A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Études

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ÉTUDES, studies, exercises, sonatas, caprices, lessons. The large number of works extant under these heads for pianoforte, violin, violoncello, and in sundry instances for other orchestral instruments, are in a large measure mere supplements to the respective instruction-books. They may be divided into two kinds—pieces contrived with a view to aid the student in mastering special mechanical difficulties pertaining to the technical treatment of his instrument, like the excellent pianoforte Études of Clementi and Cramer; and pieces wherein, over and above such an executive purpose, which is never lost sight of, some characteristic musical sentiment, poetical scene, or dramatic situation susceptible of musical interpretation or comment is depicted, as in certain of Moscheles' 'Characteristische Studien,' or the Études of Chopin, Liszt, or Alkan.

The distinction between these two classes of etudes closely resembles the difference recognised by painters between a tentative sketch for a figure, a group, or a landscape, which aims at rendering some poetical idea whilst attending particularly to the mechanical difficulties accruing from the task in hand, and a mere drawing after casts or from life with a view to practice and the attainment of manipulative facility.

An étude proper, be it only a mechanical exercise or a characteristic piece, is dintinguished from all other musical forms by the fact that it is invariably evolved from a single phrase or motif, be it of a harmonic or melodious character, upon which the changes are rung. Thus many of Bach's Preludes in the 'wohltemperirte Clavier,' and the like, could be called études without a misnomer.

The most valuable études for the pianoforte are the following:—

Inventions—à deuz et à trois parties.

Gradus ad Parnassum. Préludes et exercises dans tous les tons.
Toccata in B♭

100 Etudes.

24 Studien, Op. 70. Characteristiche Studien, Op. 95.

12 grandes Etudes. Op. 10.
12 Etudes. Op. 25.
Trois Etudes.
24 Preludes.
Prelude in C♯ minor.

12 Etudes de concert. Op. 2.
12 Etudes de salon. Op. 5.

12 Etudes.

Grandes Etudes da Paganini, transcrites, etc.
Etudes d'execution transcendante.
Ab-Irato. Etude de perfectionnement.
Trois grandes Etudes de concert.
Zwei Etudien—Waldesrauschen; Gnomentanz.

12 Etudes.
12 Grandes Etudes.
Etude pour la main gauche.
  " " " " droite.
  " " " " les deux mains.

6 Etudes.
Zwei Etuden.

Besides these there exists an enormous number of études with comparatively little educational and less artistic value, which are for the most part written to the order of publishers, from whose shops they find their way to the schoolrooms and salons of amateurs; such are those by Czerny, Steibelt, Hummel, Kessler, Bertini, Mayer, Döhler, Schulhof, Ravina, etc.

[ E. D. ]

Of Etudes for the Violin, the following four works are considered as indispensable for the formation of a good technique and correct style, by the masters of all schools of violin-playing:—

   R. Kreutzer, 40 Etudes or Caprices.
   Fiorillo, Etude de Violon, formant 36 caprices.
   P. Rode, Vingt-quatre Caprices.
   N. Paganini, 24 Caprices, op. 1.

to which may be added Gaviniés' 'Vingtquatre matinées.'

Of more modern études, those of Dont, Ferd. David, Alard, and Wieniawsky, are amongst the most valuable. The violin-schools of Spohr, Ries, and others, also contain a great many useful études. Some movements from Bach's Solo Sonatas, such as the well-known Prelude in E major, fall under the same category.

[ P. D. ]