The Caprice

A capriccio or caprice (sometimes plural: caprices, capri or, in Italian, capricci), is usually a lively style of music, typically with a free form and structure. The music is fast, intense and often virtuosic.

The term was first used in 1561 by the Franco-Flemish composer Jacquet de Berchem, who applied it to a set of madrigals. Through the 16th and 17th centuries the term was used for madrigals, vocal music and for strictly instrumental music, in particular keyboard music.

Matteo Carcassi's Caprice

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Over time the term Caprice has been use for a variety of works :

  • In the Baroque era often it was employed for short keyboard pieces such as those by Girolamo Frescobaldi.
  • The C minor Partita BWV 826 by Johann Sebastian Bach ends in a Capriccio, this contrapuntal piece is centered around a lively, humorous subject.
  • The Italian Niccolò Paganini composed a set of 24 capricci which are virtuoso violin works, while his friend Luigi Legnani similarly named his 24 guitar pieces as capricci.
  • As far as the orchestral genre goes Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov both wrote using the style in their Capriccio Italien and Capriccio espagnol respectively.
  • Johannes Brahms contributed many piano capricci all of which are considered to be among the most thoughtful and unusual works of the Late Romantic period.
  • A concerto-like Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saëns was written for violin and orchestra.
  • The frenchman Napoleon Coste wrote a fine example of the caprice in his Grand Caprice Opus 11, for guitar.

Find your favourite
Caprice Sheetmusic at this page!

Other Musical form sheetmusic :

Caprice media files

Caprice No. 7
performed by
Bojan Ivanovski

Caprice No. 5
performed by Shlomo Mintz

Caprice op. 76 no. 2
performed by
Arthur Rubinstein

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