like piece for lute or keyboard instrument, very

similar with fantasia. The earliest appearance of ricercare was connected with ‘troubadour’ and

‘trouvère’, and then it reappeared again in J.S. Bach’s two-part inventions. Several early authors

defined ricercare as a fugal form with imitative texture, such as in Vincenzo Galilei’s Dialogo

(1581) and Michael Praetorius’ Syntagma musicum, iii (1618), but the essence of ricercare

Don Michael Randel, The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (Cambridge, Massachusetts, London:
Harvard University Press, 2003), 306 – 08.
Field, “Fantasia.”
Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 306 – 08.

changed to a preludial function without imitation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 – 1643) achieved organ ricercare works, including Ricercari et

canzoni (1615) and Fiori musicali (1635). 5 Giovanni Battista Degli Antonii (1660 – 1696)

composed a set of twelve unaccompanied ricercari in 1687. 6 Here the “ricercari” suggests

instructive pieces or etudes. During the time of J.S. Bach, ricercare became a piece with

monothematic character; his Art of Fugue would be an example.

Capriccio is a composition filled with imagination or humor. It usually has more contrasts

in the conventions of harmony and counterpoint (hardverd).7 The term “capriccio” had different

aspects. First, it was treated as a musical composition in the madrigal cycle of Orlando furioso

(1561) by Jacquet de Berchem. Then, it became instrumental pieces, which can be seen in some

ensemble works written by Ottavio Bariolla and Paolo Fonghetto.8 Some capriccios, which were

regarded as a precursor of the fugue, contained contrapuntal textures with fugal subject and short

sections with repetition. Italian keyboard composers were famous for this type, including

Giovanni Maria Trabaci, Ascanio Mayone, and G. Frescobaldi. M. Praetorius implied such

pieces very similar to fantasias in his Syntagma musicum. Some other capriccios employed the

concept of program.9 One of the famous pieces was Bach’s Capriccio on the Departure of his

Most Beloved Brother, BWV 992 (1704). This piece uses not only fugal writing, but also

imitation of sounds of the post horn. After 1730, the composers began to compose capriccios

Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 729 – 31.
Elizabeth Cowling, The Cello (New York: C. Scribner's Sons Press, 1983), 77.
Wendy Thompson and Jane Bellingham,“capriccio,” The Oxford Companion to Music, Ed. Alison
Latham, Oxford Music Online, 22 Feb. 2009.
Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 148 – 49.

Bellingham, “capriccio.”

with free tempo and cadenza character. For instance, Pietro Locatelli’s 24 Capriccios for violin

(1733) are a set of virtuoso technical etudes in all keys. Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices, Op. 1

(1805) showed an exploration of violin techniques. Alfredo Piatti wrote a set of twelve caprices

for cello in 1875.10 These capriccios spawned in the demanding of technical virtuoso as well as

on the performance stage.

Musical studies have been composed since the eighteenth century. Etude can be

represented in various names after the nineteenth century. The composers recognized more

possibilities in the genre of etude. Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849) was the one who transformed

etude into concert pieces. His Twenty-Four Etudes, Op. 10 and 25 (in two sets of 12 each)

require a high amount of skill from the pianist, and are considered some of the most difficult

pieces composed for the piano. Etudes can be in many forms and are sometimes grouped into

larger schemes. For example, Études symphoniques by Robert Schumann (1810-1856) bears the

title, which was revised in 1852 with the title Études en forme de Variations.11 This set of piano

pieces consists of twelve variations and a finale.

II. The Development of Cello Techniques.

Cello techniques developed from the violin family in the middle of the seventeenth

century. The cello techniques were similar to those of viola da gamba in the seventeenth and

eighteenth centuries. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the gamba players started to

abandon their instrument in favor of the cello.13 Some players were even proficient on both

Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 149.
Randel, The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 301.
William Pleeth, Cello, ed. Nona Pyron (New York: Schirmer Books Press, 1982), 234 – 35.

instruments. In the end of the eighteenth century, two facts stimulated the evolution of the cello

techniques: the increasing popularity of the cello and the “Tourte-design bow” created in 1785.14

(The Tourte’s bow is also known as “the Stradivari of the bow”, designed by François Xavier

Tourte (1747/1748 – 1835). The Tourte’s bow is made from the selected pernambuco wood,

setting in a moderate heat for curvature.15) The cello appeared to be a popular instrument for

music-making in the home by people of all classes. In 1846, the adjustable endpin16 started to be

included in the cello playing. (The endpin is a device extendable from the bottom of a cello that

makes contact with the floor and helps the player to secure the position. It is made of metal, or in

some cases wood or carbon fiber, and secured with a thumbscrew.) The Tourte-design bow led to

various bow techniques, and the adjustable endpin resulted in more stable playing that produced

greater freedom and sonority.

Cello techniques have been closely tied to how the cello is held, which is largely divided

into three postures. In the seventeenth century, the cello was placed vertically, low between the

performer’s legs on the floor or on a stool, so that the left hand’s technique only reached to the

neck position (the fourth position). The left-hand techniques included position change,

expanding and contracting, and double stops, in which the thumb is placed on the neck to support

the rest of fingers. In the eighteenth century, the players began to place the instrument between

their knees, supporting it with their calves. Because the position of the cello rose, the contact

point of the string and bow was higher than that of the seventeenth century, resulting to the point

that the player could use the entire length of the bow. The thumb was not only placed in the

Valerie Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello: a history of technique and performance practice,
1740-1840 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 62.
Paul Childs, “Tourte,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 11 Oct. 2008
Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 51.

fourth position, but also in the higher positions, which meant that the use of the thumb was more

flexible. The last stage happened in the nineteenth century. Due to the adjustable endpin, the

cello techniques moved to a higher level: the refinement of the position change, double stops,

and the innovation of harmonic and artificial harmonics.

The earliest cello method book may be traced to Johann Sebald Triemer’s (1700 – 1762)

Elementary Theory and Rudiments of Playing the Violin and Violoncello, published in 1739 in

Amsterdam. 17 About the same period, Michel Corrette (1707 – 1795) also wrote a flood of

method books for different instruments, including Methode de la flute traversière (1735),

Méthode pour apprendre facilement à jouer du par-dessus de viole à 5 et à 6 cordes avec des

leçons, 1–2 descant viols (1748), Le berger galant, méthode contenant les veritables principes

pour apprendre facilement à jouer de la flûte à bec (1784),18 and so on. One of his method books,

Méthode théorique et pratique pour apprendre en peu de tems le violoncelle dans sa perfection

(1741) has 46 pages and contains not only exercises but also verbal descriptions about how to

play cello. Also, there was two more works which couldn’t be traced the date: a set of 98 short

“Lexione” (lessons) and “Lexione” of 44 short pieces composed by the cellist as well as

composer, Antonio Caldara (1671? – 1736).19 None of them include any verbal explanations or

studies. However, each lesson consists of figured-bass accompaniment. The whole collection

integrates the devices that the cellists of the period used. After these method books, there are no

methods published until the late eighteenth century.

Cowling, The Cello, 73.
David Fuller and Bruce Gustafson, “Corrette, Michel,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 11
Oct. 2008 <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/06563>.
Cowling, The Cello, 73.

In the seventeenth century, the violoncello served as an ostinato accompaniment

instrument. The requirements for playing the music at that time were very rudimentary. The

violoncello had found its place as an orchestral instrument in the 1680s at Vienna.20 In the

second half of the eighteenth century, Luigi Boccherini’s (1743 – 1805) compositions gave more

important obligations to violoncello. The violoncello plays not only accompaniment figures but

also melody configurations. Although there were some books about cello techniques in the

eighteenth century, this genre rapidly grew. A number of teaching materials that aimed at the

amateur and the professional were brought out in the nineteenth century.

The cello repertoire was very extensive in the nineteenth century, although many

manuscripts do not survive today. The composers and instrumentalists in the period produced a

great deal of music for cello. The following etude books form a cornerstone of the repertoire for

students today. They begin with Jean-Louis Duport’s (1749 – 1819) cello treatise Essai sur le

doigté du violoncelle et sur la conduite de l’archet in 1806. It was followed by Bernard Heinrich

Romberg’s (1767 – 1841) A Complete Theoretical and Practical School for the Violoncello in

1840. Duport specified idiomatic cello technique, distinct from the influences of the viola da

gamba and violin. His methodology of sequential, diatonic fingerings for note patterns in all keys

became fundamental to many subsequent players.21 These 21 exercises have appeared in several

modern editions, including those by Simrock and International. Duport's etudes usually have

contrasting thematic material and the rhythmic patterns are often varied within each etude.

Musically, the contents reflect his understanding of the extent to which material can be pushed

from the end of the Classical to the beginning of the Romantic periods. Most of the etudes have

Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski, The Violoncello and its History, ed. Isobella S. E. Stigand (New York,
Da Capo Press, 1968), 1 – 42.
Mary Cyr and Valerie Walden, “Duport,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 11 Oct. 2008

specific dynamic markings, and the techniques of both thumb and neck positions occupy a large

proportion of the book. Duport revealed his distillation on fingering for the chromatic scale with

1 – 2 – 3 – 1 – 2 – 3 fingerings.22

Romberg’s book includes not only exercises, but also verbal descriptions, including cello

techniques (e.g., staccato, double stops, harmonics), musical terms (e.g., da capo), and music-

theory aspects (e.g., various clefs, cadence). A lot of exercises contain two cello parts, which are

efficient for teaching. Besides G. B. D. Antonii’s 12 ricercari, Domenico Gabrielli (1659 – 1690)

had a collection containing seven ricercari for violoncello solo, which he intended to play on a

four-stringed cello tuned C2 – G2 – D3 – G3.23 Josef Merk (1795 – 1852) dedicated his Twenty

Exercises, Op. 11 (1834) to Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828). In turn, Chopin wrote the Polonaise

Brillante op.3 (1829 – 1830) for Merk when Merk visited Vienna in 1829.24 Half of his Twenty

Exercises, Op. 11 begin with a slow section. The whole collection is in various forms consisting

of variation, scherzo, and prelude.

The Violoncello Method of Friedrich August Kummer (1797 – 1879) was of more

practical significance than the Violoncello Studies of Friedrich Dotzauer (1783 – 1860).

Kummer’s book starts with 2-page statements about how to hold the instrument, the gesture of

left and right hand, and how to tune the cello; this is followed by over one hundred exercises.

The book also includes three-octave scales with fingerings. Each new topic always begins with a

statement. The method is interesting for its systematic exposition and progressive nature of

certain statements. On the other hand, Dotzauer’s book does not have any word descriptions.

Ozan Tunca, “Cello Etude Books in Popularity Contest: The Most Commonly Used,” American String
Teacher (August, 2004): 56.
Cowling, The Cello, 77 – 8.
John Moran, “Merk, Josef,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 11 Oct. 2008

Each etude focuses on only one technique, resulting to a very regular and dreary phrase structure.

Grützmacher's Twenty-Four Etudes, Op. 38 (publication date unknown) are published in two

volumes. There is a huge difference between these volumes in terms of technical difficulty.

Edmund Sebastian Joseph van der Straeten (1855 – 1934) describes the first volume as being

perhaps useful for “the student of moderately advanced technique” and describes the second

volume as being “in many instances overlade with difficulties of a transcendental nature….

Paganini-like feats [useful for] the virtuoso.”25 Grützmacher's later set of twelve etudes, his Op.

72 (publication date unknown), does not make a contribution to the advancement of cello

technique. They are easier than Volume One of Op. 38, and like David Popper's High School of

Violoncello Palying, Op. 76 (1901 – 1905), are preparatory for the earlier set. On the other hand,

the exercises of Hugo Becker’s (1864 – 1941) Gemischte Finger- & Bogen-Uebungen nebst

neuen Tonleiter-Studien für Violoncell (Finger- and bow-exercises and new scale-studies for the

violoncello) (publication date unknown) are much shorter than Grützmacher's etudes. This book

focuses on each finger’s exercises, scale studies, spiccato, exercises in thirds and octaves, and

shakes studies (which refer to the finger repetition in different positions). Dotzauer’s One

Hundred and Thirteen Studies for Cello Solo, selected and edited by Johann Klingenberg (a pupil

of Friedrich Grützmacher),26 is however still widely used today. The first two volumes (No. 1 –

62) are intended for the intermediate level and the last two volumes (No. 63 – 113) for advanced

level. This book emphasizes the agility of the left-hand technique and string crossing for the right

hand. However, several techniques are not included, such as sautillé, pizzicato, portato and pique.

Edmund S. J. Van Der Straeten, History of the Violoncello, the Viol Da Gamba, their Precursors and
Collateral Instruments (London, William Reeves, 1914), 430.
Walsielewski, The Violoncello and its History, 120.

Popper wrote three sets of teaching materials for cello: High School of Cello Playing, Op.

73 (1901 – 1905); Ten Medium Difficult Studies, Op. 76 (1907); and Easy Studies for Cello, Op.

76 (1908).27 The most famous of the three was High School of Cello Playing, written to improve

the cellists’ technique problems at that time. One of the etudes, No. 19 “Lohengrin Etude”, came

from the famous Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin. Popper took “a fragment from Act Three, Scene

Three of this opera. When well learned, this study helped the orchestra cellists to perform the

repeating figure in the first hundred and eleven measures in the score with ease.”28 Not only No.

19 etude, but also No. 5 used were influenced by Wagner’s opera, in which Popper made use of

the same rhythmic motive of Wagner’s Walküre Act Three, Scene One.29 Although this etude

covers many aspects of cello playing, they do not explore a wide range of bowing techniques.

The difficulty of the studies does not progress gradually. Several etudes have their special names;

e.g., etude No. 19 is entitled “Löhengrin.” The whole collection seems to feature rhythmic

invariance. Popper uses the same rhythmic motive all the way through each etude. For Example,

No. 14 “Study in Staccato” (Figure 1.1) is based on sixteenth-note rhythm in a setting of two-bar

unit that combines the first two notes in a slur with the rest of the sixteenth notes are in staccato

for up-bow. There are just a few exceptions: nos. 20 and 39. Also, there is no contrasting

thematic or melodic. The theme usually is repeated over and over, sometimes in bits and pieces,

sometimes in full; it is also placed in strange and unexpected places. One can find the theme an

octave higher or lower, or in a different key.

Tunca, “Cello Etude Books in Popularity Contest,” 54.
Steven De'ak, David Popper, (Neptune City, N. J.: Paganini Ana Publications, 1980), 262.
De'ak, David Popper, 262 – 63.

German-American cellist and pedagogue, Alwin Schroeder (1855 – 1928) edited

featuring works of cellists from several different countries into One Hundred and Seventy

Studies (1916) in three volumes30 presenting diverse approach to cello techniques. The studies

were selected and arranged from the works of Bernhard Cossman (1822 – 1910), Dotzauer,

Duport, Auguste Franchomme (1808 – 1884), Grützmacher, Kummer, Sebastian Lee (1805 –

1887), Merk, Piatti, Karl Schroeder (1848 – 1935), and Adrien-François Servais (1807 – 1866).

The topics include left-hand agility, thumb position, position establishment, multiple stops,

octaves, bowing techniques, and left- and right-hand coordination.31 Both Franchomme’s and

Piatti’s Caprices are concert etudes that are played often in performance; these will be described

in more detail later in this document. Most recently the Ten American Cello Etudes (1988) of

Aaron Minsky (b. 1958), a set of pieces based on various styles of American popular music, have

become widely used in performance.

Ozan Tunca conducted a survey on the popularity of cello etudes. The figure 1.2 clearly

displays the popularity of the cello etude books:32 Popper’s High School of Cello Playing, Op. 76

is the most common pedagogical book used by cello teachers. This table is based on a scale of 11,

in which the smaller the number is, the most frequently it is used, and the higher the number is,

the less popular it is. On the other hand, Merk’s Twenty Exercises, Op. 11 is least common out

of ten books. People today use Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25 more often than Franchomme’s 12

Caprices, Op. 7.

Tunca, “Cello Etude Books in Popularity Contest,” 56.
Tunca, “Cello Etude Books in Popularity Contest,” 56.
Tunca, “Cello Etude Books in Popularity Contest,” 57.

Figure 1.2: Ozan Tunca’s survey of etudes.

Etude Book scale degree of the Usage Frequency

Popper’s High School of Cello Playing 1.97

Schroeder’s 170 Studies 2.97

Duport’s Essay 4.12

Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25 6.67

Dotzauer’s 113 Studies 7.12

Franchomme’s Etudes 8.85

Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7 8.85

Grützmacher’s 24 Etudes, Op. 38 8.61

Servais 9.48

Merk’s 20 Exercises, Op. 11 9.79

Others 10.33

III. Types.

As stated at the beginning of this chapter, the word “etudes” is a general term which

covers a wide range of teaching material. The New Harvard Dictionary of Music divides etudes

into two categories: the exercise and the concert etude.33 It has not been recognized that cello

etudes should in fact be individed into three categories: the method book, the exercise or study,

and the concert etude.

The method book contains not only short exercises, but also descriptive words about how

to execute the technique, such as Méthode théorique et pratique pour apprendre en peu de tems

Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, Etude, 301.

le violoncelle dans sa perfection by Corrette written in 1741. This book deals primarily with

elementary cello technique. It starts off with scales, then moving on to arpeggios and double

stops. But what sets this book apart is its detailed written instructions on how to practice and use

the exercises, so one could say this is more like a manual for cello technique. Joseph

Bonaventure Tillière’s (1750 – 1790) Méthode pour le violoncelle contenant tous les principes

nécessaires pour bien jouer de cet instrument divides exercises into different lessons. Each

lesson deals with a particular technical issue. For example, Lesson 1 deals with drawing a

straight bow, whereas Lesson 15 focuses on string crossing.

The exercise or study is usually presented in a very short length covering a specific

technique without musical aspects, and can be as short as possible, ranging from one to several

measures. For instance, Otakar Sevcik’s (1852-1934) Violin Studies, Op. 9 (publication date

unknown) is a comprehensive collection of preparatory exercises in double stops on the violin.

These fifty-eight exercises give the most versatile approach to playing chords, harmonies and

pedals. The book includes extensive guidance and performance notes in Italian, French, German,

and English. Sevcik also composed several other exercise books for cello techniques, including

Thumb Placing Exercises, Op. 1, School of Bowing Technique, op. 2, and Changes of Position

and Preparatory Scale Studies, op. 8. His School of Bowing Technique (publication date

unknown) contains six volumes and every exercise has its own topic. It is always arranged with a

long exercise about 20-30 bars and a great number of one-measure exercise. The title of No. 6 is

“study in eighth notes with 214 changes of bowing styles.” The first exercise is only about eighth

notes for 33 measures followed by 214 one-measure exercise with various bow styles.

The concert etude incorporates one or more techniques and musical possibilities. This

genre focuses on techniques as well as rhythms, harmonies, styles, etc. Although musical

considerations can be made in the exercise, it is one of the essential elements for the concert

etudes. The exercise books are usually published with certain title, such as fantasies and caprices,

while the concert etudes are published in systematical sets in one volume. 34 For instance,

Cossmann’s Concert Studies, Op. 10 (1870) have only five etudes and each one is very long with

colorful harmonies. The first etude (Figure 1.3) is about melodic arpeggiations with whole bow,

demonstrating the character of the concert etude. Both Franchomme’s and Piatti’s 12 Caprices

belong to this catalog with beautiful melodies. These two sets of etudes will be discussed more


Sally O’ Reilly, “Getting a Jump on Advanced String Techniques,” The Instrumentalist 49 (October
1994): 36.

Figures of Chapter One

 Figure 1.1: David Popper’s High School of Violoncello Playing, Op. 76, No. 14.

 Figure 1.3: Bernhard Cossmann’s Concert Studies, Op. 10, No. 1.

Chapter Two
The Biographies of Auguste Franchomme and Alfredo Piatti

A. Auguste Franchomme.

Auguste Franchomme, like Alfredo Piatti, was one of the most distinguished cellists and

pedagogues of the nineteenth century. He was born in 1808, and began studying cello at age

twelve in 1820.1 By 1821, he already won his first competition.2 First he studied with M. Mas at

the Lille Conservatoire, continuing his studies at the Paris Conservatoire under Jean Henri

Levasseur, and after with Louis Pièrre Norblin at the Paris Conservatoire. He became very active

playing for several prestigious music companies, including the Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique in

1825 – 1826, the Opéra in 1827, the Théâtre Italien as well as the royal chapel in 1828, and

Napoleon III’s court orchestra in 1853.3 From 1846 until the end of his life, he was a cello

professor at the Paris Conservatoire. His pupils included Charles Lebouc, Leon Jacquard,

Hyppolite Rabaud, Jules Delsart, Louis Vidal, and Cros Saint-Ange.4

I. As a Composer.

In addition to being an opera and orchestra player (and chamber music player), he was

also a composer of more than fifty works for cello, with piano or with orchestra. His music has a

poetic cantilena style and is very expressive, perhaps revealing the influence of his friend Chopin.

Few pieces are still being played today, however. Among the best known are the Cello Concerto;

1 Valerie Walden, “Franchomme, Auguste,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 30 Jan. 2009

2 Lev Solomonovich Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello (Neptune City, N.J.: Paganiniana Publications,
1983), 83.

3 Walden, “Franchomme, Auguste.”

4 Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello, 84.

Twelve Caprices, Op. 7; Variation for Violoncello and Piano in G major, Op. 4, and ... in F

major, Op. 3; and Fantasies on the themes from these four operas: Grétry’s Richard Coeur de

Lion, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Rossini’s Semiramida, and Bellini’s Norma.5 Elizabeth Cowling

mentioned, “All of the literature mentioned above (which includes some concertos, cello

methods, daily exercises written by the composers from Bernard Romberg (1767 – 1841),

Friedrich Dotzauer (1783 – 1860) to David Popper (1843 – 1913). Both sets of 12 Caprices by

Franchomme and Piatti were one of them.) is outmoded for recital use today although it will

continue to interest the music historian.” This proves that these pieces were popular for the

concert repertoire at that time.

II. Association with Contemporary Musicians.

Franchomme founded several musical organizations, including the “Matinées Annuelles

de Quatuors” and, the Concerts du Cercle Musical in collaboration with the violinist Delphin

Alard.6 Since he was a member of Alard’s string quartet, he had a chance to meet Charles Hallé,

Ignaz Moscheles, Liszt, and Chopin. During his travel to Paris in 1831, he met Mendelssohn and

then they became close friends. With Chopin Franchomme collaborated composing the Grand

Duo Concertante on themes from Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable in 1836 (in which he wrote most

cello parts by himself) and the Polonaise Brillant Op. 3.7 Chopin also wrote a cello sonata for

Franchomme, and a record showed Chopin’s work progress in the end of 1845 when he wrote a

letter to his family in Warsaw:

Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello, 84
Walden, “Franchomme, Auguste.”
Jim Samson, “Review: Cello Sonata; Grand Duo Concertante; Introduction and Polonaise by Frederick
Chopin,” Early Music 8, no. 4 (October 1980): 573.

“Now I would like to finish the Sonata for violoncello, the Barcarolle, and something else
that I do not know how to name, but I doubt weather I will have time, for already the bustle

In the cellist’s own inscribed copy of this work, which is in the National Library in Paris,

there is a notice: “The violoncello part of the sonata for piano and cello by Chopin is written by

me according to his dictation. Franchomme.”9 Chopin spent two years composing this sonata,

and Franchomme premiered it in the following year 1847. 10 One could therefore say that

Franchomme’s most enduring contribution to the cello literature was his friendship with Chopin.

This resulted in a compositional style similar to that of Chopin.

III. Music.

His Souvenir De Norma: Fantasia sulla Norma di Bellini for Cello and Piano (or Harp)

was written in the 1830s (the first edition of the music was printed in 1837). Souvenir De Norma

recalls some of Bellini’s most famous numbers, especially Act I’s famous “Casta diva” from

Norma: the writing of this piece imitates the singing style of Norma – syllabic and florid style.

Mary Ann Smart has described the style of Norma: “Norma's dominant idiom is mostly syllabic

‘long melody’, but in moments of fury or religious transport she sings floridly (“Oh non tremare,

o perfido” in the Act 1 finale; “Casta diva”).” 11 In Franchomme’s Souvenir De Norma, the

principal theme is long and lyrical in the bel canto style, as can be seen in Figure 2.1 (a, b). Like

Jeffery Kallberg, “Chopin’s Last Style,” Journal of American Musicological Society 38, no. 2 (Summer
1985): 268.
Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello, 84 – 5.
Walden, “Franchomme, Auguste.”
Mary Ann Smart, et al, “Bellini, Vincenzo,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 30 Jan. 2009

“Casta Diva”, it has an opening prelude before the theme comes in. The opening of “Casta Diva”

has separate chordal figures provided in Figure 2.2 – a, while that of Souvenir De Norma

contains chords played by cello and piano (Figure 2.1 – a). Once Norma starts to sing Casta Diva,

the orchestra comprises separate chordal figures (Figure 2.2 – b). When Norma sings “Ah! Bello

ame ritorna” (Figure 2.2 – c), the music changes to energetic French dotted rhythm. Franchomme

did the same thing for the Allegro section (Figure 2.1 – c): the piano has the main melody while

the cello offers previous chordal figures for a while. Then the cello moves to all sixteenth notes

while the piano still plays the same French dotted melody, as shown in Figure 2.1 – e, in which

the sixteenth notes symbolize Norma’s fury and anxiety.

The genre of the “Souvenir” also required Franchomme to produce a work of high

virtuosity, which he illustrates in numerous demanding passages. For instance, he made use of

double stops (Figure 2.1 – b), high registers in thumb position (Figure 2.1 – d), staccato (2.1 – e),

and a slurred two-note figure followed by two-note staccato (2.1 – f) – similar techniques appear

in his 12 Caprices, Op. 7 as well. This piece also requires accuracy of position shifting, such as

Figure 2.1 – d. This demonstrates not only Franchomme’s efficient use of cello but also Norma’s

Italian coloratura leaps.

B. Alfredo Piatti.

Alfredo Piatti (1822 – 1901) appears to have been one of the most acclaimed cellists of

the nineteenth century, as programs and reviews of his concerts abound in newspapers and other

periodicals from the nineteenth century. He was born to a musician family in Bergamo in

Northern Italy on January 8, 1822. His father, Antonio Piatti, was a musician; and his godfather,

Carlo Bossi, was a well-known organ-builder.12 Although Piatti grew up in a musical family, a

letter published in Illustrazione Italiana in December 1875 indicated that he was not interested in

a musical career. From the age of four, his father forced him to practice the cello ten hours each

day. Because the young Piatti expressed his desire to miss lessons and lead a normal childhood,

his parents sent him away to apprentice with a shoe repairman. Terrified by this new experience,

he swore to his parents he would work as hard as he could as long as they would take him back.13

After one year, his father realized that Piatti needed a cello teacher more professional

than himself. Accordingly, Piatti began studying cello with his great-uncle Gaetano Zanetti, who

played first cello in the opera’s orchestra. Giovanni Simone Mayr (a.k.a. Johann Simon Mayr),

who composed the Variation for Violoncello and Orchestra, wrote a letter to his friend Bonesi,

lauding Alfredo Piatti’s cello playing as outstanding, in both small recitals and as a soloist with

orchestra.14 At that time, Mayr was a composer and central figure in Bergamo musical life, and

later became Piatti’s teacher. There were two opera seasons every year in Bergamo: one at the

Teatro Sociale and another at the Teatro Riccardi. At the age of eight (1830), Piatti performed in

Annalisa Barzanò and Christian Bellisario, Signor Piatti (Sir Piatti) (Kronberg: Kronberg Academy
Verlag, 2001), 181.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 182.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 183.

the orchestra at the Teatro Sociale.15 Child prodigies were fashionable at that time, and Piatti

definitely was one of them, allowing him to enter the professional musical world at a very early


I. Life at the Conservatory in the 1830s.

With the death of Zanetti, Antonio Piatti decided to continue his son’s education in the

Milan Conservatory which provided “twenty-four free places” for poor students. In addition to

the exams for reading, writing and arithmetic, there was one difficult exam for a student’s

aptitude for an instrument, which Piatti passed with minimal effort. While at the Milan

Conservatory, he studied with Mayr who had great influence on him. Piatti was an outstanding

student, which allowed him to participate in the most advanced course, “Academie.” In this class,

the teacher assigned each student a piece to perform in public. In September 1836, Piatti rejected

his teacher’s decision, and with the support of the director, Vaccai, he instead played what he

wanted: variations on one of Paisiello’s arias composed by Piatti himself. On this occasion, the

governor of Lombardy, Conte d’ Hartig, the governor of Lombardy, gave him a fine violoncello

made by Duport.16 An article in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung called young Piatti the

“Paganini of the cello” after he gave a performance of the Variations for Violoncello and

Orchestra that he composed.17 After he finished his studies in the Milan Conservatory, he went

back to Bergamo and played in the civic orchestra.

Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 183.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 187.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 187 – 88.

II. Connections with Contemporary Musicians.

His father was very ambitious about his son’s musical career. He contacted the opera

composer, Gaetano Donizetti (also from Bergamo), right after he finished his training at the

Milan Conservatory, and managed Piatti playing in the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna where

he played his own fantasia on Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.18 Both of them soon realized

that the living cost in Vienna was too high to afford. They went back to Bergamo, where Piatti

stayed as an orchestral cellist.

In 1843, Piatti had an opportunity to play with Franz Liszt in Munich. Liszt was already

famous at that time, and the performance received great audience enthusiasm. After his

performances, Alfredo played an expressive composition, “Fantasies on the Themes from the

Final Aria of Lucia.” At first, no one applauded. Then, after a long silence, the audience

applauded so graciously that Liszt and Piatti had to bow three times.19 Such response was very

unusual for an unknown cellist at that time. Liszt was very pleased with Piatti’s playing. Piatti

earned his attention, and Liszt encouraged Piatti to go to Paris. However, the French critics

responded negatively to his few concerts, describing him as a master of cello technique but

lacking elegant expression on stage.20 Piatti was depressed and he composed one of his saddest

compositions, the Chant religieux. 21 In one of the concerts that Piatti gave in Paris, Liszt

generously gave him an Amati cello by Andrea Amati.22 This Amati cello was used by Piatti for

many years.

Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 190.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 193.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 193 – 94.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 193.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 229.

After Zanetti died in 1830, Piatti was appointed his successor as the lead cellist of the

opera, despite being only eight years old. When he traveled to England and gave his first concert

in London, at Her Majesty’s Theater, critics ranked him immediately as an artist of extraordinary

excellence, and Piatti himself was well pleased with the impression he had made. It was at this

concert that, as Piatti later wrote, “a little fat boy with ruddy cheeks and a short jacket … stepped

on the platform and played the violin.” This was Joseph Joachim (1831 – 1907), whose name

later became closely associated with that of Piatti.23

Immediately before Piatti’s performance that evening, Felix Mendelssohn played

Beethoven's Piano Concerto in G major. After the concert, the pianist Ignaz Moscheles informed

Piatti that Mendelssohn would like to play a sonata with him. When they met at Moscheles’

house, Mendelssohn took out the manuscript of his Cello Sonata in D major and played it with

Piatti. Mendelssohn was so enthusiastic about it that he sent Piatti the following note, “To Mr.

Piatti with many thanks for the great pleasure of playing my sonata with him this morning and

with my sincerest admiration of his great talent.” Soon after, he began composing a concerto for

cello and orchestra, and dedicated it to Piatti when he finished the first movement. Unfortunately,

the manuscript was lost in the mail and Mendelssohn never tried to rewrite or finish the piece.24

Nonetheless, this meeting with Mendelssohn exerted great influence on the remainder of Piatti’s

musical career.25

Carlos Prieto, The Adventure of a Cello, trans. Elena C. Murray (Austin: University of Texas Press,
2006), 55 – 61.

24 Dimitry Markevitch, Cello Story, trans. Florence W. Seder (Princeton: Summy-Birchard Music, 1984),
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 201.

In 1844, Piatti participated in a series of concerts organized by the pianist Theodor von

Döhler. For the first time, he had the chance to perform a composition for a chamber ensemble in

public, Beethoven’s Trio in C Minor.26 Döhler was satisfied with Alfredo’s playing and offered

him a chance to tour with him in Europe. During their tour, Alfredo performed his two new

compositions: Une Prière and Variations on Lucia di Lammermoor. German critics were

fascinated by him not only because of his warm sound and his graceful technique, but also

because of his precise intonation and his use of double stops. One of the newspapers wrote that

“we have heard Bernard Romberg, Adrien François Servais, Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer

and Friedrich Kummer; in every way Piatti competes with these lofty heights; no one can render

the melody better than he can.”27

In 1845, Piatti had an opportunity to play with Servais in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

One of the critics claimed that “the style of the Belgian player is more calculated and stately; that

of the young Italian [Piatti] is more natural and clear. Whoever does not marvel at the fusion of

their incomparable sounds in Romberg’s duets cannot imagine what perfect execution is.”28

III. Orchestra Life.

In 1847, Piatti finally established his reputation to be principal cellist in the most

important orchestra of England, “Her Majesty’s Theatre.” As principal cellist, he participated in

the premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s I Masnadiere, which was directed by Verdi himself. His

position also allowed him to play with the violinist Joachim in 1852.29 While he was working in

Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 195.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 196.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 197.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 201.

the orchestra of Her Majesty’s Theatre, he also took offers made by the Musical Union, which

arranged a series of chamber music concerts on Tuesday afternoons every other week. In 1856,

for the first time he played with the pianist Clara Schumann.30 By working for the Musical Union,

he broadened his experience in the catalog of chamber music, especially in the performances of

string quartet.

IV. Performance Life at London from 1847 to the 1890s.

Piatti had a tremendous career in London since 1847. At that time, music was an essential

activity for English people; taking music lessons and hiring musicians to play in homes houses

were very common phenomena. Although music was very popular in England, it was not taken

seriously as an art for its own sake, and typically assumed a subsidiary role. At first, he took part

in many private concerts. As the years went by, however, his participation in private concerts

diminished considerably.

Piatti often played, however, in the many venues dedicated to the networking and

collaboration of musicians, including Amateur Musical Society, Crystal Palace, Sacred

Harmonic Society, Philharmonic Society, and New Philharmonic Society.31 For instance, it was

in the Crystal Palace in 1866 that Piatti performed the Concerto that Sullivan had written

especially for him. Since 1851, Piatti had started to work in the “Sacred Harmonic Society” in

where he only played religious music.32 In 1852, he played Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, op. 56

Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 202.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 199 – 201.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 200.

under the director of Hector Berlioz in the New Philharmonic Society.33 In the meantime, he had

the opportunity to perform his own works. For instance, in 1856, 1857 and 1862, he performed

the Concerto, Op. 18, Une Priére, Concerto, Op. 24 and Concerto, Op. 26.34

V. Performing Piatti’s Own Works.

In London around late 1850s and 1860s, the prices of concert tickets depended on the

director. Some musicians like Piatti would not allow high-price tickets to be sold, since high

prices would forbid people who could not afford to go to concert. For this reason, St. James’s

Hall started to provide high-quality concerts with very affordable tickets. They aimed at

educating the audience, so the selection of repertoire was a very important consideration for the

organization of these concerts. In the beginning, only pieces that were deemed comfortable for a

lay audience were featured on the programs. Day by day, the audience became increasingly

familiar with more and more sophisticated music, and more complex pieces were performed.

These were so-called “Popular Concerts.” 35 The pieces appearing on the programs included

Alfredo’s first five Sonatas and some other works by Italian composers, such as Giorgio

Antoniotti, Pietro Locatelli, Benedetto Marcello and Giuseppe Valentini.36

After London, Manchester was the second most musically active environment in England.

The director of “Gentlemen’s Concerts”, Charles Hallé, invited Alfredo to perform there in 1858.

The pieces that Alfredo performed included Pieces in Folk Style by Robert Schumann, Duo

Concertante by Chopin and Franchomme, Triple Concerto, Op. 56 by Beethoven, some cello

Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 201.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 201.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 206.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 207.

concertos by Georg Goltermann, and many of his own works which he rarely played in


VI. Honorary Diploma.

In 1889, he played in a concert for fund raising to restore Beethoven’s house in Bonn

where Alfredo received his honorary diploma for his understanding of Beethoven’s works.38 In

fact, he played all of Beethoven’s works for cello during his long career.

VII. Critics.

One of Piatti’s friends commented that “Piatti plays, and the mad become sane. Piatti

plays and the wise go insane.”39 In 1886, he was deemed as “the player with warm displays of

affection and shouts of affectionate greetings” 40 . These successes gave him satisfaction and

started to think about retirement. He began to give opportunities to his pupils, such as William

Whitehouse, David Popper and Hugo Becker. By the mid-1890s, he gave relatively few


Piatti and his caprices continue to influence the history of cello technique and cellists. For

example, a modern cellist, Carlos Prieto (1930), owns a Stradivarius cello “The Piatti” named

after A. Piatti and travels around the world. His first series of concert with the Piatti was at Sala

Manuel Ponce of Mexico City and the Palace of Fine Arts. The program included not only J.S.

Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 209.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 198.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 220.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 208.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 208.

Bach’s Suites for Cello Solo and Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Cello Solo, Op. 8, but also A.

Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25. Besides, he mentioned this in his own biography:

Although I did not announce this publicly, I included Piatti’s caprices as a personal
tribute to the great Italian cellist who preceded me in the use and enjoyment of this
instrument. Technically, these particular works are extremely difficult, and as I studied
them, I reflected that they were undoubtedly very familiar to my cello, since they had
been often played by their author. I hoped that, as in the case of horses that always find
their way back to the stable, the cello’s familiarity with the caprices would guide me
through the maze of arpeggios and double stops!42

The Caprices have the same value as J.S. Bach’s Suites for Cello Solo in the cello literature. Also,

through the Caprices, people today can explore a variety of cello techniques, including arpeggios

and double stops.

VIII. Music.

Piatti’s study of cello techniques appears not only in his 12 Caprices, but also in his other

works. For example, his first composition, Theme and Variation for Cello and Orchestra, was

written when he was at the Milan Conservatory. He was only fourteenth years old, but he already

managed to play arpeggios (Figure 2.3 – 1), chromatic scale (Figure 2.3 – 2), double stops

(Figure 2.3 – 3), and staccato (Figure 2.3 – 4), as shown in Figure 2.3. In the final stage of

Piatti’s life, he composed “La Corsa” (The Race) in 1894 right after he recovered from his illness.

His eagerness pushed him to write this virtuoso piece and performed in his performance stage,

London. “La Corsa” simply conveyed his eagle towards his career by using staccato stroke.

Although this piece only has one stroke, the range of register is all over the cello fingerboard,

and it also includes double stops, provided in Figure 2.4.

Prieto, The Adventures of a Cello, 91 – 2.

Figures of Chapter Two

 Figure 2.1: Franchomme’s Souvenir De Norma.

a) Prelude (mm. 1 – 8) and theme (mm. 9 – 16).

b) Double stops, mm. 111 – 116.

c) Allegro.

d) High registers and position shifting, mm. 172 – 179.

e) Allegro: sixteenth notes in cello part accompanied the melody in piano part; staccato,
mm. 207 – 212.

f) A slurred two-note figure followed by two-note staccato, mm. 222 – 227.

 Figure 2.2: Bellini’s Norma “Casta Diva”
a) Prelude.

b) “Casta Diva.”

c) “Fine al rito, e il sacro bosco.”

d) Allegro: “Ah! Bello a me riturna.”

d) “Ah! Bello a me riturna.”

 Figure 2.3: Piatti’s Theme and Variation for Cello and Orchestra.
1) Arpeggio, mm. 41 and 43.

2) Chromatic scales, mm. 90 and 94.

3) Double stops (thirds, fifths, sixths, octave), mm. 114 – 121.

4) Staccato, mm. 194 – 201.

 Figure 2.4: Piatti’s “La Corsa.”

Chapter Three

I. Observation of Advanced Etudes by Franchomme and Piatti.1

In the cello repertoire as well as across the whole string family, three categories of

method books (and etudes) are used widely by students and professionals alike, to increase their

technical proficiencies. These include studies dealing with the left hand, the right hand, and both

hands simultaneously. Together, these three method types provide the core of a player’s

technique and coordination. Below, I will examine how the topical etudes help develop the

following techniques. For the left hand: (1) fingerings, (2) thumb position, (3) double stops (i.e.,

thirds, fifths, sixths and octaves), and (4) position establishment (i.e., neck and thumb). For the

right hand: (1) detache, (2) legato, (3) staccato, (4) spiccato, (5) martele (martellato), (6)

richochet, and (7) chord.

Franchomme’s and Piatti’s Caprices combine both right-hand and left-hand techniques,

unlike some etude books, which make a separation between left-hand and right-hand issues. For

example, An Organized Method of String Playing, by Janos Starker, focuses on developing the

left hand, including different positions with extension, double stops, and thumb position.

Conversely, Otakar Ševcik’s School of Bowing Technique, Op. 2, concentrates on right-hand

skills. Nevertheless, there are some method books that are similar in nature to the Caprices

written by Franchomme and Piatti, in that they develop both hands at the same time; these

include Justus Friedrich Dotzauer’s 113 Studies; Duport’s 21 Studies; Joseph Mark’s 20 Studies,

In my research of the advanced cello etudes by Franchomme and Piatti, I have consulted the following
sources of information (among others): (1) the website of eminent violin pedagogue, Kurt Sassmanshaus
(www.violinmasterclass.com), which features detailed accounts of most of the modern violin techniques that can be
adapted for cello playing; (2) One hundred Years of Violoncello, by Valerie Walden; (3) Essay on the Craft of Cello-
playing, by Christopher Bunting; and (4) The Cellist’s Right Hand: A Guidebook for Pedagogy and Practice, a
DMA document by Jack Erik Anderson.

Op. 11; and David Popper’s High School of Cello Playing, Op. 73. During the course of this

section, I shall describe the historical background and definition of each technique, followed by

some examples from Franchomme’s and Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7 and 25 respectively.

Why should we learn about different bow strokes and their histories? There are several

reasons for investigating these issues:

1. If one knows the definition of bow strokes, one learns the technique more efficiently.

2. Such techniques pushed the cello towards becoming a solo instrument, not just for


3. Because of the evolution of the techniques, compositions for the cello proliferated. Later

we had the cello concertos of Antonin Dvorak (in B Minor), Edouard Lalo, Edward Elgar,

and so forth.

In order to understand the specific procedures involved in the etudes of Franchomme and

Piatti (to be covered in later chapters), one must first acquire an understanding of the technical

elements of these etudes. Cello technique changed significantly during the course of the

nineteenth century, so to understand the differences in the technical demands of these etudes, one

must gain some understanding of how that are situated in terms of historical development.

Hereafter, I shall discuss the basic bow and finger techniques presented in these sets of

etudes, including their histories and the physical maneuvers necessary to successfully execute


I.1 Techniques of the right hand.

(1) Detache.

Detache, the most basic bow technique, refers to the separation of bow strokes; it was

given its name prior to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Throughout the eighteenth and

nineteenth centuries, many great cellists and pedagogues attempted to provide different

definitions for this stroke. For instance, the methods of Michel Corrette (1707 – 1795), Op. 9,

pointed out that “ordinarily one plays the notes by pulling and pushing alternately when the notes

have the same value.”3 A half-century later, Jean-Louis Duport (1749 – 1819) explained that

there are two kinds of detache: one sounds firmer and the other sounds bouncy used in a fast

passage.4 Bernhard Romberg (1767 – 1841) believed that these kinds of strokes are usually used

in light and easy passages of a playful manner. In order to make the bow spring well upon the

strings, it must be used in the middle part of bow, without much pressure. The bow should be

held with the first finger and thumb while the third finger merely leans against the nut without

pressing firmly upon it. The second and fourth fingers should not touch the nut. The length of the

stroke should be no more than a finger’s breadth. This stroke generally does not accompany forte


Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, has five pieces that require detache strokes, including

nos. 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10. Due to the character and tempo of each piece, nos. 1, 3 and 10 suggest

“bouncy” detache strokes, and the remainder suggest longer and firmer ones (Figure 3.1). The

Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 149.
Jean-Louis Duport, Essai sur le doigté du violoncello, et sur la conduite de l’archet (Paris: Janet et
Cotelle, 184-?), 170.
Bernhard Romberg, A Complete Theoretical and Practical School for the Violoncello (London: Boosey &
Sons Foreign Musical Library, 19-?), 109.

former etudes require a short length of bow in the middle part of the bow, and the latter etudes

require a lot of bow to play out the melody. On the other hand, Piatti’s nos. 1 and 3 are very

different from Franchomme’s. Piatti’s no. 1 is intended for detache near the point of the bow

with a combined forearm and wrist movement, giving more prominent pressure to the lower

notes, which constitute the main melodies. The tone needs to be light in almost ponticello

character. Piatti’s no. 3 involves double-stop detache in the thumb position. These detache

strokes should place the pressure of the bow on the lower string instead of pressing two strings


(2) Legato.

The legato stroke appears most commonly in smooth and lyrical passages. This relaxed

stoke requires the absolute minimal amount of tension in the hand. The number of notes per bow

is usually between one and sixteen, but seldom are there more than twelve. Before the nineteenth

century, violoncello bow design prevented cellists from playing more than eight notes per legato

stroke, and requirements for playing eight notes per group were very rare. The norm in that

period was to play a legato grouping of two to four notes.6 In 1785, however, Francois Torte

invented a new bow design with a concave curve, which allowed a more consistent and lengthy

legato. In the twentieth century, composers indicated legato with a slur across several notes. The

degree of legato depends very much on repertory and instrument: for example, the Prelude from

J.S. Bach’s First Cello Suite originally had no slurs or bow indications written in, but twentieth-

century editions suggested legato bowings in the opening, with a slur across the first few notes.

Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 152.

Performance-practice research suggests that, in Bach’s time, legato was normally reserved for

long notes and slow movements.7

The beginning passage (Figure 3.2) of Piatti’s no. 2 is a sustained and expressive legato

stroke. Although it is a double-stop line, the top melody needs to be played out. The following

groups (Figure 3.3) of a dotted eighth-note with three thirty-second notes require a fully long

legato stroke on the long note. The three little notes should be smoothly touched by the wrist

motion, in order to get the string crossing. In the Allegro section of Piatti’s no. 11 (Figure 3. 4),

the player should use the whole bow for each bar: the lower notes are a long and sustained legato

stroke and the high notes comprise the main melodies. Franchomme’s no. 4 (Figure 3.5) is

similar to Piatti’s no. 7 (Figure 3.6): both are legato strokes with string crossing. If one plays the

notes of triplets together, they are basically chords with emphasis on the lowest notes.

Franchomme’s no. 5 (Figure 3.7) is a special legato etude: each bar has twelve notes, alternating

two strings. The arm should keep the height, as one needs to play double-stops and the wrist and

right fingers are responsible for the alternation of two strings.

(3) Staccato.

The Italian word staccato, which literally means “detached,” indicates that strokes are to

be performed in a separated manner. Friedrich Dotzauer (1783 – 1860) characterized this bowing

as an Italian technique, stating that Italian professors executed separate staccato strokes with a

dry and detached sound.8 Twentieth-century music notation indicates staccato bowing with a dot

Geoffrey Chew, “Legato,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 10 Jan. 2009
Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 170.

over or under the note; this is different from the more emphatic staccatissimo, which is indicated

by a wedge. As time passed, wider varieties in notation were developed to express the various

nuances of staccato articulation. These included the combinations of dots, vertical and horizontal

dashes, and vertical and horizontal wedges. 9 According to Kurt Sassmanshaus’ terminology,

staccato is a sequence of fast martele strokes in the same bow direction. There are three ways to

produce this stroke: rotation of forearm (pronation will cause the index finger to press the bow

into the string, and the supination will release the pressure), tremolo motion in the wrist (up and

down motion from the wrist with consistent pressure on index finger), and pinching the string

with pressure between index finger and thumb.10 There is a clear distinction between a staccato,

in which the bow remains on the string (with or without a change of bow direction for each note),

and the sautille and spiccato, where the bow leaves the string between each pair of notes.

Franchomme’s no. 12, and Piatti’s nos. 4 and 10 (Figure 3.8), all have a slurred two-note

figure followed by two-note staccato. None of Franchomme’s etudes have a succession of fast

sixteenth notes, but Piatti’s nos. 5 and 12 have this stroke. No. 12 has not only a succession of

fast notes, but also involves chords and harmonics, leading the player to adjust the length of

stroke and the placement of the bow on the string. Because the sequence of fast sixteenth notes

comes after a eighth note, one should consider using a lot of bow to play the eighth note in order

to prepare a group of staccato notes.

Geoffrey Chew and Clive Brown, “Staccato,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 17 Sep. 2008
Sassmannshaus, Staccato, www.violinmasterclass.com.

(4) Spiccato.

Spiccato is a controlled, off-the-string stroke that produces a clear and non-sustained

articulation. According to Sassmanshaus, this stroke is similar to the detache, but the bow

bounces one or two inches above the string.11 The speed of the spiccato depends upon bow

placement. At the “balance point” the spiccato will be slow, while above the middle of the bow

the speed will increase. The speed can also be controlled by varying the height of the bow above

the string: the higher the bow bounces, the longer the time required for the bow to return to the

string, and therefore the slower the resulting spiccato. The character of the spiccato is influenced

by the tilt of the bow. When using the full bow hair, the bow bounces more and has a shorter

character, while when the bow hair is placed at an angle, the character of the spiccato becomes

mellower and longer. Like the legato, the development of Tourte’s concave bow facilitated the

execution of the spiccato.12

If leggiero is marked with staccato dots over faster passages, performance in a light, swift,

and delicate manner is required. This stroke allows players to release pressure in between strokes,

but without coming off the string. The bow is placed on or just above the mid-point of the bow

with a loose shoulder and arm, managing the quick changes of bow direction with a firm yet

flexible motion in the fingers. 13 Franchomme’s no. 6 mainly focuses on the sixteenth-note

spiccato stroke. It starts with pure sixteenth-note spiccato with leggiero marking and gradually

becomes a four-note slur followed by two-note spiccato (Figure 3.9). When leggiero comes with

staccato dots, one should play this faster passages in a light, swift, and delicate manner. This

Sassmannshaus, Spiccato, www.violinmasterclass.com.
Straeten, History of the Violoncello, the Viol da Gamba, their Precursors and Collateral Instruments,
Jack Erik Anderson, “The Cellist’s Right Hand: A guidebook for Pedagogy and Practice” (D.M.A. diss.,
University of Cincinnati, 2001), 25.

stroke allows players to release pressure in between strokes, but without coming off the string.

The performer places the bow near or just past the mid-point of the bow with a loose shoulder

and arm, managing the quick changes of bow direction with firm yet flexible motion in the

fingers.14 Later in the piece, it is also involved with double-stop spiccato.

Piatti’s no. 9 (Figure 3.10) contains a “bene spiccato” stroke that Piatti developed

himself.15 He specified the use of the fourth finger to guide this stroke. In this etude, it consists

of regular eighth-note patterns with one separate spiccato and two slurred spiccato. The separate

spiccato note is always a double-stop. The whole piece does not have as wide a range of registers

as Franchomme’s. Frachnomme’s no. 6 is also more melodic than Piatti’s no. 9.

(5) Martele.

Martele, literally meaning “hammered” in French, refers to a percussive stroke in which

the hand presses the bow hair onto the string, and releases all the pressure after the initial attack,

with the bow remaining parallel to the bridge. 16 In 1805, P. J. H. Levasseur Bailot defined

martele as a separate bowing producing a faster and longer bow stroke than detache.17 After

about thirty years, Romberg suggested that a slurred martele stroke is a variant of portato in

which the bow stays on the string with a succession of notes of gentle separation and slurred

Anderson, “The Cellist’s Right Hand,” 25.
Alfredo C. Piatti, 12 Capricen für violoncello, op. 25 = 12 capriccios for violoncello, op. 25 (London: N.
Simrock, 19-?), 22.
Sassmannshaus, Martele, www.violinmasterclass.com.
P. J. H. Levasseur Baillot, Méthode de violoncello et de basse d’accompagnement (Paris: A l’Imprimerie
du Conservatoire, 1805), 128.

staccato. In contrast to Bailot’s concept, this stroke is shorter with a wedge marking.18 Most

modern cellists adopt Romberg’s idea.

Both Piatti’s nos. 4 and 8 have martele strokes with similar rhythm (Figure 3.11), but no.

4 has proportionally more martele strokes than no. 8. In no. 4, the bow is generally kept on the

strings and must be stopped abruptly between each semiquaver to give effect to the martele dots

marked on each note. The first two semiquavers should be played near the point end of the bow,

the second two semiquavers nearer the heel end of the bow.

(6) Ricochet.

Ricochet is a bouncing, off-the-string stroke in which the cellist initiates a single vertical

attack with the right hand, after which the bow bounces two or more times in rapid succession

without changing bow direction.19 It is usually performed in the upper-half of the bow and is

indicated with staccato dots over a slur. One famous example can be found in the fifth variation

of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Op. 33, in which the entire scale presents a very fast

chromatic passage on down-bow, with the left hand sliding down the string to an open A string.

Piatti’s nos. 5 and 8 only have up-bow, four sixteenth-notes, ricochet bowings (Figure

3.12). The tempo dictates the placement of bow and height of bounce. For a slower tempo one

throws the bow more near the balance point; for a faster tempo one throws the bow more near the

upper half of the bow. The right thumb is the key to do this stroke: the more relaxed and flexible

the thumb, the easier the stroke is.

Romberg, A Complete Theoretical and Practical School for the Violoncello, 63.
Anderson, “the Cellist’s Right Hand,” 25.

(7) Chord.

Chords can be performed by dividing the notes into different groupings; each grouping

involves a special set of bow techniques. Usually, how one chooses the style of the grouping

depends on factors of tempo, harmony, phrase, and melody. If a chord contains three notes, there

are three ways to play it: (1) one-and-two grouping, (2) two-and-one grouping, and (3) three

notes together, in which one needs to place the bow near the fingerboard. If a chord consists of

four notes, there are also three ways to play it: (1) two-and-two grouping, (2) one-and-three

grouping, (3) three-and-one grouping. Cellists can play three-note chords in either two-note

groupings or as three notes simultaneously. Likewise, four-note chords can be divided into two-

note or three-note groupings. When playing a slow chord, the performer puts equal bow pressure

on the bottom strings. In a fast chord, however, one hits the top two strings very quickly.20

Arpeggios, though similar to chords in that they involve with multiple strings, require a different

technical approach. In arpeggios, the performer places the same pressure on each note of an

arpeggio at a fast speed, which is very similar to the string-crossing stroke, but one must choose

an angle of the arm that prevents two strings from sounding at the same time.

Franchomme used chords only in no. 2, but Piatti employed chords in five of his etudes:

nos. 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, and 12. The chords are usually combined with other strokes, so playing the

chords depends on the context and the phrase structure. For example, Piatti’s no. 11 (Figure 3.13)

starts with arpeggiated chords in an Adagio tempo. Besides rolling the strings to make arpeggios,

one should make longer bass note to enhance the harmony. However, the chords in Piatti’s no.

12 (Figure 3.14) are in an Allegretto tempo and present energetic gestures. One should choose

the two-and-two grouping to make it heroic sounding.

Sassmannshaus, Chord, www.violinmaterclass.com.

I.2 Techniques of the left hand.

The most important left-hand techniques include shifting, thumb position, pizzicato,

harmonics, and double stops. Shifting consists of three motions: lift, shift, and drop. The

performer first releases the pressure between the finger and the thumb, with the finger resting

lightly on the string; moves the hand by closing or opening the elbow; and then presses the string

down after landing on the correct pitch.21 The performer’s choice of fingering has perhaps the

largest influence on shifting. Among the factors that determine a performer’s choice of

fingerings are the length, strength, and size of the left hand.

Hand position was a concern in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There were two

opposing methods of how to place the hand on the neck of the cello: the oblique and the

perpendicular hand positions (Figure 3.15). Some cello pedagogues in the early nineteenth

century claimed that “the thumb is not placed horizontally; but it is upright or perpendicular to

the back of the fingerboard,”22 but J.L. Duport advocated using an oblique hand position. The

famous Method of Baudiot (which was the foundation of the Paris Conservatoire) indicated that

the fingers of the left hand should remain perpendicular to the fingerboard with a low elbow.23

The perpendicular left-hand position results in difficulty regarding the fourth finger. Duport

noted that the hand should be placed above the neck; the first joint of the thumb should rest

under the neck, which should be barely squeezed and against which the part of the hand that

joins the thumb to the index must not rest. The wrist should be slightly away from the neck in

Sassmannshaus, Finger Droping and Lifting, www.violinmasterclass.com.
Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 99 –103.
Ginzburg, History of Violoncello, 83.

order for the fingers to be well-positioned and slightly rounded.” 24 Modern cellists typically

follow Duport’s approach to this left-hand position.

(1) Fingering.

Fingering technique underwent a huge development in the eighteenth century. Even in

the most basic first and second positions, pedagogues had divergent opinions (Figure 3.16). From

Michel Corrette’s point of view, the first, second, and fourth fingers were used during the

execution of the first and second positions; while the first, second, and third fingers were used

during the third and fourth positions.25 In the first and second positions, he squeezed the second

and fourth fingers to achieve a semitone, C# – D and D# – E. Salvatore Lanzetti (1710 – 1780),

an Italian cellist, used diatonic fingerings, with four fingers filling in the intervals between the

fifths (in which the instrument was tuned) for half, first, and second positions; but third and

fourth positions were compressed. The pitch range of the cello was extended to b'' in his Sonatas,

Op. 1.26 Johann Baptist Baumgartner (1723 – 1782), a German cellist, had an idea similar to

Lanzetti’s.27 The methodology of sequential, diatonic fingerings for note patterns was supported

not only by Lanzetti and Baumgartner, but also by J.L. Duport’s cello treatise, Essai sur le doigte

du violoncelle et sur la conduite de l’archet of 1806. 28 Later in the century, the fingerings

became more mature: each semitone was fingered with a separate digit throughout the first four

Duport, Essai sur le doigté du violoncello, 8.
Michel Corrette, Méthode théorique et pratique: pour apprendre en peu de temps le violoncelle dans sa
perfection (Genève: Minkoff Reprint, 1980), 33 – 5.
Guido Salvetti and Valerie Walden, “Lanzetti, Salvatore,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 20
Sep. 2008 <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/16008>.
Robin Stowell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Cello (New York: Cambridge University Press,
1999), 185.
Cyr and Walden, “Duport.”

positions, without compression of the third and fourth positions. 29 Charles Nivolas Baudiot

(1773 – 1849) tried to avoid using open strings when playing scales.30 The Violoncello Methods

of Friedrich August Kummer (1797 – 1879) enlisted fingerings for all the scales in one through

four octaves, all based on the C-major scale31 (Figure 3.17).

(2) Position establishment.

(i) Neck position.

During the last quarter of the seventeenth and the early eighteenth century, cellists and

luthiers experimented with a wide range of positions above the neck position. By the 1730s, they

came to the conclusion that the best way to increase the cello repertoire was to use the thumb on

high registers.32 The function of the thumb was to get the hand posture stable, while the rest of

the fingers were able to press the notes. However, due to the disadvantage of the fourth finger

being shorter than the other three fingers, as well as the quality of the C string’s high registers,

there were some uncertainties as to whether the composers and cellists should include high

registers of the C string in the cello repertoire.

(ii) Thumb position.

Corrette Francesco Alborea (1691 – 1739) is best known for being the first cellist to use

the thumb position. His principles of technique were subsequently incorporated into a treatise

written by Michel Corrette in 1741, titled Methode theorique et pratique pour apprendre en peu

Stowell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, 185.
Stowell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, 83.
Ginzburg, History of Violoncello, 63 – 5.
Stowell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, 187.

de temps le violoncelle dans sa perfection (Theoretical and Practical Method for Leaning How to

Play the Cello Perfectly within a Short Time). 33 B. Romberg established many current

conventions for finger numbering, such as the thumb sign ; 0 for the open string; and 3 placed

above the finger number, e.g. 3, to indicate a natural harmonic.34 He also introduced the use of

the fourth finger in the thumb position. For example, Jean Balthasar Tricklir (1750 – 1813)

instructed the player to use the fourth finger in the thumb position in his Cello Concerto, Op. 1

(Figure 3.18). On the other hand, French cellists of the Berteau school found the fourth finger

inappropriate in all upper-position fingerings.

Johann Schetky (1740 – 1824) indicated that “the thumb is placed upon the first and

second strings in such a manner that the third or even the fourth string may be reached and

covered.”35 His system covered all four fingers on the thumb position, which was commonly

used in the mid-eighteenth century. On the contrary, Berteau’s French school avoided the use of

the fourth finger, except occasionally, when an extra note was added to a scale pattern laying on

the A string.36

Around the 1820s, Romberg overcame the difficulty of high registers on the C string by

exploiting the use of leverage and a lower bow grip, so that he could incorporate the use of the

fourth finger. He used the thumb as a support in the high register on neighboring strings,

gradually leading to the so-called “positional parallelism” principle. He developed this method to

the maximum, enabling musicians to change positions far less frequently. He also greatly

Prieto, The Adventures of a Cello, 226.
Stowell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, 180.
Johann Schetky, Practical and Progressive Lessons for the Violoncello (London: János Scholz Cello
Music Collection, 1811), 30.
Walden, The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, 188.

developed the octave technique using the thumb and the third finger. 37 After that, the French

cellists started to incorporate the use of the C string into their own solo literature. The thumb-

position fingerings became a German specialty in the 1770s, as exemplified by Joseph Haydn’s

famous Cello Concertos in C Major and D Major (Figure 3.19). The first, in C major, includes an

extensive range of C-major scales in thumb position, as at the beginning of its third movement.

The D-major concerto (Figure 3.20) exploits not only the sonorities of the first two higher strings,

above seventh position, but also those of the lower strings, by using the thumb-position fingering

on the first four positions.

Thumb-position fingerings reached their zenith in the second half of the nineteenth

century, in that the fingers could move outward into consecutive positions while the thumb

remained in one setting. David Popper’s Elfentanz (1881) illustrates the essence of high registers

(Figure 3.21). Because he used extremely high registers, one could hardly recognize the pitch of

the notes, only the effect of the high-note consequences. Karl Davidoff (1838–89) employed a

great number of high positions in his compositions and unified the fingerings under a systematic


Generally, Piatti’s etudes engage a much wider range of registers than Franchomme’s.

Nine of Piatti’s Twelve Caprices employ the thumb position, reaching to the thirteenth position.

Franchomme also made use of the thumb position, but most of his use is limited to the lower

registers with double stops. For instance, Piatti’s no. 3 (Figure 3.22) takes advantage of octave

thumb-position, shifting to reach c’’, the highest note in this piece. In Piatti’s no. 6 (Figure 3.23),

although the thumb position is in the lower forth position, the A-flat minor chord and double

stops make this complicated. One needs to turn the left hand in different directions to adjust the

intonation. However, Franchomme’s use of thumb position was very narrow: most of the thumb
Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello, 25.

positions are in the lower registers with double stops. Each piece only has few measures of

thumb position. The only exception is his no. 5, which consists of the thumb positions from the

second to the eighth positions (Figure 3.24). The only difference between this piece and Piatti’s

no. 6 is the hand gesture: in Franchomme’s no. 5, once one shifts to the right position, all the

notes are in the place; in Piatti’s no. 6, even when the left thumb is in the right place, the other

fingers still need to twist around to find the right pitches. From this perspective, the etudes of

Piatti are much more advanced than those of Franchomme.

(3) Double Stops.

Double stops can be divided into five kinds, based on intervals: thirds, sixths, octaves,

tenths, and other intervals. When executing double stops, the bow must engage two strings at

once. One can either emphasize a particular string or both strings evenly, depending on the

melody of the passage. In his Violoncello Method, Kummer provided fingerings for thirds in D

0 1 1 0
major, and sixths in A major38 (Figure 3.25). For thirds, he used 2, 3, 4, and 3 fingerings; the

0 0
double stops of 2 and 3 fingerings include one open string. However, he did not write any

examples of double stops on the thumb position. Janos Starker, in “An Organized Method of

String Playing,” mentioned double stops on the low and thumb positions39 (Figure 3.26). On the

thumb position, Starker specially mentioned that the use of the fourth finger depends on the

player’s physical ability. 40 Most octave double stops use the thumb and third fingerings as

Friedrich August Kummer, Violoncello method with an appendix containing one hundred and eleven
practice-pieces (New York: G. Schirmer, 1900), 23.
Janos Starker, An organized method of string playing: violoncello exercises for the left hand (New York:
Peer International Corp, 1965), 20, 27.
Starker, An organized method of string playing, 20.

indicated in Hugo Becker’s Fingers and Bow Exercises41 (Figure 3.27); occasionally the player

would use the first and fourth fingers on the lower register. None of the prior methods described

tenths, but this interval did appear in the cello repertoire, in Prokofiev’s Symphonie Concertante

for Cello and Orchestra (Figure 3.28). Prokofiev indicated the thumb and third fingerings in

order to reach this long-distance interval. The fingerings given from Sassmanshaus’ website are

not suitable for cello playing. The main reason is that the cello is much bigger than the violin and

therefore the distance between two notes on the cello will be further apart than on the violin.

Franchomme’s use of double stops mainly focused on the lower registers, unlike Piatti,

who employed a great number of double stops on the high positions. Franchomme’s no. 9

(Figure 3.29) consists of not only thirds and octaves for double stops, but also fourths and fifths.

Most double stops are in the lower registers, in which one does not need to use the thumb.

Conversely, Piatti’s no. 3 (Figure 3.30) is a highly demanding piece for left-hand techniques. It

has various intervals for double stops, including thirds, sixths, and octaves. Furthermore, major

and minor thirds are conjoined to each other. One needs to make the distinction between these

intervals in terms of intonation and shifting: the distance of the left thumb and the second finger

for major thirds is smaller than those for minor thirds. Piatti’s no. 8 (Figure 3.31) contains a

sequence of octaves, and the shifting for these octaves is the distance of a minor third, not the

usual major or minor second.

(4) Harmonics.

Harmonics is a technique that produces a whistle-like sound; they can be categorized as

either natural or artificial. It creates a special effect in the cello repertoire, and can also be used to

tune the instrument. According to Sassmanshaus, the natural harmonics come from the overtone
Hugo Becker, Fingers and Bow Exercises, 22.

series by subdividing the open string into equal parts at the points of one-half, one-third, one-

quarter, and one-fifth.42 By dividing the A string into two equal parts, it produces an octave

harmonic a’. The ratio of vibration is 1:2. The open A is 440 Hz, and the octave a’ is 880 Hz.

When dividing the A string into three parts, it produces e’’ which is one octave and a fifth above

the open string. The vibrating ratio between the octave harmonic and fifth is 2:3. When dividing

the A string into four parts, it creates another a’’, two octaves higher than the open A. The ratio

between the previous fifth and the current a’’ is 3:4, which defines the perfect fourth. The last

common harmonics is the subdivision of the A string into five parts, generating the pitch c#’’,

two octaves and a third above the open A string (Figure 3.32).

To produce an artificial harmonic, the player holds down a note on the neck with the left

or right hand, which shortens the vibrational length of the string. Then he uses a finger to touch

lightly a point on the string that is an integer divisor of its vibrational length; and he plucks or

bows the side of the string that is closer to the bridge. Kummer’s “Violoncello Method” clarified

that artificial harmonics can only be produced by using the thumb position: “the thumb is placed

firmly upon the string, and the fourth upper note is lightly touched with the third finger” 43

(Figure 3.33). Also, he indicated the actual pitches with a table of all natural and artificial

harmonics44 (Figure 3.34).

Although the use of harmonics had been introduced by Jean-Joseph Cassanea de

Mondonville (1711 – 1771) in Les sons harmoniques: Sonates à violon seul avec la basse

Sassmanshaus, Harmonics, www.violonmasterclass.com.
Kummer, Violoncello Method, 34.
Kummer, Violoncello Method, 33.

continue, Op. 4, 45 not many composers employed the device in the nineteenth century.

Franchomme did not use harmonics in his 12 Caprices, Op. 7; and Piatti only offered this effect

in no. 12 of his 12 Caprices, in just a small portion of the music (Figure 3.35). These harmonics

are in a scale form and most are artificial. Also, he intentionally wrote the word “harmonics”

with a diamond sign to instruct the performer.

In music notation, a composer will normally indicate the use of harmonics to the

performer via the abbreviation “harm.” Without such wording, it is possible that the composer

could use two other ways to instructor the performer. First, an ordinary note with a diamond-

shaped note a fourth or fifth above it represents an artificial harmonic. Two diamond-shaped

notes, one above the other, indicates two natural harmonics, to be played as a double stop.

Second, the composer might use the “0” sign to substitute for the diamond, indicating that the

note functions as a harmonic.

(5) Pizzicato.

When a note is marked “pizz”—an abbreviation of pizzicato—it should be executed by

plucking the string with a finger rather than with the bow, producing a very different sound: one

short, rapid, and percussive rather than sustained. Typically, the cellist uses the right forefinger46

or third finger for pizzicato, while still holding the bow. If the passage of pizzicato was lengthy,

the player would temporarily place the bow on his or her lap. If a chord is to be played pizzicato,

the performer would employ the thumb to roll the strings. It is also possible to execute a

pizzicato with a finger on the left hand; this is done when the player does not have enough time

Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 377 – 78.
Graeme Caughley, Conservation biology in Theory and Practice (Cambridge: Blackwell Science, 1996),

to bring the right hand back to the bow position, or when the composer instructs the player with a

small-cross sign above the note. A return to the bowing is marked as “arco.”

The first appearance of pizzicato is found in Claudio Monteverdi’s Combattimento di

Tancredi e Clorinda (1638), in which the music indicates the player to use two fingers of their

right hand to pluck the strings. About a hundred years later, in his Versuch einer gründlichen

Violinschule, Leopold Mozart instructed players to play pizzicato with the index finger of their

right hand.47 Usually, players would hold their bow at the same time as they plucked the strings.

Pizzicato played an accompanimental role in the eighteenth century. This device was gradually

incorporated into the solo cello literature in the last decade of the eighteenth century. J.J.

Nochez’s Cello Sonata No. 3, Op. 1, shows a pizzicato opening48 (Figure 3.36). In the early

nineteenth century, Charles Nicolas Baudiot (1773 – 1849) gave more specific description about

pizzicato in the second volume of his Methode de Violoncelle et de Basse d'Accompagnement

(1805). According to him, the goal of pizzicato is to achieve a round and soft sound through

plucking the strings with the fleshy part of the finger.49 It is also possible to play double-stops by

plucking the string simultaneously with the thumb and index finger.50

Later in the century, Friedrich August Kummer instructed that “a double-stop is executed

by the first and second fingers; a chord of three notes, by the thumb, first and second fingers; if,

however, the chord contains four notes, the thumb may strike all four notes by itself, or only the

Sonya Monosoff, “Pizzicato,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, 14 Oct. 2008
Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 202.
Charles Nicolas Baudiot, Violoncelle : méthodes, études, ouvrages généraux (Courlay, France: Fuzeau,
2003), 226.
Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, 204.

two lower ones, while the first and second fingers play the two upper notes.”51 Franchomme used

pizzicato in his etudes, but this device was only in the second cello part of his second etude. Only

a few single notes are marked pizzicato. Piatti did not employ this in his etudes at all. One can

make an assumption that the second half of the nineteenth century was a turning point for left-

hand agility (thumb position) and bow techniques, but not for pizzicato.

Still, many major pieces of cello repertoire incorporated this device, such as the opening

of the second movement of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85 (Figure 3.37). In

the twentieth century, a variation of pizzicato appeared: a strong and ugly pizzicato, produced by

rebounding off the fingerboard; it is called the “Bartók pizzicato,” as it was invented by Bela

Bartok. A circle above the note, with a small vertical line through the top of it, represents this


Kummer, Violoncello Method, 35.

II. Classification of the left and right hand in the etudes of Franchomme.

The etude book by Franchomme consists of twelve caprices, and each addresses a

different combination of left- and right-hand techniques. The whole set was written for two

cellos, making it different from Piatti’s 12 Caprices. The first cello part has the melody and much

of the technical demand; the second part plays only an accompanimental role, with very simple

rhythms. Each caprice has its own tempo, except for no. 7. This book contains fewer technical

aspects, compared to Piatti’s. It does not cover martele and richochet for right hand, nor

harmonics for left hand, reflecting the limited development of cello playing in the first half of the

nineteenth century.

Each caprice is considered unique—a miniature piece. The following table shows the

complete catalogue of technical demands of etude.

Techniques in Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7:

Left-hand Technique Right-hand Technique

1 Thumb position establishment Detache
2 Position establishment Legato
Double stops (thirds, sixths) Detache
Thumb position Spiccato
Scale fingering Chord
3 Position establishment Detache
Double stops (sixths) Spiccato
String crossing
4 Position establishment Legato
String crossing
5 Thumb position establishment Legato
String crossing
6 Thumb position establishment String crossing
Scale fingering Spiccato
7 Double stops (thirds, fifths, sixths) Spiccato
Thumb position
8 Position establishment String crossing
Thumb position Legato
9 Position establishment Legato
Double stops (thirds, sixths) Detache
String crossing
10 Double stops (sixths) Spiccato
String crossing
11 Position establishment Legato
String crossing
12 Double stops (thirds, fourths, Spiccato
fifths, sixths) Staccato
Thumb position

III. Classification of the left and right hand in the etudes of Piatti.

Piatti’s etude book also consists of twelve studies. At first glance, his etudes seem more

mechanical in nature than Franchomme’s. Like his predecessor, each of Piatti’s etudes has its

own distinct tempo and encompasses a wide range of techniques. This book demands higher

technical requirements, but does not require portato, colle, and brisure for the right hand, nor

pizzicato for the left hand. Also, this book is much more popular than Franchomme’s and more

people use this in their concert repertoire. The table below lists the techniques explored by Piatti.

Techniques in Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25:

Left-hand Technique Right-hand Technique

1 Scale fingering Detache
2 Double stops (thirds, sixths) Legato
Thumb position String crossing
3 Double stops (thirds, octaves) Detache
Thumb position Staccato
4 Double stops (thirds, sixths) Martele (Martellato)
5 Scale fingering Controlled richochet
Position establishment Staccato
Thumb position String crossing
6 Double stops (various intervals) Legato
Thumb position establishment String crossing
7 Position establishment Legato
Thumb position String crossing
8 Double stops (thirds, fifths, sixths, Martele (Martellato)
octaves) Ricochet
Thumb position Chord
9 Double stops (thirds, sixths) Bouncing spiccato
10 Thumb position establishment Staccato
11 Double stops (thirds, fifths, sixths, Legato
octaves) Chord
Thumb position establishment
12 Scale fingering Staccato
Thumb position Chord

IV. A synthesis of two Caprices Op. 7 and Op. 25.

As indicated by the above charts, all the techniques show that the two etude books cover

the same subjects for the most part, except harmonics and pizzicato. It seems that Piatti’s 12

Caprices are more didactic than Franchomme’s. In Piatti’s 12 Caprices, the technical elements

are more isolated and focus on one or two techniques per piece; there are a few etudes which

combine more than two elements, but these are the exceptions. The book requires more

sophisticated right-hand techniques, especially the use of the thumb position; it therefore

illustrates the more advanced technical expectations of the end of the nineteenth century. It

contains three more subjects of left-hand and right-hand techniques, including ricochet and

martele for the right hand, and harmonics for the left hand. The whole book is a challenge for

cello playing, aimed at fluency in contraction and extension of the left hand.

On the other hand, Franchomme’s etude book focuses most of the time on the lower

registers; when it comes to the use of the thumb position, it only reaches the seventh position,

which is most basic thumb position. Although it includes the technique of pizzicato, which

Piatti’s book does not cover, its use is at a limited and fundamental level. For the right-hand

techniques, it does not include ricochet and martele, which are more advanced techniques,

developed later in the history of cello playing. The writing of Franchomme is also more pianistic,

employing a great deal of chords.

Left-hand techniques:

Franchomme Piatti
Double stops 7, 10, 12 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11
Thumb position 1, 5, 6 6, 10, 11
Scale fingering 2, 6 1, 5, 12
Position establishment 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11 5, 7
Thumb-position 1, 5, 6 6, 10, 11
Harmonics None 12
Pizzicato 2 None

Right-hand techniques:

Franchomme Piatti
Detache 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 1, 3
Legato 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11 2, 6, 7, 11
Spiccato 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 9
String crossing 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 2, 5, 6, 7
Ricochet None 5, 8
Martele None 4, 8
Staccato 10, 12 3, 4, 10, 12
Chord 2 2, 3, 4, 8, 12

V. Conclusion

The cello techniques have been improving since the nineteenth century, and today the

cello enjoys a reputation similar to the violin as a concert instrument; it also plays an important

role as an accompanimental instrument. Franchomme and Piatti were one of the most important

cello pedagogues, contributing their life to the development of cello techniques. From their

works, one can see a variety of cello techniques and the difference of the technical demanding.

The purpose of the present examination is to understand the cello techniques thoroughly and

employ them at the right place. One can make an adjustment to choose whether this piece is

suitable for the training of certain technique. The study of two works not only helps us realize the

differences of cello techniques between the middle and late nineteenth century, but also opens

our door to look through the cello concertos. Because of the revolution in cello technique during

the nineteenth century, today all of us have a great number of masterpieces, such as Edouard

Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor (1877), Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104,

(1895), Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 125

(1933 – 1938), William Walton’s Cello Concerto (1956), Dmitry Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto

No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107 (1959) and numerous others.

Figures of Chapter Three

 Figure 3.1 :
- Bouncy detaché strokes

1) Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1.

2) Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 3.

3) Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 10.

- Firmer and longer detaché strokes
1) Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 2.

2) Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9.

 Figure 3.2: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 2, legato with double stops.

 Figure 3.3: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 2, legato with string crossing.

 Figure 3.4: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 11, legato.

 Figure 3.5: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 4, legato with string crossing.

 Figure 3.6: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 7, legato with string crossing.

 Figure 3.7: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 5, legato.

 Figure 3.8: a slurred two-note followed by two-note staccato.

1) Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 12.

2) Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 4.

3) Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 10.

 Figure 3.9: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 6, leggiero.

 Figure 3.10: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 9, “bene spiccato.”

 Figure 3.11: Martele stroke.

1) Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 4.

2) Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 8.

 Figure 3.12: Ricochet stroke.
1) Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 5.

2) Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 8.

 Figure 3.13: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 11, arpeggiated chords.

 Figure 3.14: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 12, chords.

 Figure 3.15: The oblique (left) and perpendicular (right) hand positions.

 Figure 3.16: Common eighteenth-century finger assignments.

 Figure 3.17: F. A. Kummer, “Violoncello Methods”, scales in four octaves

 Figure 3.18: J. B. Tricklir, Cello Concerto, Op. 1, III. Allegro Moderato, mm. 84 – 110, “0”
indicates the use of the thumb, and “4” specifies the fourth finger in the thumb

 Figure 3.19: J. Haydn, Cello Concerto in C major No. 1, III. Allegro Molto, mm. 44, 48, 50,
52, and 53 – 54, C major scale in thumb position.

 Figure 3.20: J. Haydn, Cello Concerto in D major, No. 2, I. Allegro, mm. 107 – 110.

 Figure 3.21: D. Popper’s Elfentanz, Op. 30, high registers in mm. 39 – 46.

 Figure 3.22: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 3, the octave thumb-position.

 Figure 3.23: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, two voices with the thumb position in the
lower registers.

 Figure 3.24: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 5, the thumb positions from the second
to the eighth positions.

 Figure 3.25: Kummer, “Violoncello Method,” fingerings, the thirds in D major and sixths
in A major scales.

 Figure 3.26: J. Starker, “An Organized Method of String Playing,” the fourth finger in the
thumb position.

 Figure 3.27: H. Becker, “Fingers and Bow Exercises,” the thumb and third fingers for the
octave double stops.

 Figure 3.28: S. Prokofiev, Cello Concertante, I. Andante, the thumb and third fingers for
the tenths.

 Figure 3.29: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9, double stops in the lower registers.

 Figure 3.30: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 3, various intervals for double stops.

 Figure 3.31: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 8, a sequence of octaves.

 Figure 3.32: K. Sassmanshaus, natural harmonics.

 Figure 3.33: Kummer, “Violoncello Method,” the artificial harmonics in A string.

 Figure 3.34: Kummer, “Violoncello Method,” the natural and artificial harmonics in A

 Figure 3.35: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 12, harmonics.

 Figure 3.36: J. J. Nochez: Cello Sonata No. 3, Op. 1, pizzicato in the opening.

 Figure 3.37: E. Elgar: Cello Concerto in e minor Op. 85, the opening of II. Lento.

Chapter Four
Analyses of Selected Works by Franchomme and Piatti

Both Franchomme and Piatti enjoyed unique positions in the development of the cello

during the nineteenth century. The former contributed to the refinement of the elegant, sweet,

and light bowing technique that distinguished the French school developed by Jean-Pierre and

Jean-Louis Duport. In contrast, the latter inherited the Italian style of cello technique – warm and

bel canto in nature. Just as their lives spanned the Romantic era, their music exhibited a range of

styles that developed during that era. During the nineteenth century, some composers began to

move beyond the conventional harmonic progressions that had been used previously. They began

to expand their methods of tonal organization, such as by utilizing successions that divided the

octave into equidistant intervals (e.g., minor thirds).

In this chapter I will examine a selection from two sets of Caprices, one by Franchomme

(composed the late 1840s, approximately during the time that he was teaching at the Paris

Conservatory 1 ) and one by Piatti (composed in 1875 2 ). I will focus on two pieces from

Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7 (nos. 1 and 9), and two pieces from Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op.

25 (nos. 1 and 6). The chapter is divided into two sections: the first compares Franchomme’s no.

9 and Piatti’s no. 6, and the second compares Franchomme’s no. 1 and Piatti’s no. 1. The

grouping of these two sections is based on the characteristics of these pieces: they are similar in

compositional ideas, tempo and mood, but they present these factors in different ways, as I will

discuss later. The analyses are based on ideas developed by Heinrich Schenker, including not

only his well-known analytic method from the 1920s and 1930s, as per Der freie Satz (1935), but

also his earlier Harmonielehre (1906). Through analysis, I will discuss how the styles of

Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello, 84.
Barzanò and Bellisario, Signor Piatti, 249.

Franchomme and Piatti differ from each other, and demonstrate how their works exhibit variety

in tonal structure; when relevant, I will consider methods of tonal organization that were new in

the nineteenth century, such as key relationships based on thirds. Such procedures can also be

found in the music of other nineteenth-century composers, such as Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886) and

Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849), and thus the music of Franchomme and Piatti will be shown to

be consistent with the emerging syntax.

I. Comparison of Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, op. 7, No. 9 and Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25,

No. 6.

I.1 Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9.

It is well-known that Franchomme had a close friendship with Chopin until the death of

the latter. As mentioned before (in Chapter Two), the cello part of Chopin’s Cello Sonata, Op. 65

was actually written by Franchomme, according to Franchomme’s own inscribed copy of this

work in the National Library in Paris.3 These two facts suggest that Franchomme’s music was

somewhat influenced by Chopin. In the present case, no. 9 illustrates some connections in terms

of voice-leading. According to Gerald Abraham, “Chopin’s harmony is primarily diatonic, but is

chromatically embellished.”4 Franchomme’s compositional style features frequent tonicization

and chromaticism, which Schenker defined in 1906 as follows:

Not only at the beginning of a composition but also in the midst of it, each scale-step
manifests an irresistible urge to attain the value of the tonic for itself as that of the strongest
scale-step. If the composer yields to this urge of the scale-step within the diatonic system of
which this scale-step forms apart, I call this process [tonicization] and the phenomenon
itself chromatic.5

In this examination of the Caprice Op. 7/9, I will focus on key areas related by the minor third,

and on chromatic descending lines and other linear techniques.

Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello, 84.
Richard S. Parks, “Voice Leading and Chromatic Harmony in the Music of Chopin,” Journal of Music
Theory 20, no. 2 (Autumn 1976), 190.
Heinrich Schenker, Harmony, ed. Oswald Jonas, trans. Elisabeth Mann Borgese, 256; the translator
renders Schenker’s Tonikalisierung as “tonicalization,” but I have used here the standard form, “tonicization.”

1) The Relationship of the Minor Third – the Relative Mediant.

This etude is in A B A’ form, as in Piatti’s Op. 25/6 (to be discussed below). The

Middleground reduction of this etude is shown in Figure 4.1. The overall tonal motion features

key areas related by the minor third. The progression, including the modally altered submediant

and subdominant chromaticism, reflects this work’s ternary design, as shown in Figure 4.2:

 Figure 4.2: Diagram of Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9.

A B A’
1 7 15 22 29 36 40 46 50 56
b: PAC D: HC PAC DC PAC b: PAC e: b: PAC
i III i iv i

A foreground interpretation of the voice leading and harmonic organization of the entire

piece is provided in Figure 4.3. The basic harmonic motion of the piece is i – III – I, generally

supporting the Kopfton 5. Most of the phrases are either six or eight measures in length,

throughout the piece. The first section consists of two phrases, each of which closes on the

dominant of different keys, with a fermata rest. While the first phrase ends with an authentic

cadence in b minor, the second phrase closes on the dominant of D major, which is the diatonic

mediant of b minor. This opens the door to D major for the B section, which has three phrases.

The overall tonal motion of the B section is III – vi/III – III, mostly supporting the

^ ^
Kopfton F# (scale degree 3 in D major, which serves as 5 in b minor). The beginning of the

second phrase contains the 3 – 1 – 3 voice exchange in the harmony of the dominant. Mm. 26 –

28 of the second phrase tonicize the submediant of D major, recalling the elements of b minor.

The last phrase of the B section (mm. 29 – 40) is enlarged to twelve measures, by the addition of

a one-measure modulating expansion, confirming the close of the section and the shift back to

the tonic key of b minor. The last phrase involves modal mixture in m. 34, supporting natural-3

in the upper voice which I will discuss further in the section on chromatic descending lines. Here,

^ ^ ^ ^
it creates a step-wise descending motion: 3 natural-3  2  b^2  natural-^2  1 in D major,

forming a deceptive ending in a non-tonic key.

The A’ section returns to b minor as expected, but Franchomme adds a new element of e-

minor tonicization to this return. It consists of two phrases, six and thirteen measures in length.

The overall harmonic motion is i  V5/iv  i. The initial phrase in b minor exactly repeats the

opening of the piece, and is also the last appearance of the principal theme. Before the second

phrase enacts the final descending motion, there is an unexpected tonicization of e minor, the

subdominant key to b minor. Within the descending chromatic line of mm. 45 – 58, the D#

leading tone resolves to E, making the 4 stronger. Due to this tonicization, the final cadence of b

minor in mm. 50 – 58 appears later than expected. This delay of the final cadence is much more

powerful than the final cadence V7 – I in the A section.

The A’ section combines and juxtaposes features of the two major A and B sections of

the piece. First, the A’ section repeats the same phrase as the opening statement (mm. 1 – 6) of

the A section. Secondly, the B and A’ sections both employ chromatic descending lines (in mm.

33 – 36 and 45 – 58, respectively), which I will explain in more detail later.

After viewing the harmonic progression of the entire piece, one can easily see that the

three sections are based on relative major and minor keys. However, according to Schenker, the

concept of “relative” keys does not exist. John Rothgeb explains:

The concepts of ‘relative’ major and ‘relative minor’ are indeed foreign to Schenkerian
thought. If, for example, an A-minor chord were tonicized within a work in C major,
Schenker would explain it any of several ways, depending upon the larger context: the A
bass might be a passing tone in a descending or ascending linear progression; it might be an
upper neighboring tone to V; or any of several other possibilities. He would never invoke
an independent concept of “relative” keys.6

In this case, D major serves as a tonicized mediant key area within b minor. This piece is very

similar to the structure of Chopin’s Nocturne in G Minor, Op. 37: Franchomme’s no. 9 starts in b

minor, moves to D major (the tonicized mediant), descends through V and finally returns to the

tonic, making clear the deep structural significance of the mediant key area. Chopin’s Nocturne

goes from g minor (tonic), to B-flat major (tonicized mediant), to E-flat major (subdominant of

tonicized mediant), and then back to g minor (tonic). Both pieces feature chromaticism on the

surface of the music, but in the background, they employ the diatonic third relationships (which

was a common diatonic background structure in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries).

Schenker would say that both Franchomme and Chopin use a basic diatonic background

structure, based on the mediant, in spite of any chromaticism at levels closer to the surface of the


2) Voice Leading: The Chromatic Descending Line with Motivic Parallelism.

The endings of both chromatic lines (mm. 31 – 36 and mm. 45 – 58) utilize the same

^ ^ ^
pattern, with lowered ^2 moving to an implicit natural 2 to 1. (That is, the natural- 2 (E-natural) of

Oswald Jonas, Introduction to the Theory of Heinrich Schenker: the Nature of the Musical Work of Art,
trans. John Rothgeb (New York: Longman), 1982, 29.
Heinrich Schenker, Free Composition = (Der freie Satz) : volume III of New musical theories and
fantasies, trans. and ed. by Ernst Oster (New York: Longman, 1979), 75 – 9.

m. 34 and the #2 (C#) of m. 55 are both implied notes.) Franchomme intentionally avoids the
common diatonic descending motion, and instead plays around with the modal identity of 2.

The passage in mm. 31 – 36 illustrates the voice-leading movement between tonic and

dominant chords (see Figure 4.3). The ascending chromatic scale prepares the descending

chromatic scale. Right before the chromatic descending line from m. 33 to m. 36 starts, there is a

chromatic ascending line in mm. 31 – 32. This chromatic melodic line consists of a descending

space-filling motion, from the tonic chord of m. 29, to the dominant chord of m. 31, on the way

to the tonic chord in successively major and minor forms in mm. 33 and 3, to the dominant chord

in m. 35, and finally to the tonic chord in m. 36. The most important feature of this descent is the

use of F-natural followed by F# in mm. 33 – 34, and E-flat followed by E-natural in m. 35. The

former illustrates the modal mixture from D-major tonic chord to d-minor tonic chord. The latter

^ ^
(2 different versions of the degree 2) shows the upper neighboring motion from E-flat to D.

After this arch shaped line (of chromatic ascents and descents), the soprano descends

from Bb to D, accompanied by V64--53 with the neighboring motion in the bass. There is no inner

part except in m. 35, which divides into two separate voices after the initial D. The inner voice

moves entirely by semitone around C#, the leading tone in the B section’s tonic key of D major.

The passage is highly embellished with neighbor notes, as well as skips between various chord


The sonorities of m. 35 result from the confluence of voices, and include a fully

diminished seventh (C# – E – G – Bb), a dominant seventh (A – C# – E – G), and a Neapolitan

6th chord. The last beat of m. 35 has bII6 followed by V. These chromatic sonorities function

logically to prolong the dominant. This interpretation reflects Schenker’s concept of

chromaticism. He once said, “Chromatic change is an element which does not destroy the

diatonic system but which rather emphasizes and confirms it.”8 However, he noted that only

limited chromaticism can exist in the diatonic system. 9 He further clarified his views on

chromaticism in Der freie Satz: “A truly well established tonality can guide even the greatest

number of chromatic phenomena back to the basic triad.”10 In other words, even if large sections

of a piece are highly chromatic for many minutes, the chromaticism is logically integrated into a

diatonic background structure, to which the chromaticism will eventually revert.

The motive of F# – E – D in mm. 33 – 36 does not appear for the first time. It actually

occurs in m. 11 – 12, 16, and 30, prior to the passage in mm. 33 – 36. This relates to Schenker’s

idea of motivic parallelisms. As Charles Burkhart explains:

Motivic parallelism [is] expressed on different structural levels – both low and high
(expressed in “the small” and “the large”)…. A motivic parallelism must have at least
two statements of the motive, but more may occur. It is sometimes convenient to call the
first the pattern and the second the copy. … A copy may be of any length relative to the
pattern. If the copy is longer than the pattern, it is called an enlargement
(Vergrösserung)…. On the opposite, it is called a contraction (Verkleinerung).11

The pattern (original motive) is a 3-note F# – E – D pattern in mm. 11 – 12, provided in Figure

4.4. The copies (mm. 16, 30, 33 – 36, 45 – 51) repeat the same pitches, but lie on different levels.

The copy of m. 16 and 30 is just one-measure long, a contraction of the pattern. The copies of

mm. 33 – 36 and mm. 45 – 51 happen at much higher structural level and are longer than the

pattern. The two enlargements of mm. 33 – 36 and mm. 45 – 51 are also chromatic descending

lines, which will be discussed next. This is an excellent example of motivic parallelism,

including four copies with two contractions and two enlargements.

Schenker, Harmony, 288.
Schenker, Harmony, 289.
Schenker, Der freie Satz, 13.
Charles Burkhart, “Schenker’s Motivic Parallelisms,” Journal of Music Theory 22, no. 2 (Autumn 1978),
146 – 49.

Another notable example of voice-leading occurs in mm. 43 – 56, more complex than the

previous one. The main open note-heads in Cello I, which switch between the soprano and tenor

voices (see Figure 4.3), indicate the step-wise descending ^5 to ^1 motion. The passage starts with

the Kopfton F# (scale degree ^5) and then divides into two voices in mm. 45 – 46. The F# does

not stay in the soprano voice; instead, it skips down an octave into the tenor voice for three

measures. E enters at m. 49, serving two roles: to continue the descending line from scale degree

^5 to ^4, and as the resolution of the D# of m. 48, the leading tone in the tonicization of E minor.

This passage illustrates Richard Parks’ point about a feature frequently found in Chopin’s music:

Chopin’s harmony is primarily diatonic, but is chromatically embellished……Non-

harmonic tones do not always resolve in the same voice (a truly harmonic conception)
and are often retained for long periods, so that at the point of resolution, the
circumstances of origin mat be forgotten.12

The descent continues with scale degree ^3 (D) in m. 51, which extends for four measures

with harmonic and contrapuntal elaboration. The D returns to the higher register for two

measures before another register transfer in mm. 53 – 54. While the D is holding, the contrary

motion of the two voices in mm. 52 – 53 makes the sonorities more colorful. The sonorities in

mm. 51 – 52 include a half-diminished seventh chord (G – B – C# – E) and a diminished seventh

chord (E# – G# – B – D). The latter does not belong to b minor; rather, it prolongs G#, which

serves as a neighbor note to G-natural in mm. 51 – 52 and also in mm. 54 – 55. After the D goes

to the lower register, the Cello I has a descending motion from C# to the dominant of b minor, in

mm. 53 – 55. Franchomme does not provide a normal diatonic descent to ^1. Instead, the descent

features ^2 (C-natural) in m. 55, and implies #^2 (C#) between ^3 (D) and ^1 (B). I will discuss

Parks, “Voice Leading and Chromatic Harmony in the Music of Chopin,” 190.

implied notes in more detail below. In the last two measures (after the cadence in m. 57), the

upper voice has the major second from C# to B, confirming the perfect authentic cadence.

There are several differences between the chromatic descending movement in mm. 43 –

58, and that in mm. 31 – 36:

1. the chromatic descending motion in mm. 43 – 58 is ^5  ^4  ^3 natural-^2 #^2  ^1,

and that of mm. 31 – 36 only has ^3 natural-^3  ^2  b^2 natural-^2  ^1. The main

difference between these two motions is the modal change on 3 in mm. 31 – 36, which

does not happen in mm. 43 – 56.

2. The passage in mm. 43 – 58 features voice crossing and octave shifts, not found in the

other passage.

3. During the final melodic descent to the tonic (mm. 45 – 58), the harmony tonicizes e

minor, a subdominant relationship, resulting a more forceful perfect authentic cadence in

mm. 55 – 58. This prominence does not happen in mm. 31 – 36.

3) Some Other Techniques.

a) Voice Exchange.

In mm. 4 – 5, the upper voice ascends from B3 to D4 while the bass descends from D3 to

B2, over tonic harmony. In contrary motion, both voices traverse the same interval: the minor

third between B and D. The process encompasses some decorating neighbor notes: In m. 4, both

voices have prefix neighbor notes. In m. 5, the soprano has an ascending line to F#4 (^5), in

which each main note is accompanied with a prefix neighbor note, while the bass also has a little

prefix neighboring motion to D3 and B2. This elaborate voice exchange forms part of the

interval succession 6 – 6 – 6 – 10 – 10, which leads to the fifth (F#4) of the tonic chord in b

minor in m. 5. This not only projects the interval of the minor third between B and D, but also

emphasizes all members of the b-minor tonic chord.

A second example of voice exchange appears in mm. 23 – 24, featuring a 3 – 1 – 3

intervallic pattern. While the upper voice descends by step, the inner voice ascends; both voices

outline the minor third between C#4 and E4. The last note of the inner voice (E4) is higher that

the last note of the upper voice (C#4). This causes voice crossing, and a 3 – 1 – 3 pattern instead

of a 10 – 8 – 6 pattern. It is clear that the melodic note brought to the fore by the exchange is the

first note of the descant and the last note of the inner voice (E), which is the fifth of the dominant

triad, and the lower neighbor to the Kopfton F#. Both examples show that the voice exchange

involves two voices, projects a single interval, and presents a prolongation.13

b) Implied Note.

All of the implied notes in this piece are found in the descending step-wise motions in the

upper voice. In measure 35, the melodic progression suggests an implied E: the progression of

^3 – natural-^3 – ^2 – b2 – natural-^2 – ^1 in mm. 33 – 36 at the ending of the B section. This causes a

E-natural to be implied in m. 35, which is necessary as it is the fifth of the dominant triad in D

major. The implied C# in m. 55 is very similar: it is included as an implied note after the C-

natural as part of the ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – natural- ^2 – #^2 – ^1, as C# is the fifth of the dominant-seventh


c) Register Transfer.

Mm. 45 – 56 illustrate a range of register transfers, as previously explained.

Forte and Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis, 110 – 119.

d) The Function of the Neighbor Note.

Franchomme frequently used neighbor notes; each case demonstrates a different function.

As a first example, mm. 3 – 4 demonstrate two neighbor notes as part of the stepwise descending

line in both voices. In the soprano, the E and C# function as incomplete upper neighbor notes to

D and B, while the bass line has a descending line filled with the upper neighbor notes G and E.

The E4 is separated from the main note (D) by the consonant skip from B3 to E4. This forms a

sequence of parallel sixths, emphasizing the first inversion of the tonic chord in b minor. Then,

m. 5 contains a beautifully idiomatic instance of incomplete upper neighbor notes as prefixes: an

unusual ascending chain of appoggiaturas, attached to the main melodic tones A# – B – C# – D –

E – F#. In these three measures, the elaborated neighbor notes increase the energy as the line

leads to Kopfton ^5 (F#). The neighbor note can also occur within a process of unfolding, and in

compound melody. In mm. 15 – 16, the upper neighbor-note motive is applied to the Kopfton F#,

which is unfolded down to D. The result is that both voices have a complete neighboring motion:

a complete upper neighboring, F# – G – F# (in the soprano) and a complete lower neighboring,

D – C# – D.

The last example of the neighbor note illustrates how the upper and lower notes of a turn

can serve as prefix neighbor notes to a tone which is itself a neighbor note. In the inner voice in

mm. 35 – 36, the D and B# form a double neighbor-note figure to C#, which itself functions as a

lower incomplete neighbor note to the main note D. In addition, the lower voice in m. 35 also

employs a succession of neighbor notes. The higher incomplete neighbor figure consists of E, C#

and Bb, which are the neighbors to F-natural, D and A. These chromatic neighbors strongly

imply the resolution to the main notes. The pattern of these three groups is the prefix followed

by the main note. The first two groups (E – F and C# – D) form a °5 – 3 linear pattern with the

soprano, and the last group (Bb – A) in m. 35 does not follow the previous pattern. Eb (^2b) of the

soprano chooses E-natural (^2) rather than D, resulting a V3 chord. As a V64--53 goes to the tonic

chord in mm. 35 – 36, it defines a perfect authentic cadence.

From these examples, it is clear that the neighbor note can appear in different places and

serve different roles. Each complete or incomplete neighbor note can be a prefix or suffix, upper

or lower, and diatonic or chromatic, theoretically yielding twelve possibilities in the music. The

common trait of these examples is that the neighbor note as a prefix always relates to another

single note (the main note).14

Allen Forte and Steven F. Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis (New York: Norton, 1982), 17 –

I.2 Piatti: 12 Caprices Op. 25 No. 6.

Piatti himself was better known as a cello pedagogue than as a composer. His Caprice,

Op. 25/6, demonstrates compositional techniques typical of late nineteenth-century composers,

especially the use of successive minor thirds. The two sets of caprices by Franchomme and Piatti

are separated by a period of only three decades. However, Piatti used third relations in his

Caprice in a more progressive manner than Franchomme, as I will describe below. Aspects of

tonal evolution in the nineteenth century are thus reflected in the contrasts between Franchomme

and Piatti.

1) A Succession of Minor Thirds.

In the diatonic tonal system, the unequal division of the octave is fundamental to the

hierarchy of harmonic relationships. 15 Some examples of the unequal division of the octave

include common progressions, such as II – V, I – IV, IV – V, IV – II. However, the interval of

the third can divide the octave equally: major thirds divide it three equal times, and minor thirds

divide it four equal times. In a chromatic tonal system, thirds are also useful intervals to enrich

the harmony. From Schenker’s point of view, progression by thirds is as common as that by

fifths. Progressions by thirds or fifths can ascend or descend. (However, the effect of root motion

by fifth remains stronger than that of the third.)16

Here, one finds that the equal division of musical space into minor thirds develops

successive duplications of specific harmonic progressions. In this case, the chord-to-chord

progressions are based upon repeating relationships: i  bIII / natural-III. This “transposition

Howard Cinnamon, “Tonic Arpeggiation and Successive Equal Third Relations as Elements of Tonal
Evolution in the Music of Franz Liszt,” Music Theory Spectrum 8 (Spring 1986), 2.
Schenker, Harmony, 235.

operation”17 makes more than two modulations, but eventually leads back to the tonic key. At

first, they appear in the incipient equal division18 form as embellishments of tonic-arpeggiating

progressions that ascend i – bIII – #IV – natural-VI – I – V – i. Ultimately, they present a type of

prolongation in which, within the same key or modulation, the repeating i – V harmonic

progression appears again and again.

In mm. 16 – 41 (the B section) of the Caprice no. 6, a succession of ascending minor

thirds equally divides the bass octave span Ab3 – Ab4, as shown in Figure 4.5. Each of the

successive thirds is followed by its own dominant, a feature that emphasizes the equal division of

the octave in this passage. Meanwhile, the harmonic progression involves the common tone in

the soprano: the fifth scale degree (Gb4) in Cb major is enharmonically equivalent to the third

(F#4) of the tonic in D major; this enharmonic common-tone connection is shown by a dotted

slur in the foreground graph. Scale degree ^5 (A4) in D major becomes the third of F major in mm.

23 – 24. The same procedure recurs again in mm. 24 – 25: scale degree ^5 of F major (C4) is

equivalent to the third of the tonic in Ab major. The last two patterns are represented by a

concrete slur to show the common tone. Eventually, the tonic Ab4 is approached contrapuntally,

in large part through the arpeggiations of its diminished-seventh chord (Ab – Cb – D – F); this

spans ten measures (mm. 16 – 24) to reach its parallel key, A-flat major, which completes the

equal division of the Ab3 – Ab4 octave. The extended V in mm. 27 – 33 is the penultimate goal

of tonal motion, leading to the return of A-flat minor in m. 34. and the D major harmony of m.

23 can be regarded as a passing harmony that links bIII with natural-VI. This maintains the

Gregory Proctor, “Technical Bases of Nineteenth-Century Chromatic Tonality: A Study in
Chromaticism” (Ph. D. diss., Princeton University, 1978), 159 – 70.
Cinnamon, “Tonic Arpeggiation and Successive Equal Third Relations as Elements of Tonal Evolution
in the Music of Franz Liszt,” 10 – 24.

normative hierarchic positions and preserves the diatonic functions of each principal harmony,

corresponding to a more conventional tonal progression.

Comparing section A to section B, one finds that section B begins and ends with the

parallel minor of the overall A-flat major tonic. After natural-VI (f minor, m. 24) appears, the

harmony does not immediately return to a-flat minor. Instead, mm. 25 – 26 turn to A-flat major,

recalling the major key tonic of the whole piece. There is a sudden shift back to a-flat minor in m.

27, illustrating modal mixture. The play of thirds does not end in m. 27. In mm. 37 – 38, C-flat

major is again tonicized, as in m. 20. One would expect another cycle of minor thirds, but this

time C-flat major goes directly back to a-flat minor. It is only a reminiscence of the progression

in minor thirds.

There are four important points on tonal structures illustrated by this passage:

1. The chromatic tonal system is based on the diatonic tonal system. Within the minor-third

operations, the tonic-dominant relationship remains the foundation. As Howard

Cinnamon mentioned, the determinative role played by V differentiates between

equiproportional structures and those based on elaborations of more conventional

structural patterns.19 The presence of the V harmony and the progression produced by its

prolongation define the arpeggiations as the structural basis of this passage.

2. It shows how easily equal divisions of the octave can be produced through extensions of

standard diatonic procedures.

3. It demonstrates how structures are based on equal division of the octave by successive

thirds; the latter may be seen as controlling elements in this passage, and as a new

harmonic development in the nineteenth century. Not only did Piatti employ this, but

Cinnamon, “Tonic Arpeggiation and Successive Equal Third Relations as Elements of Tonal Evolution
in the Music of Franz Liszt,” 9.

Liszt also used it in his Sposalizio (mm. 30 – 77) and Faust Symphony (mm. 71 – 424).

For example, the harmonic progression of mm. 30 – 77 of Liszt’s Sposalizio presents I –

natural-III – bV – #VI – I in E major. Like Piatti’s no. 6, Liszt made use of a succession

of ascending minor thirds that clearly divides a I – I octave into equal segments. There is

a difference between the two pieces. In Piatti’s no. 6: Starting with the second successive

third, the harmony follows I – V pattern in each third. But in Liszt’s Sposalizio, the last

three successive thirds are preceded by its own dominant.20 Both examples abundantly

offer equal division of the octave by successive thirds as well as by their sequential


4. It proves that where common-tone prolongations span many measures, chromatic

mediants usually depart from and return to the same chord without prolonging other

harmonies, as in mm. 16 – 34. This idea is somewhat analogous to David Kopp’s view,

who explains that the chromatic mediant originates from and returns to either a single

tonic chord, or the dominant in the case of the long-range neighbor prolongations 21 ,

instead of that of the common-tone prolongations.

2) Modal Mixture.

Schenker always regarded the minor system as conceptually inferior to the major

system.22 He also suggested that most pieces rely on modal mixture.23 It is the concept of modal

mixture that makes the two systems available to each other. He wrote:

Cinnamon, “Tonic Arpeggiation and Successive Equal Third Relations as Elements of Tonal Evolution
in the Music of Franz Liszt,” 5-24.
David Kopp, Chromatic Transformations in Nineteenth-Century Music (New York : Cambridge
University Press, 2002) , 117.
Jonas, Introduction to the Theory of Heinrich Schenker, 27 – 30.

The tone lives in a richer life, it satisfies its vitality all the better the more it revels in these
relationships – that is, first, when it unites major and minor – and second, the more
intensely it revels in each system.24

Modal mixture is exhibited in this piece at two levels, from the surface to the underlying

voice-leading patterns. In the foreground, the B section starts with a-flat minor, followed by

successive ascending minor thirds to A-flat major, before a return to a-flat minor (as I previously

discussed). The Caprice no. 6 is in ABA’ form, as shown in Figure 4.6. The key areas of the

three sections are respectively A-flat major, a-flat minor, and A-flat major. The opening A

section, which is illustrated in Figure 4.7, contains fifteen measures and presents the essential

ideas: arch-shape motives (for example, the opening melodies ascends from Ab2 to Eb5 and then

descends to the initial note), the I – IV – V – I6 – ii – V/V – V harmonic progression leading to a

half cadence, and an overall melancholic mood. In all three sections of the piece, the Kopfton ^5

plays an important role.

 Figure 4.6: Diagram of Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6.

A B A’ Coda

1 9 16 25 34 44 61

Ab: I PC HC ab: i PC Ab: I PC ab: i PC Ab: I PAC PC

(I) (i) (I)

Matthew Brown, “The Diatonic and the Chromatic in Schenker’s Theory of Harmonic Relations,”
Journal of Music Theory 30, no. 1 (Spring 1986), 5.
Schenker, Harmony, 107.

The initial phrase of the A’ section is an exact repeat of the opening six measures in A-

flat major. However, several interesting things happen in the consequent phrase in mm. 49 – 63.

Piatti reintroduces the opening harmony in mm. 49 – 56: the I – IV – V – I progression, which is

based on the unequal division of the octave. Also, he extended this return with some elements

from the B section by employing two voices in mm. 52 – 56: The top voice with long notes is the

main melody for three measures, and then the long notes appear in the bottom line for another

two measures. Mm. 55 – 66 (a part of A’ section and Coda) are based on I – V7 – I, with a

perfect authentic cadence that differs from the end of the A section. The harmony emphasizes the

tonic, with the step-wise descending motion ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1. Also, m. 55 contains a brief

tonicization of IV, which is quite similar to what is found in Franchomme no. 9. Both examples

take place during the descending ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1 of A’ section. Although Piatti’s final

descending section is shorter than Franchomme’s, both have the same function to emphasize the

final perfect authentic cadence.

One would expect to end this piece here, after the perfect authentic cadence, but it does

not happen in this way. The cadence is reinforced by a statement of the opening two-measure

segment with slight changes, illustrating the initial motive and the scale-like arching line. Finally,

the piece ends with two pizzicato chords in a pianississimo dynamic. The middleground of the

whole piece can be viewed in Figure 4.8.

3) The Relationship of “Leads” and “Follows.”

In mm. 28 – 34, the harmony is V – i in a-flat minor, with a perfect authentic cadence, as

illustrated in Figure 4.9. The top voice starts with Eb5, followed by a neighbor-tone motion (Fb5),

and descends in stepwise motion to a lower octave Eb4 with the same neighbor-note motion to

Fb4. This is shown in Figure 4.5. The upper voice outlines the fifth between Eb and Bb, elements

of the dominant chord of a-flat minor. However, the bottom line cannot be slurred in the same

way as the top line. The main reason is that G and Db do not fully establish the dominant chord

of a-flat minor. Instead, the bottom line follows the upper voice in parallel sixths. Before and

after this passage, there is a neighbor-note motion in mm. 28 and 32, creating a small-scale


4) The Function of the Neighbor Note.

Piatti used fewer neighbor notes than Franchomme as shown in the foreground (see

Figure 4.7). In mm. 16 – 18, the double neighbors G-natural and Bb decorate the Ab in the bass.

In the leading and following passage in mm. 28 – 34, both soprano and bass voices have a

complete upper neighbor-note figure: Eb – Fb – Eb in the soprano, and G-natural – Ab – G-

natural and Eb – Fb – Eb in the bass. The G-natural serves two functions: as a principal tone

(with neighbor notes) in mm. 28 – 33, and as the lower incomplete neighbor to the Ab in m. 34.

Mm. 39 – 41 illustrate how a neighbor note can be indirectly connected to its main note. The Fb

does not directly go to Eb; instead, an intervening F-natural is presented between the neighboring

Fb and the main Eb.

5) Implied Note.

Mm. 27 – 28 (See Figure 4.7) present a situation in which the harmonic shift suggests an

implied note: before m. 27, the harmony is on the dominant-seventh chord in A-flat major. The

normal resolution of the Cb in m. 27 suggests a Bь on the downbeat of m. 28. The implied

resolution of Cb – Bb confirms the dominant chord of a-flat minor. Both of these examples occur

in the alto voice.

I.3 Conclusion of Franchomme’s No. 9 and Piatti’s No. 6.

Franchomme’s no. 9 and Piatti’s no. 6 are lyrical pieces with moments of melancholy.

However, they differ in their use of third relationships: the former embodies the progression b

minor – D major – b minor (i – III – i), and the latter has A-flat major – a-flat minor with

chromatic third relationships – A-flat major (I – i – I). Clearly, Franchomme’s no. 9 mainly

employs diatonic third relationship, which is common in all tonal music, including Baroque and

Classical period music. The diatonic third relationships are also found most minor-key dance

movements in Baroque music (like Bach’s minuets), and in most minor-key Classical-period

sonata forms. On the other hand, the chromatic third relationships that are found in Piatti’s no. 6

are a hallmark of nineteenth century music. Not only Piatti, but Liszt took advantage of

chromatic third relationships which equally divide the octave. In addition, the chromatic

descending lines with motivic parallelism makes the B and A’ sections of Franchomme’s no. 9

more distinguished, while Piatti’s no. 6 presents model mixture at lower and higher levels.

II. Comparison of Franchnomme’s 12 Caprices, op. 7, No. 1 and Piatti’s 12 Caprices, op.

25, No. 1.

The first etudes in Franchomme’s and Piatti’s 12 Caprices have some common surface

characteristics, but also process some differences. They both feature constant sixteenth-note

rhythms, fast tempo (Allegro), accent marking, and even the same tonic (G). On the other hand,

Franchomme’s no. 1 is in G major with 4/4 meter whereas Piatti’s no. 1 is in g minor with 6/8

meter. The pitch register of Franchomme’s no. 1 is higher than that of Piatti’s no. 1. On the

account of form, Franchomme’s no. 1 is sectional while Piatti’s no. 1 is continuous. The

following will show more detailed features in uniformity and distinction.

II.1 Franchomme: 12 Caprices Op. 7 No. 1.

1) Omnibus Progression.

Victor Fell Yellin defines the Omnibus progression as follows:

In its simple typical form, the omnibus is five chords long and it prolongs a
dominant seventh chord via a chromatically filled-in voice exchange involving
scale degree 5 and 7; the resulting progressions are filled with enharmonic double

A complete Omnibus progression is shown in Figure 4.10. The first two chords establish the key

of G major. In terms of harmonic function, the third chord can be viewed as a dominant seventh

of B-flat major, or enharmonically as an augmented sixth chord leading to a cadential 4 in A

major (or A minor). The fourth chord is a supertonic chord in second inversion, while the fifth

chord is again a German sixth chord in A. However, all of the central harmonies are simply

Victor Fell Yellin, “The Omnibus Idea,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the American
Musicological Society, Dallas, 1972; quoted in Paula J. Telesco, “Enharmonicism and the Omnibus Progression in
Classical-Era Music,” Music Theory Spectrum 20, no. 2 (Autumn 1998), 242.

passing chords, embedded within a chromatically filled-in voice exchange. The function of the

omnibus progression is to prolong the dominant chord.

Franchomme adopted the concept of the Omnibus progression in mm. 3 – 4, in which the

F-natural and the D are omitted in the soprano and bass (respectively), as shown in Figure 4.11.

The progression prolongs the dominant seventh harmony; the chord with E in the bass in m. 3

leads to the dominant. Although a chromatic voice exchange appears in m. 4, the diatonic context

is clear both before and after those measures. The soprano spans a major third in the voice

exchange context, as the bass spans only a minor third from D#3 to F#3. On the larger scale,

mm. 1 – 5 present a prolongation of the tonic of G major.

2) The Movement of the Kopfton, D / Register Transfer.

All the parts feature similar register transfers of the Kopfton D, as shown in Figure 4.12.

Each part starts with D3 or D4 and is transferred up an octave. Within a measure, the higher D5

shifts directly back to the original D4. For example, the “a” part begins with the Kopfton D3 for

three and half measures; after the omnibus progression, the Kopfton is transferred up to D4 for

one bar. It immediately returns to the starting pitch for four measures, as shown in Figure 4.11.

Another instance occurs in m. 11. The “b” part of mm. 9 – 14 features a similar transfer of the

Kopfton, from D4 to D5 in mm. 10 – 11. In m. 11, the D5 directly shifts back to D4 for three and

half measures, which contains the 7 – 3 intervallic pattern (to be discussed below). Finally, the b’

part begins like the b part, but holds the D5 for a complete measure (m. 25) before moving back

to D 4 for three and half measures, before the final ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1 progression.

3) Chromatic Thirds and the Relationship of Thirds.

This piece is greatly concerned with the mediant, both the scale degree and the harmony.

The mediant is presented at different levels in the b’ part, mm. 23 – 29 (see Figure 4.11). This

part begins in G major, but immediately moves to g minor. The notes in mm. 20 – 21 are

identical except for the change in scale degree ^3 from B-natural to Bb. In order to move to B-flat

major in m. 25, Franchomme uses modal mixture to shift from G major to g minor within two

measures. The connection between g minor and B-flat major (the diatonic third relationship) is

more common and direct than that between G major and B-flat major.

From B-flat major, Franchomme then employs enharmonic equivalence to return to G

major in an unexpected way. Schenker once claimed:

Modulation by enharmonic change, however, is particularly well suited to demonstrate that

the two tones which have undergone an enharmonic change remain basically as different as
they were before the use of temperation. This is explained by the fact that, after the
enharmonic change has been completed, i.e., in accordance with the new harmonic
phenomenon, the diatonic sphere suddenly becomes an entirely different one, so totally
different that there is no connection whatever between the keys to which the two
enharmonically exchaged tones of the triad belong.26

The enharmonic change in this case consists in the reinterpretation of Bb as A# in m. 27.

This A# (part of F# chord) becomes the leading tone to the natural mediant (iii) of G major. This

transition subtly transforms a flat-mediant to a natural-mediant. In other words, the return to G

major could not be achieved as quickly by means of two modulations – a shift from B-flat major

(a chromatic mediant) to B minor (the diatonic mediant) in the b’ part.

The mediants in mm. 26 – 29 are linked by the enharmonic note A#/Bb – the chromatic

third relationship. The effect is surprising and dramatic, and makes the b’ part the most

developmental in character. B-flat major shifts back to G major quickly in mm. 26 – 29, so that

Schenker, Harmony, 332.

the b’ part can keep the eight-measure form found in the refrain. At the middleground level, the

Bb and B-natural triads signify the relationship of thirds to G major: bIII and natural-III, shown

in Figure 4.12. This piece employs two kinds of third relationships: the diatonic and the


4) Subordinate Linear Progression with Motivic Parallelism.

In mm. 11 – 14, the bass motion from G down to D supports a harmonic progression

from I to V, while the intervening harmonies of the inner voice derive their strength from the

downward pull of the bass line. The subordinate linear progression of the inner voice that

prolongs the Kopfton D, shown in Figure 4.11, might be confused with the principal linear

progression of the top voice, in which the inner voice has the beamed fourth-progression D – C –

B – A in the descant. The same predominant chord of mm. 11 – 12 repeats twice, and then

resolves to a fifth, E – B. The prolongation of D of the upper voice consists of a register transfer

from D5 to D4 as well as a complete lower neighboring motion, D – C# – D. Also, this pattern of

D – C – B – A occurs one more time at a higher level, a copy in mm. 29 – 30, shown in Figure

4.13. Since the copy is half the length of the pattern, it is a contraction, which is disguised in the

descending ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1. As observed in the previous discussion, Franchomme used motivic

parallelism in his 12 Caprices, no. 9 as well as his no. 1. The pieces may be compared as follows:

(1) Both patterns are at lower levels. One of the copies of both pieces is a part of the final

^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1 descending line.

(2) Franchomme’s no. 9 includes more copies than his no. 1.

(3) The copies of Franchomme’s no. 9 consist of two enlargements and one contraction,

while that of Franchomme’s no. 1 only has one contraction.

5) Form: Modified Binary Form.

This piece is in a modified binary form, consisting of AA’ sections and a coda, as shown

in Figures 4.11 and 4.14. In the “a” part, the Kopfton 5 (D4) is stated directly without any

complications. Attached to it are two motions: the ascending arpeggios to G in m. 2, and the

descending omnibus progression to D4 that was discussed previously. Instantly, it shifts back to

D3 and repeats the first four measures with a shortened omnibus progression. The whole “a” part

of the small binary form is only eight measures long, with two four-measure units: a (mm. 1 – 4)

and a’ (mm. 5 – 8).

 Figure 4.14: Diagram of Franchomme’s 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1.

A A’ Coda

a b a b’ Coda

1 5 9 11 15 19 23 24 25 27 31


I i IIIb I

The b section preserves some rhythmic and diminutional features of the “a” part. The

Kopfton 5 (D4) remains the primary tone of “a” as well, occurring in two registers as D4 and as

D5, which define the main tonal space in which the melody operates. In the first three measures,

the upper neighbor note A4 embellishes G4, within the prolongation of scale degree ^5. In the

second half of the b section (mm. 11 – 14), the inner voice presents a 7 – 3 – 7 – 5 pattern above

the bass, which outlines a large-scale ii – V progression that leads to the tonic. Both “a” and “b”

sections prolong the Kopfton, D, with register transfers above tonic harmony in the bass.

The A’ section is a bit different in content from section A, but is related to the b section

with new modulations. The “a” section is repeated here in the first half of the A’ section. The

foreground level of mm. 23 – 24 is very similar to mm. 9 – 10, except that the second measure

moves to g minor, with the change from B-natural to Bb. From the authentic cadence of mm.

24 – 25, it modulates to g minor’s relative major – B-flat major. As soon as it changes to B-flat

major, the neighbor note Eb asserts a V7 to I progression, confirming B-flat major. The bass pitch

Bь is reinterpreted enharmonically as A#, and the function of the A# chord is V6 of the B minor

chord – the mediant of G major in m. 28, followed by a V3 in m. 29. The final descent from the

Kopfton occurs in mm. 29 – 31, beginning with parallel tenths over the bass, with a complete

lower neighboring motion in mm. 29 – 30. The A’ section ends with a perfect authentic cadence

followed by a coda.

At the Middleground level (see Figure 4.12), the A section features an elaboration of I –

V – I, and the I – ii – V6 – I progression that ends the “b” section. The A’ section presents the

same material of “a” part and I – i – bIII – natural-III – ii – V6 – I for the b’ part. However, the b’

part is more chromatic than the first b part. Not only does it tonicize g minor and Bь major, it

also features the third relationships (B-flat major and b minor) at the climax in mm. 25 – 28. B-

flat major is a relative key to g minor, and g minor is a parallel key to G major. B-flat major can

be regarded a chromatic mediant to G major, and the move to b minor in mm. 27 – 28 may be

heard as a diatonic mediant to G major. Within only eight measures, the music goes through both

the chromatic mediant and the diatonic mediant, before the final descent and return to the tonic.

The length of the coda is as same as “a” part – eight measures. The coda repeats the V – I

motion for four measures, then moves to a stronger harmonic progression of V7 – I with a

complete neighboring figure (G – F# - G) in the upper voice. The dominants in the coda

function to prolong and extend the tonic. Some of the thematic motives in the coda are developed

from mm. 1 and 3 of the “a” part, provided in Figure 15. Measure 31 (a in Figure 4.15) is exactly

the same as m. 2. M. 32 (b in Figure 4.15) is a variation of m. 3: while the initial tones of each

sixteenth-note group are different, the rest of each beat has the C – A – C pattern from m. 3. In

the upper voice in m. 32, the D# forms an incomplete neighboring motion to E, unlike the upper

voice in m. 3. Also, the first two notes (G and B) are used in different permutations in the coda,

such as G4 – B3 – G2 – B3 in m. 35 and G4 – B3 – G2 – G2 in m. 36 (c in Figure 4.15).

II. 2 Piatti: 12 Caprices Op. 25 No. 1.

1) Obligatory Register.

The Kopfton D3 appears right in the beginning of the piece, shown in Figure 4.16. As we

shall see, the first twelve and a half measures has a repeated ground-bass figure on D3, the fifth

note of g minor. After a sequence of 7 – 6 linear motions leads to F#3 in m. 36, an implied G3

appears to resolve the dominant harmony of mm. 33 – 38, with its unfolded third from F#3 to D3.

Since this G3 of m. 43 is the fifth degree of c minor (due to the long dominant chord starting in

m. 33, the motion to C minor does not start until m. 43), this G3 note is the main note. However,

the prior statement is not fully correct. The main reason is that the D3 is the primary tone,

although it is hiding in the inner voice. It is first established in m. 1, moving up to D3 in m. 26,

D3 in m. 37, up to D4 again in m. 53, and finally shifting back to D3 in m. 63. The brief

modulation to c minor does lead to a “secondary Kopfton” G3, while the “primary Kopfton” D3

dominants the piece at the middleground level, provided in Figure 4.17. This obligatory register27

governs the structural upper voice of the piece (the obligatory register is established earlier in the

piece). One can say that this D3 comes from the unfolding gesture as well as the D3 in the bass

line. This Kopfton D3 permeates mm. 37 – 52 (and many other passages, including the beginning

where it is a pedal tone), thus relating and linking g minor and c minor harmonies through the

same notes (mm. 39 – 42 is exactly same as mm. 1 – 4). The D is a Kopfton formally before m.

39. After m. 39, the D3 just stays there and hides in the inner voice. Here, the D3 serves as a

common tone in the V – I progression in mm. 37 to 40; it is also the fifth of the dominant in C

minor in m. 43. In m. 52, the implied D3 becomes the fifth of the tonic in first inversion.

Above this obligatory register defined by the Kopfton D3, there is a covering progression

from m. 39 to m. 52. The line is from G3, F-natural3, Eb3 to G3 with two neighbor note
Forte and Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis, 262-264.

elaborations: Ab3 (an upper neighbor) in m. 47, and F#3 (a lower neighbor) in m. 51. Piatti

implies symmetry in two different ways: through the neighboring semitones around G3 in mm.

47 and 51, and through G3 – F3 – Eb3 and Eb3 – F#3 – G3 in mm. 40 – 52. (Theoretically, there

is one problem with G3 – F3 – Eb3 – F#3 – G3. This progression does not exit in this way. M. 50

has a Eb, not E-natural. Eb is scale degree natural-6 of G minor, and has a strong tendency to

descend to scale degree ^5 D. A direct motion from E-flat to F# is a dissonant augmented second,

which would not make a strong connection. Therefore, one should treat these five notes as two

separate lines, G3 – F3 – Eb3 and Eb3 – F#3 – G3). Figure 4.18 demonstrates these two lines in a

contrary motion, creating an arch shape with two relevant stepwise motions. The descending line,

G3 – F3 – Eb3 outline a ^5 – ^4 – ^3 progression in C minor, while the ascending line, Eb3 – F#3 –

G3, leads back to the G3 with its incomplete lower neighbor. The Eb3 is an incomplete upper

neighbor note to D3 in the inner voice, which is restated in m. 50.

 Figure 4.18: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, the progressions of two separate upper
lines in mm. 40 – 52.

G3 G3

^5 in c minor ^1 in g minor

F3 F#3

^4 in c minor Lower incomplete neighbor note to G3

3 in c minor + upper incomplete neighbor note to D in the inner voice of m. 50.

Furthermore, the upper voice in mm. 47 – 50 presents a 3 – 7 linear intervallic pattern

with the bass line, which leads from V to i in c minor through a harmonic sequence in

descending fifths (F3 – Bb3, Eb3 – Ab3 and D3 – G3). It should be clear at this point that the

upper line of mm. 40 – 52 is not the main linear progression, but a subsidiary foreground motion

attached to G3 (scale degree ^5 in c minor, or ^1 in g minor). The function G3 is to emphasize the

key of g minor, within the modulation between g minor and c minor.

2) Prolongation.

2.1. Unfolding of Small Scale.

According to Schenker, an unfolding gesture is one way to prolong a harmony.28 In mm.

17 – 26, the upper voice ascends to the primary tone D4 through Bb3 and C4, embellished by

two small-scale unfolding gestures. These are shown in Figure 4.16, using inward and outward

unfolding symbols respectively. The first unfolding occurs in mm. 17 – 23: The interval unfolded

is the third Bb – G above the bass Bb, embellished by a complete stepwise diatonic motion to F.

The upper voice and bass descend by step in mm. 17 – 19, resulting in four parallel sixths. On

the surface, this unfolding covers more than one harmony, which conflicts the definition of an

unfolding described before, because mm. 17 – 23 present a motion from a B-flat major harmony

(I) to an Eb harmony (IV). Actually, this unfolding Bb – G belongs to the subdominant rather

than the tonic. The basic reason is that Bb and G are not heard simultaneously. If this unfolding

were two different harmonies from I to IV, the harmonic progression would have led to a parallel

fifth (as illustrated in Figure 4.19), which of course is an improper voice-leading and was

therefore avoided.

The second unfolding is simpler: from A3 to C4 in the upper voice, which prolongs a

single harmony – V of B-flat major, with stepwise ascending motion in mm. 24 – 25. As before,

the upper voice and bass feature parallel motion, though now in ascending thirds. Finally the C4

in the upper voice in m. 25 leads to D4 in m. 26, supported by the V(6) – I progression. It is clear

that the upper voice goes from Bb3, C4 to D4 with some elaborations.

In terms of the direction of the two unfolding gestures, one can find an arch shape once

again. The left wing of the V consists of Bb, A, G and F, the right one A, Bb and C. If one only

counts the number of notes in the two wings, it is asymmetrical. However, the V is well balanced,
Forte and Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis, 253.

since the F can be excluded. (It does not take part in these mentioned motions.) The purpose of

these two unfolding gestures includes three aspects (which do not involve the F): the horizontal

motion Bb3 (m. 17) – C4 (m. 25) – D4 (m. 26), the unfolded thirds (Bb – G of mm. 17 – 23, A –

C of mm. 24 – 25), and the linear intervallic patterns (LIP) in parallel sixths and thirds.

These two unfolding gestures create a “mirror” effect, as shown in Figure 4.20. Within

the linear intervallic patterns, one can see three parallel 6ths, then the 5 – 6 – 5 neighbor motion,

followed by three parallel 3rds. The overall passage presents a descent followed by an ascent, in

parallel motion with the bass.

 Figure 4.20: Piatti 12 Caprices Op. 25 No. 1, Symmetry in mm. 17 – 25.

Upper voice: Bb3 A3 G3 F3 -------------- A3 -------- Bb3 C4

LIP: 6 6 6 5 6 5 3 3 3

The Bass: D3 C3 Bb2 Bb2 A2 Bb2 F3 G3 A

Group: 1 2 3


{6 6 6 } 5 6 5 {3 3 3}

5 6 5

Note that the intervals in the two LIPs are complementary: the inversion of the sixth is the third.

In the central group of 5 – 6 – 5, the two fifths are symmetrical to each other, while the sixth is

the center. Furthermore, the two unfolded thirds are symmetrical, due to their movements

directions, provided in Figure 4.21.

2.2. The Movement of the Kopfton with Register Transfer.

The piece starts with the Kopfton D3, without any embellishment. However, the Kopfton

does not stay in the same register throughout the piece. Figure 4.22 and Figure 4.17 show how

the upper voice ascends to D4 in m. 26, and returns to D3 in m. 37: unusually, in an inner voice

rather than the top voice. This is a clear example of the register transfer of the Kopfton. After

repeating this reversed arch-shaped line one more time in mm. 53 and 63, the upper part outlines

the standard descending progression in g minor of mm. 63 – 77.

The two reversed arch-shaped lines comprise a series of linear patterns. The first reversed

V-shaped gesture consists of two unfolded thirds with parallel sixths and thirds (as discussed

previously in section 2.1), before reaching the D4 in m. 26. This D4 then descends to D3, mostly

by step, but with a consonant skip from F# to D at m. 37. At the same time, the bass essentially

descends from Bb3 to D3 in parallel motion, creating 6 – 7 linear patterns with the upper voice.

Perhaps Piatti intentionally chose six pairs of these linear patterns—that is, an even number—to

illustrate a sense of balance. The key progressions also illustrate symmetry. In the ascending part

of the arch in mm. 1 – 26, the music progresses from g minor to B-flat major, while the

descending part of the arch in mm. 26 – 37 moves from B-flat major back to g minor. Both

wings of the first reversed V encompass liner intervallic patterns and modulation, further

illustrating the idea of symmetry.

Compared to the first reversed arch, the second one between mm. 37 and 63 is much

simpler. The left side of the arch of mm. 47 – 50 features a 3 – 7 pattern supporting the linear

progression ^5 (G3) – ^4 (F3) – ^3 (Eb) in the motion to c minor. The right side of the arch of mm.

53 – 77 features a dominant pedal with embellishments, which make an augmented fourth

between the voices in m. 55 (C4 – F#4), and a diminished fifth in m. 58 (F#3 – C4), as may be

seen in Figure 4.16. Both dissonant intervals are immediately resolved, to a sixth and a third

respectively. Although these four notes (C4, F#4, F#3, and C4) are in different registers, they

point to a single property. First, two intervals related by inversion add up to an octave (4 + 5 = 9;

6 + 3 = 9); and two tritones add up to an octave; this leads to a fact: the neighbor motions F# – G

and C – B create a voice exchange, as shown in Figure 4.23. The voice exchange is followed by

a motion of ^2 (A3) – ^1 (G3) in mm. 60 – 62. Since the descent of the second arch is very close to

the ending, it presents a clear and extended dominant that leads to the final cadence.

These two reversed arch gestures demonstrate the composer’s possible use of symmetry.

The idea of symmetry appears in various ways, including the use of linear intervallic patterns,

melodic intervals, and register transfers. The direction of both voices generally follows the path

of the arch, both ascending and descending.

2.3. Emphasis on V.

When the upper voice moves back to the Kopfton D3, the bass line stays on the dominant

with scale-like embellishments in mm. 63 – 66. The bass voice ascends and descends the octave

between D3 to D4, with a complete upper neighbor note Eb4 in mm. 63 – 65. Figure 4.16 shows

that the extended dominant precedes the final upper voice descent of ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1, and the

cadential iv – V – i progression in mm. 67 – 70. To be precise, the dominant extension occurs

between scale degrees ^5 and ^4 of the upper voice. The upper voice ends on G2 in mm. 70 – 77: a

fifth below the opening D3, demonstrating Schenker’s theory about the overall descent of the

upper voice across the whole piece.

2.4. The Establishment of G minor.

Under the Kopfton D, a number of features strongly confirm a g-minor tonic in various

ways. The first five notes (G3, A3, Bb3, C4 and D4) of the g-minor scale, shown in Figure 4.17,

are outlined in the upper voice in mm. 9 – 26. Also, the composer used a triadic form to

emphasize the key. In mm. 30 – 39 and 52 – 53, the upper voice presents the tonic chord in

reverse order: D4 – Bb3 – G3. The first example is a secondary melody above the Kopfton D3 in

the inner voice, while the second passage features the tonic triad within the registral transfer

from D3 to D4. In all of these instances, the slurs between connect the pitches of the tonic

harmony to the Kopfton.

2.5. Tonicization.

There are two tonicization events, as illustrated in Figure 4.17. The tonicization of the

diatonic mediant of g minor is first established in m. 20, thus causing the D4 of m. 26 to become

the scale degree ^3 in B-flat major. The music returns to g minor after the 6 – 7 sequential pattern

in m. 32. However, it does not stay in g minor very long, and moves quickly to the subdominant

key of c minor in m. 44, supported by a false incomplete descent of ^5 (G3)– ^4 (F3) – ^3 (Eb3) in

mm. 48 – 50. These two tonicizations within in a short amount of time provide some instability.

However, even though they bring the harmony away from the original key, the upper voice

prolongs D from the beginning to nearly the end. If one looks at the original music, one can tell

this piece belongs to the group of compound melody with strong D pedals.

3) Form: Prelude Form.

This piece serves as a prelude for the whole set of Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25; the

succeeding pieces are longer, and more structurally complex. It is short, with no particular

internal form. The whole piece features a single rhythmic and melodic motif that is used in every

measure. There are constant sixteenth notes in 6/8 meter. The melodic motive is first stated in m.

1: the first three eighth notes, shown by downward stems in the score. These three notes – G, Bb

and A – include three intervals: a minor third (G to Bb), a minor second (Bb to A) and a major

second (G to A). The composer exploits these three intervals in the rest of the piece, including

the inversions of the three intervals and major thirds. Figure 4.24 illustrates several examples of

how later material is derived from the intervals first presented in m. 1. The interval contents

embrace major and minor seconds and thirds as well as their inversions.

From Figure 4.25, it shows the harmonic movement of g minor (i) – B-flat major (III) – g

minor (i) – c minor (iv) – g minor (i), reflecting the diatonic third and fifth relationships. The

opening four measures recur two more times in mm. 9 – 12 and mm. 39 – 42 distinctively. The

first recurring theme is in g minor, but the second one presents the transition between g minor

and c minor. In mm. 39 – 50, there is an incomplete descending progression ^5 – ^4 – ^3 of c minor

in mm. 48 – 50, secondary to the scale degree ^1 (G) of g minor.

Figure 4.25: Diagram of Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1.

Prelude form

1 9 16 17 26 32 39 44 49 62 67 70 – 77

g: PAC HC Bb: AC g: AC c: AC g: PC PC PAC

(i) (III) (i) (iv) (i)

Generally, harmonic progressions in the whole piece feature root motions by fifth, third,

and second.29 Such progressions include i - V – i, i – iv, i – VI – iv - i, i – ii° – V – I and i – iv –

V – I, as in most tonal music. As Schenker stated:

The step progression by fifths takes precedence over the third…. Progression by seconds
must be considered as a secondary derivation from progression by fifths and thirds.30

The progression by fifths of i – V – i dominates the whole piece. This results in an authentic

cadence in each modulation, such as mm. 24 – 26 in B-flat major, mm. 36 – 39 in g minor, and

mm. 39 – 44 in c minor. The most extended perfect authentic cadence i – V – i in g minor

happens in mm. 62 – 66, declaring the importance of the scale degree ^5 before the descending

line ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1.

This prelude form is somewhat similar to the Prelude of J.S. Bach’s Solo Suite for Cello

No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007:

Schenker, Harmony, 239 – 240.
Schenker, Harmony, 235 – 236.

First, both preludes are like an introduction, establishing the key with improvisatory

elements for the following pieces: Piatti’s no. 1 is the first piece of the whole set of 12 Caprices.

The whole set of 12 Caprices starts with g minor, preceding by E-flat major, B-flat major, d

minor, F major, A-flat major, C major, a minor, D major, b minor, G major and e minor. The

relationship between the pieces is either in submediant or fifth or mediant or relative key. The

first six pieces are in flat system, and the last four pieces are in sharp system. Bach’s Prelude,

BWV 1007 is the first movement of G-major suite. The prelude sets up the G major key for the

entire suite.

Second, both composers employed the same rhythm – sixteenth notes – for the whole

pieces, although they are in different meters. (Piatti’s no. 1 is in 6/8 meter, while Bach’s Prelude,

BWV 1007 is in 4/4 meter.) Not only rhythmic freedom, the prelude form also loosens thematic

construction, presents idiomatic virtuosity, and reflects frequent contemporaneous


Third, both pieces contain repeated figure-bass figures, provided in Figure 4.26. The first

four measure of Bach’s Prelude always start with G2 for every other beat, emphasizing on the

tonic in G major, while Piatti’s no. 1 repeats the same pattern as previous discussed.

Fourth and finally, both pieces have a scale-like passage with dominant pedal in the end

of each piece, shown in Figure 4.27. Piatti’s no. 1 contains ascending and descending lines in

mm. 63 – 65, while Bach’s Prelude consists of only an ascending chromatic scale from D3 to


Randel, The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 676 – 77.

4) Conclusion.

This piece powerfully suggests the presence of symmetry in several respects, such as the

unfolding of the obligatory register, unfolding on a smaller scale (unfolding at the foreground

level), and the movement of the Kopfton. One might wonder if Piatti really designed the piece

with this calculation in mind, by projecting even numbers at different levels. There is no way to

know the answer, but from the analysis, one might assume that Piatti is a mathematical composer.

II. 3 Conclusion of Franchomme’s No. 1 and Piatti’s No.1.

From the previous discussions, both pieces have the same Kopfton ^5 (D) and tonic – G,

and feature register transfers and compound melodies. However, they differ in several respects,

most notably in terms of form. For example, Franchomme’s no. 1 is quite sectional, using a

modified binary form. The Kopfton D stays in the upper voice in the most parts of

Franchomme’s no. 1. The central section of Franchomme’s no. 1 concentrates on the relationship

between III and bIII – the diatonic and chromatic third relationships. Franchomme repeats the

V – I progression repeatedly in the coda, after the final descending ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1.

On the other hand, Piatti made use of a continuous Prelude-like form. The obligatory

register defined by the Kopfton (D) remains in the inner voice for a period of time. The main

core of Piatti no. 1 is symmetry at various levels, such as two unfolding gestures in mm. 17 – 26

and the movement of the Kopfton D in mm. 1 – 37 and mm. 37 – 63.

Also, the ending of Piatti’s no. 1 delays the structural dominant to the end of the piece, as

part of the final ^5 – ^4 – ^3 – ^2 – ^1 descending line, which is different from the final descending

line of Franchomme’s no. 1. Franchomme and Piatti exploited the perception of symmetry and

mediants in unique styles. It is possible that Piatti tried to imitate Franchomme’s 12 Caprices,

beginning his set in a similar way.

Figures of Chapter Four

 Figure 4.1: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9, middleground.

 Figure 4.3: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9, foreground.

 Figure 4.4: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9, motivic parallelism.

 Figure 4.5: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, mm. 16 – 41, foreground, a succession of
minor thirds.

 Figure 4.7: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, foreground.

 Figure 4.8: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, middleground.

 Figure 4.9: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, mm. 28 – 34.

 Figure 4.10: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, omnibus progression.

 Figure 4. 11: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, foreground.

 Figure 4.12: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, middleground.

 Figure 4.13: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, motivic parallelism.

 Figure 4.15: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, coda.

 Figure 4.16: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, foreground.

 Figure 4.17: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, middleground.

 Figure 4.19: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, mm. 17 – 23, parallel 5ths.

 Figure 4.21: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, mm. 17 – 25, two unfolding thirds.

 Figure 4.22: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, the movement of Kopfton.

 Figure 4.23: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, mm. 54 – 58, voice exchange.

 Figure 4.24: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, melodic motif.

 Figure 4.26: Comparison between the preludes of Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1 and
Bach’s Suite for Cello Solo, No. 1, BWV 1007.

 Figure 4.27: Two passages from Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1 and Bach’s Prelude
from Suite for Cello Solo No. 1, BWV 1007.

Chapter Five
Integration of Analysis and Performance

The relationship between analysis and performance has been a topic of much scholarly

investigation. Since most of them were written from the analysts’ perspective, they often

emphasize the importance of the analyses for the performer. Many musicians believe that

analysis can assist the performer by offering a more complete understanding of a given

composition. Comments such as Donald Francis Tovey’s statement “Players should understand

what they play” 1 are fairly common in the literature on the topic. The assumption is that

performers can improve their understanding of pieces by analyzing them, and thus be in a better

position to make musical decisions about how they will perform a piece. This leads to four

questions about the analyst and the performer:

1. What is the relationship between the analyst and the performer?

2. Are the analyst and the performer in an equal and balanced position?

3. If the answer is “no,” who is the leader and who is the follower, or is there no hierarchical


4. Is the performance merely a projection of the analysis?

After examining some ideas other scholars have had about the ways analysis might affect

performance, a more balanced view of the relationship will be proposed and illustrated.

Donald Francis Tovey, Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas: Bar-by-bar Analysis (London:
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, 1998), 3.

I. The Opinions of Past Scholars.

In 1925, Schenker proposed a set of performance instructions based on his analysis of J.

S. Bach’s Violin Sonata in C Major.2 This sparked a series of debates among scholars regarding

the relationship between the analyst and the performer. A variety of ideas and approaches found

their way into published articles and books, beginning in earnest during the last quarter of the

twentieth century. In 1983, Roger Kamien addressed the notion that the performer can glean

useful information from multiple levels of analyses. His study focused on aspects of

ornamentation, time span between movements, and articulation of motivic connections between

themes, as well as meter and rhythm. He did not explain how the analyst can help the performer,

but he did emphasize that a performer should be able to choose what element (i.e. phrase,

recurring motive, etc.) to bring out in the performance.3

Two years later, Janet Schmalfeldt discussed the same issue by assuming two different

roles: that of an analyst and a performer. First, the analyst presented an analytic study on

Beethoven’s second set of Bagatelles, Op. 126, to the performer. Then the performer offered a

response. Afterwards, the performer provided a series of questions about Beethoven’s fifth set of

Bagatelles, Op. 126, and the analyst then answered these questions according to her analysis.

This mode of presentation puts the performer into a submissive role in the relationship between

the analyst and the performer. Despite the fact that the performer and analyst take turns speaking

first about the two bagatelles, the performer is still following the direction given by the analyst in

both cases. The problem with this method is determining whether or not the analysis is

John Rink, ed., The Practice of Performance: Studies in Musical Interpretation (Cambridge; New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1995), 197.
Roger Kamien, “Analysis and Performance: Some Preliminary Observations,” Israel Studies in
Musicology 3 (1983), 156 – 70.

convincing enough for the performer to follow. Schmalfeldt points out that even if two different

performers base their decisions on the same analysis of a work, the performances might still be

different. As she describes, “There is no single, one-and-only performance decision that can be

dictated by an analytic observation.”4 Accordingly, she argues that a good performer should have

a flexible approach when making interpretive decisions from a single analytical observation.

In a 1987 article, David Beach agrees with Kamien that analysis does indeed improve

performance. He believes that performances based on the knowledge gained from analysis

projects the meaning of a given piece to the audience most accurately and successfully. This

knowledge is gradually developed through analysis. However, in Beach’s model, the analyst

does not lead the performer. The analyst does play an important role to uncover the mysterious

points of a work, but rather than being a leader, he or she serves as a helper to “dig” inside a

composition. For example, his discussion of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A

Minor, K. 310, illustrates how the information should be translated into performance through

analyses of metric articulation, phrase structure, motivic repetition, and long- and short-term


Within the last decade of the twentieth century, several articles addressed the

controversies about the relationship of the analysis and the performance, such as Cynthia Folio

(1991), Catherine Nolan (1993 – 1994), Joel Lester (1995), William Rothstein (1995), and

Nicolas Cook (1999). Nolan states that a performance is not only about projecting an analysis,

noting that a well-thought out analysis does not guarantee a good performance. There are more

factors that could affect a performance, including the performer’s physical and mental condition,

Janet Schmalfeldt, “On the Relation of Analysis to Performance: Beethoven’s Bagatelles Op. 126, Nos. 2
and 5,” Journal of Music Theory 29/1 (1985), 28.
David W. Beach, “The First Movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A Minor, K. 310: Some Thoughts on
Structure and Performance,” Journal of Musicological Research 7/2 – 3 (1987): 157 – 159.

acoustics of the performance space, weather (which influences the instrument, hands, ears,

moods, etc), and the level of audience engagement, etc. Her article also encompasses the tensions

between the analysis and the performance: an analysis might limit the performer’s creativity or

inspiration. 6 She quotes two terms from Konrad Wolff: Theoretical analysis and Fruitful

analysis. The former refers to the idea that the performer has a responsibility to find out as much

as possible about the piece in every aspect. Wolff said that “there is no basis for interpretation in

most of this.”7 The latter indicates that the performer only can translate a part of an analysis into

performance, but not the entire analysis. The rest still relies on the performer to investigate what

happens in the piece. In other words, analysis is but one of several means to the end.

Joel Lester asserts that analysis can open the door for the performer to understand the

piece. He states: “Analysts should understand what it is they analyze, especially when the goal of

their analysis is to enlighten performers.”8 To “enlighten performers” implies that the performer

is the main subject in the activity of a performance. The performer has power to make choices

based on what is convincing and pleasant to the audience. After all, the performer is the one to

present the work on stage.

William Rothstein takes an opinion opposite to Kamien and Beach, claiming that it is

dangerous for a performer to know a piece only through analysis. He states that performers need

to concern themselves with both analytical and dramatic truth. The main reason for this is that

most listeners go to concerts for “magical” powers instead of an analytical demonstration. He

Catherin Nolan, “Reflections on the Relationship of Analysis and Performance,” College Music
Symposium 33 – 34 (1993 – 94), 114 – 15.
Konrad Wolff, Schnabel’s Interpretation of Piano Music, ed. Alfred Brendel (New York: W.W. Norton &
Company, 1979), 18 – 9.
Joel Lester, “Performance and Analysis: Interaction and Interpretation,” in John S. Rink, ed., The Practice
of Performance: Studies in Musical Interpretation (New York: Cambridge Univ., 1995), 214.

called the meaning of a work “truth.” The truth needs to be presented from two sides:

analytically and dramatically. Only when the work presents two truths will the composition and

the performer become one. When the performer can thoroughly absorb the spirit of the piece into

performance, then the performer is engaged to play with the work instead of playing the work.

He also argues that the performer has the power to deliver various messages to the audience,

noting that every composition has one or more meanings behind it. In order to do so (according

to Lester):

The performer’s aim in undertaking an analysis is not only to understand the work
for its own sake – performance is not so disinterested an activity as that – but to
discover, or create a musical narrative…. The performer’s task is to provide the
listener with a vivid experience of the work, not an analytical understanding of it.9

Nicholas Cook focuses on the value of music theory from a theorist’s perspective. An

analysis is a production of literature. The quality of music theory is not only a description of a

work, it also involve elements of performance. Reading analyses by a performer is essential to

the understanding of a composition, as it enhances the awareness of the performer about the

details of a piece of work. The status of music theory should be equal to that of performance. It is

also important that performance and analysis should interact with each other, as in a

conversation.10 As Cook described:

If analysis and performance are to be seen as interlocking modes of musical

knowledge, then they should be pursued simultaneously and interactively, not in
succession. Or to put it in another way, analysis should be seen as a means of
posing articulate questions.11

Lester, “Performance and Analysis: Interaction and Interpretation,” 237 – 38.
Nicolas Cook, “Analysing Performance and Performing Analysis,” in Nicolas Cook and Mark Everist,
ed., Rethinking Music (New York: Oxford University, 1999), 239 – 61.
Cook, “Analysing Performance and Performing Analysis,” 248.

II. My Own View.

The exact proportion of contributions between the analyst and the performer is not the

central concern in this chapter. Analysis can indeed broaden the view of the performer toward a

piece of music, but it is the performer’s job to make a final decision to choose how and when to

translate the analytical language into the actual performance. Nevertheless, there are still some

issues outside this cooperative enterprise.

I believe that the performer should interact with the analyst rather than merely take

directives. In this I differ from models proposed by Wallace Berry, for example, who gives

specific directions to the performer in his Musical Structure and Performance. Here, the analyst

becomes a leader in the process of learning a piece in preparation for live performance, and the

performer is merely a follower.12 I do not agree with Berry’s methodology, for I find that the

relationship between the analyst and the performer is very ambiguous in terms of both the

process of a performance and the audience’s view. The analyst presents the composition in an

abstract way so that the performer can view the composition at several levels. It is then up to the

performer to choose as to which part of the analysis is useful to the performance and which part

is not, like Kamien’s view. The performer might have his/her own view, based on his abundant

performance experiences and knowledge. In a way, their relationship is like that of the teacher

and student: The teacher transmits the knowledge to the students, but ultimately it is the student

who chooses what knowledge to absorb.

Unconcerned with the relationship between analyst and performer, the audience only

cares about the final product: the performance itself. They attend concerts primarily to have a

Wallace Berry, Musical Structure and Performance (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 222.

vivid experience of the work, 13 as Rothstein claims. The relationship between analyst and

performer is not their concern at all, for this subject actually is not the primary objective of a

performance. Who is the leader? Who is the follower? There is no leader-follower relationship

clearly demonstrated in the concert hall. However, an audience member would probably favor

the performer if asked which is more important. After all, the performer is the one to face the

audience directly.

Most of the time, the success of a performance depends on the degree to which the

audience accepts the performance. Consequently, I would strongly suggest that the performer is

the dominant character, expanding Lester’s model. My suggestion only exists in one condition:

when the performer is playing the work on stage. After each performance, comments emerge

from the audience and music critics alike. Most of the time, this criticism is directed toward the

performer’s interpretation and techniques or the composition itself; no attention would be given

to the analysis or the analyst. The interpretation is attributed to the performer alone. Hardly

anyone would ask which theoretical model the performer chooses to present when interpreting

the work.

Most performers in the present time have had substantial training in theory as part of their

musical education. There are times, however, when contradictions between the performer and the

analyses might emerge. For example, in the first phrase of Piatti’s 12 Caprices, Op. 25, no. 1

(Figures 4.16 and 5.1), the D3 is the dominant note in g minor. Functionally, this note is the

starting point, scale degree 5 in g minor. However, this D3 is repeating six times per bar. In

addition, the D3 is an open string which produces much louder sound than other notes. In

practice, the performer should put more emphasis on the floating melodies rather than the D3.

William Rothstein, “Analysis and the Act of Performance,” in John S. Rink, ed., The Practice of
Performance: Studies in Musical Interpretation (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995), 237 – 38.

When performing, the performer should aim for the melody with heavier weight and play the D3

with very light touch. At this moment, the performer and the analyst would discuss the

differences, and then the performer should make a final decision. In the process, their interaction

concerns the practicability of the analysis during the performance. If they choose element A

rather than B, both of them need to think thoroughly about the stage effect from the audience’s

view as Rothstein mentioned before.

As Nolan claimed, the preparation for a performance must account for factors that cannot

be aided by analysis. Nolan does mention that one needs to consider the physical condition of the

performer. Other factors could also complicate the performance situation, such as the

performer’s mental and physical conditions, technical maturity as well as the performance venue.

Due to stage fright, the performer might loose muscular control physically as well as

concentration mentally. Sometimes the performer’s technique is simply inadequate to meet the

expectations of composer and analyst. If there are a lot of echoes on stage, the performer may

need to make the stroke shorter and the pianist may try to use less pedal. If the hall has poor

acoustics, the performer may need to raise the volume in order to project adequately. The

performer should take a great deal of consideration about these unexpected situations and to

come up with some alternative solutions. This ability to be flexible in performance, as well as

intimacy between analyst and performer, is the key to a good performance. Duties of both the

analyst and the performer are to translate the work into their own musical language and present

the audience with their view of the piece’s quintessence as investigated through analysis and


III. Examples.

The following examples introduced in Chapter Four offers suggestions as to how analysis

might relate to performance. Schenker remarked, “Every true work of art has but one true

performance…. The hand may not lie; it must follow the meaning of the voice-leading.” 14

Although my analysis mainly focuses on voice-leading based on Schenker’s theory, this does not

mean that it is the only way to exhibit a work. A good musician would express improvisatory

freedom and spontaneity in the performance.

a) Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9.

The first phrase (mm. 1 – 6) of Franchomme’s no. 9 reflects the sadness in the sailing

motion. The first two bars convey the thought of mystery about the life in the soft tonic. The next

four bars are like memories to recall this person’s life, including happiness and excitement in an

agitated mood, which ends in the forte dominant. The fermata on the rest immediately appears at

the end of the phrase, highlighting the tension. Since Franchomme was imitating Chopin’s style,

the music tended to have a lot of arpeggiations and decorative notes. Following the analysis, both

players should emphasize the main lines with intense vibrato on the left hand (Figures 4.3 and

4.2). In order to convey the dynamic changes in the opening statement, the first two bars should

be played near the fingerboard with flute-like strokes. Once it gets to m. 5 with crescendo and

agitato markings, the stroke needs to be short and to be played near the frog of the bow.

b) Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6.

It is necessary to set up the arpeggiated gestures in the opening of Piatti’s no. 6 by

emphasizing the long note, provided in Figure 4.3. This grounding enables the arpeggio and runs
Rothstein, “Analysis and the Act of Performance,” 217.

to be played fast and light with little effort. For the first phrase (mm. 1 – 7) can be subdivided

into three smaller units: 2 + 2 + 3. In each unit, the player should only emphasize on the starting

note and the highest note. From mm. 9 to 11, these runs are based on the same patterns. Although

they have the same value of the thirty-second notes, one should avoid playing them in its exact

rhythm. Instead, one should focus on the progression C4 (m. 9) – Db (m. 10) – D (m. 11) to the

primary tone Eb (m. 12). After it arrives on the downbeat of m. 12, other arpeggiations are like

decorations within the dominant harmony in A-flat major.

The relationship of “leading” and “following” lines in mm. 28 – 34 of Piatti no. 6

established a strong descending line with parallel sixths. (Figures 4.7 and 5.4) In order to show

this relationship, the “leads” which are the top notes in mm. 30 – 33 should be played more than

the “follows”. Since the “follows” comprise a sequence of four sixteenth notes with third

relationship, the player should only give emphasis to the first note per four-sixteenth notes. It is

the first note that forms a sixth with the “leads.” The pattern of sixteenth notes is just a muttering

effect underneath the primary melody. The dynamics of this descending line should correspond

to the harmonic progression as indicated in the music. The whole phrase should decrescendo as it

moves from dominant of m. 30 to tonic of m. 32, illustrated in Figure 5.4. It starts with Eb5 in

fortissimo, followed by the sequential sixths, and then the diminuendo begins on the gesture of

the complete higher neighboring motion, which occurs in the beginning of the phrase before. Not

only this diminuendo, but also rallantando (“becoming slower”) happens here to recall the same

motive and to articulate the resolution to the tonic.

c) Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1.

Dynamics should be used to show the Omnibus progression in mm. 3 – 4 of

Franchomme’s no. 1, provided in Figures 4.11 and 5.5. The tension of the Omnibus progression

should be maintained until the resolution in m. 5. During the Omnibus progression of mm. 3 – 4,

the player should bring out the harmonic changes with a crescendo and a decrescendo. The

Violoncello I repeats the first two beats of m. 3 for three times, whereas the Violoncello II does

the same thing. Following the original presentation, the next two times should be played as echos.

The third and fourth beats of m. 4 needs to be strong since they are a part of the Omnibus

progression; the fundamental F – F# – G ascending motion in the Violoncello II will be

announced not with accents but rather by a slight crescendo to the tonic G. The music does

contain a decrescendo in m. 4, but this does not necessarily require a decrescendo in dynamics.

Rather, it is a relief after the Omnibus progression. The player should express the tension less

and less when it gets to the end of Omnibus.

Since the “C” section (See Figures 4.11 and 5.6) is the most developmental, the

performer should consider how to make this climax special in terms of color and linear motion.

Contrasting dynamics should be used to highlight the modal mixture between mm. 23 – 24: forte

in m. 23 and piano in m. 24, in which the dynamic contrast demonstrates the brightness of G

major in m. 23 and the darkness of g minor in m. 24. The neighbor and main notes should be

elongated in mm. 25 – 28. During the transition between Bb and A# in m. 27, there is a sudden

piano marking on the third beat. One should move the bow near the fingerboard to make this

distinguished soft sound and keep piano for two and a half bars until m. 30. Within the crescendo

in m. 30, the Violoncello I should play the following notes heavier: G#2, B3 (beat 1), A2, C4

(beat 2), D3, B3 (beat 3), D3, A3 (beat 4), while the Violoncello II needs to emphasize on the

first two beats, because these notes represent the principal linear motions. Since Piatti mixed the

top voice and the bass together in the first violoncello part, it is important to understand the

direction of the harmonic progression. The downbeat of m. 31 is a big moment marked by the

arrival of a perfect authentic cadence.

d) Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, mm. 60 – 77.

With the ending of Piatti’s no. 1, I have always wanted to project the effect of a great

triumph to achieve the emphasis on the dominant in mm. 63 – 65 before the perfect authentic

cadence in mm. 65 – 66, shown in Figure 5.7. An understanding of the basic idea of compound

melodic structure has helped me to regulate that energy. Although D3 is the primary tone, it

repeats over and over in these three measures. Because D3 is an open string, it is very effortless

to produce. Due to these two reasons, the player should focus on the scale-like arpeggiations

with crescendo marking to express the dominant embellishments, while the D3 needs to be

played in a lighter weight. Also, an atmosphere of relief should be expressed in this cadence. By

lengthening the ascending line of mm. 69 – 70 (D2 – E2 – F#2 – G2), the performer can bring

out the perfect authentic cadence. The technical difficulty to this perfect authentic cadence is that

the performer has to play detaché stroke at the tip of bow for a period of time.

IV. Conclusion.

The relationship between analyst and performer must be viewed in light of the end goal:

executing an effective performance. The analysis is like a road map for the performer, giving

specific directions regarding harmony, phrasing, and other aspects of structure. These didactic

analyses offered by music theorists are often presented in technical language and by graphic

means. From the analytic findings, the performer gains insights into the music that may influence

the performance. It is the performer’s job to translate this “professional language” into particular

performance language and to integrate the analyses into the performance, as illustrated through

the examination of the caprices by Franchomme and Piatti. The process of discovery and

preparation of a committed interpretation is time-consuming and a challenge for the performer.

The analyst and the performer should share each other’s experiences, learn from each other, and

commit to the accomplishment of the performance. Then, the benefits of the analysis can be

maximized, enhancing their contribution to the actual performance or to a more nuanced

understanding of the work.

Figures of Chapter Five

 Figure 5.1: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, mm. 1 – 8.

 Figure 5.2: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9, mm. 1 – 6.

 Figure 5.3: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, mm. 1 – 7.

 Figure 5.4: Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6, mm. 27 – 34

 Figure 5.5: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, mm. 1 – 5.

 Figure 5.6: Franchomme, 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1, mm. 23 – 31.

 Figure 5.7: Piatti, 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1, mm. 60 – 77.


In the nineteenth century, the cantabile and virtuosic playing of the cello acquired

significant importance. Generations of romantic composers made use of the cello’s

unique capabilities, giving expression to melodic sonority and melancholy resignation.

Although Franchomme and Piatti are recognized today as the most distinguished cellists

in the nineteenth century, their reputation as composers has lagged far behind; most of

their works are rarely performed. But it is impossible to ignore Franchomme’s close

friendship with Chopin and his involvement in two of Chopin’s compositions by giving

technical advice and editing assistance to the cello parts: the Polonaise Brillante, Op. 3,

and his last major work, the Cello Sonata, Op. 65, both of which were dedicated to

Franchomme. The talent of Piatti inspired Mendelssohn to write a cello concerto,

although the manuscript was lost in the mail. On the basis of Piatti’s works, one can

assume that Piatti continued Franchomme’s path to develop more complicated cello


The two sets of 12 Caprices by Franchomme and Piatti (Op. 7 and Op. 25,

respectively) were both written for the purpose of cello pedagogy, and exhibit

complementary stylistic attributes. These two books demonstrate not only the evolution

of nineteenth-century cello technique, but also promote technical maturity in the cello

repertoire. Whereas Piatti’s etudes feature more demanding left- and right-hand

techniques such as high registers for the thumb position and more advanced bowing (i.e.

ricochet and martele), Franchomme’s etudes focus on the lower register and fingering

establishment, and less on bowing requirements.

Both masterworks exhibit many typical features of nineteenth-century music.

Franchomme’s writing is more like Chopin’s and Liszt’s, in terms of voice-leading and

harmonic third relationships. Piatti’s works present his more personal style, especially his

use of symmetry. Franchomme based his composition on voice-leading concerns,

whereas Piatti was more concerned with the technical side of cello performance. The 12

Caprices by Piatti are technically more demanding, and therefore have been better

received by more advanced cello players. The final chapter discussed the importance of

integrating analysis and performance, along with providing some examples on this topic.

As a performer, it is very important to absorb all the information contained in a

given work, including its analytical and historical background. In order to make a vivid

performance, a performer should not only overcome technical difficulties, but also

investigate the piece at a deeper level through different modes of analysis. One not only

has to master the cello techniques, but also understands the history and origins of each

technique. In this document, I have examined the differences between Franchomme’s and

Piatti’s compositional styles, and the demands of their cello techniques. Although these

two works are written only several decades apart, Piatti’s Caprices are clearly more

complex, illustrating the revolutionary technical developments of the cello in the

intervening years. The integration of analysis and performance provides a new

perspective for the performer and analyst alike. Nevertheless, my analyses based on

Schenker’s theory are just one way to present the music. I hope that these analyses might

stimulate players to think about music from different points of view.

The cello has a particularly fascinating and important place in every genre of

music. This document allows one to have a broader view on the history of cello

techniques and repertoires, and give more credit to these two works by Franchomme and

Piatti, as well as highlight their abilities as composers. Not only are these two works like

daily bread for cellists, but also their existence can be treated as concert repertoire in the

way of Chopin’s Etudes for Piano Solo, Op. 10 and Op. 25.


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Appendix (Music)

1) A. Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1.

2) A. Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9.

3) A. Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1.

4) A. Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6.

 Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 1.

 Franchomme: 12 Caprices, Op. 7, No. 9.

 Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 1.

 Piatti: 12 Caprices, Op. 25, No. 6.