Paganini's Caprice

Tristan Jehan
(music, software, sound analysis/processing)
Mary Farbood
(music, software, music analysis/harmonization)
Diana Young
Joshua Bell
(music, performance)
Tod Machover

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840) was one of the first great violin virtuosi, and his pieces composed for solo violin seemed almost impossible to perform (making some think of Paganini as a "magician" or "devil") when first composed. Now, 150 years later, they still provide considerable challenges to even the world's greatest fiddlers. Paganini's Caprices are among the most spectacular of all his works, and the 24th Caprice is perhaps the best known of the set. It is a series of variations on a short theme, and covers a wide expressive range in its short duration. With Joshua Bell, we decided to create a transcription of the 24th Caprice to show off some of the potential of our new Hyperviolin techniques. Using only an acoustic violin (Bell's Stradivarius), a microphone, and a couple of foot pedals for additional controls, Bell's playing is turned into a swirling spiral of violin sounds, doubling or tripling his sound, harmonizing the melody or delicately reinforcing or modifying his timbre, all under his expressive control.


Joshua Bell playing the finale in Glasgow (11.4 Mb)


More details on the performances