Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Marcos Machado

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Alexander Russakovsky

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Hsiaopei Lee

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Christopher Goertzen

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 5 Department



Isaia Billè was an Italian virtuoso double bassist as well as a great pedagogue who left one of the most extensive collections of compositions and pedagogical materials for the double bass. The 24 Studies-Caprices is a set of studies that can be considered a valuable part of the double bass repertoire for the challenging technique and valuable musical content. Unfortunately, the caprices were abandoned by contemporary double bassists due to outdated notation which is based in suono reale, where all the notes are written in the actual register they sound. Contemporary double bass players currently are used to reading notes an octave higher than they actually sound, a notation that facilitates the reading of notes, especially the ones below the staff, using treble clef. For this reason, the repertoire for double bass written in old notation of actual pitch sound has been abandoned because double bassists are not used to reading in that way. That is the case of Isaia Billè’s 24 Studies-Caprices.

This dissertation describes the importance of Billè’s 24 Studies-Caprices for double bass and the steps used to transpose and adjust to the contemporary notation for double bass. For that, four caprices were chosen to exemplify the process that will be used in all the 24 Studies-Caprices, which aims to result in a future publication of the entire work. Many sources were used in the re-edition which include the actual manuscript, the edition by Ricordi and its many reprints, some of Billè’s handmade corrections in the first edition, an arrangement for double bass and piano, and edited caprice no. 3 by Francesco Petracchi. By comparing sources and transposing and adjusting clefs, a final edition of four of the caprices is presented in this research. By using this technique, it is believed that the 24 Studies-Caprices by Isaia Billè can be reintroduced to contemporary bassists and lead to these caprices becoming an important and standard part of the double bass repertoire.