The Étude ( Study ) Page for Violin

This list suggests the order of study / difficulty

Here is my List of favourite studies. The comments made for each set of studies provides some insight to their nature and also places them in context. The studies marked with a +are the essential Études that I like my pupils to learn.

This page was updated Feb 2 1998 - File Version 0.01 RDJH © 1998

Dancla : ( Ricordi ) 36 Easiest Melodic Studies Op.84. + These are the very first book of studies I give a student. I find at least a year's preparation is necessary before starting these studies. The styles and techniques needed to play these studies require the utmost purity and simplicity in execution. The purity and evenness of sound and the need to keep the tone sustained and unspoiled require the student to maximize their bowing skills. The Cantabile line and concept throughout these studies demand even and fluent bowing and careful execution from all violinists whatever their caliber. Pieces are often preceded with elementary détaché scales in the relevant key or preliminary exercises for the study. Smooth string crossing, Whole bow legato, French style up bow staccato, saltellato, slurred arpeggios and towards the end position changing studies and operatic arias with variations are introduced.
Wohlfahrt ( Augener Edition ) 60 Studies Op.45 Bk I / Bk II + These studies, very similar in difficulty and nature to those of Kayser help the student build a basic knowledge of détaché and mixed bowings ( in the middle of the bow ) and elementary left hand techniques, such as left hand ( on the string ) preparation. After the first 7 studies ( to be played using the middle of the bow ) whole bow legato studies are introduced ( for lighter left hand passage work, and whole bow distribution ). Mixed bowings ( always passing through the middle ) are continued, and elementary bowing strokes such as up bow staccato ( on the string ) , and marcato are tackled. Détaché in triplets are used more commonly. Book 1 is all in 1st position. Book 2 starts in 3rd position, moving on to the traditional 1st - 3rd position change studies.
Wohlfahrt ( Peters ) 40 Elementary Studies Op.54 + Provide further variety and bowing combinations. Among the usual détaché numbers there are more legato studies here, with more dotted rhythms, including a study in Mazurka style. These studies, while commendable in their attempt to impart a balanced bowing technique, firmly alla corda, are best complemented with studies of the lighter and more adventurous bowing of the French School.
Kayser ( IMC ) 36 Elementary and Progressive Studies Op.20. + These studies establish a solid Germanic style. Most Études concentrate on détaché, Legato and overall a reliable right hand technique that compliments the French School. This style could be considered an elementary or initial preparation for Solo Bach.
Mazas ( Peters, IMC ) Op36/1 Études Spéciales. + Mazas produced 3 sets of studies which are progressive in difficulty. These études contain some of the most stylish and violinistic writing in all violin literature. They are indispensable to every violinists journey in mastering his / her instrument.
Kreutzer ( IMC ) 42 Études. + The Violinists Bible. Even Wieniawski, when caught studying them, replied " one does not realize how difficult they really are ". These studies span a vast range of difficulty, but are not set out in order of difficulty. Usually they are classified into 3 sections : Simple / Trill / Double stop études. They contain an extremely comprehensive set of contrasting techniques combining the best of the French and German Schools.
Fiorillo ( IMC ) 36 Études or Caprices. + Although the Italian school does not equal the German or French Schools in quantity and in educational value, these studies provide a preview of the styles of Locatelli and Paganini. It is by no means important to master as many of these studies as it is to master the Rode, for example.
Rode ( IMC ) 24 Caprices + These studies are considered indispensable. Leonid Kogan describes how every violinist in Russia is required to study these études thoroughly. Continuing much in the same style as Dancla, Rode's search for beautiful and refined sound permeates these studies. You can read a study guide to caprice number 8 here.
Dancla ( Russian Ed. ) Op 73 Études These studies are not as widely used or known as the Rode, Kreutzer or Gavinées. However they are in much the same style, and therefore are invaluable in developing a refined and polished technique of both hands. From this music we can tell how masterful The French school of violin playing had become in Dancla's time
Gavinées ( IMC ) 24 Matinées. + 24 "Morning" studies covering advanced right hand string crossing and advanced left hand structure, such as the combined finger pattern of sixths and tenths. These studies were written quite early in the life of Gavinées ( 23 yrs old ). They are remarkably advanced for their time.
DeBériot ( Schirmer ) Op.123 The first 30 Concert Studies. + From 60 Concert Studies, these pieces are greatly valued as essential stepping-stones to the acquirement of higher technique. The ability to play technical passage work with the same expressive qualities that would be given to a melodic line was considered, according to DeBériot, the hallmark of a true artist. Until these studies can be played with all these essential elements of expression, they can not be considered thoroughly mastered. ( Applies to all studies ! )
Dont ( IMC ) Op.35 Études and Caprices. + Dont's studies comprised the most advanced technical material in the time of Auer. Right hand chord playing and left hand extensions are major features of these works.
Wieniawski ( Peters ) Op.10 École Moderne. + These highly playable, even if advanced studies are in the French School tradition. At any rate their approach is based traditional methods. All of the unconventional finger extensions and abnormalities of Paganini's technique are totally absent, making these études the last stage in compulsory studies for the performer.
Paganini 24 Caprices These pieces are not really studies. No violinist should build his technique on them, rather should approach them armed with a polished traditional technique, built from all the previous études. The "Artist" who is lucky enough to tackle and master these ingenious musical compositions will have full musical command of his instrument. Some of the unconventional extensions within prohibited violinists with small hands ( such as Sarasate ) from studying them. Though these pieces are becoming more frequently tackled by the "average" violinist, they are not a requirement when auditioning for even good quality orchestras.
Ernst These studies provide further insight into technique of post-Paganini difficulty. There exists a considerable amount of material of extremely complex standard for violinists and for which these studies provide a suitable preparation.



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Last modified: January 31, 2001