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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Which are your favorite etudes?

April 4, 2009 at 3:07 AM

I must confess, I never much liked etudes.

Nor did I dislike them; I just learned them with the same kind of interest I associate with multiplication tables and algebra. Interesting? Certainly, in that left-brained, analytical way. Rewarding, too, when you see the pattern and get it right.


Er. Often times, not so much. But I'm reminded of math again: if you can master your tables, you will be rewarded when you get to higher math. Etude mastery gives you the technical tools to apply when you get to the "real music."

If you had to pick one set of etudes, which are your favorite, and why? Which gave you the best foundation? Which best keep your chops going post-teacher? Which help your students best? Which are simply fun to play? Please share your thoughts on various etudes, which you feel are best, and why.

From Adam Clifford
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 3:43 AM

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 3:56 AM

To me, "musical" just means interesting to listen to, for whatever reason.  To me that depends a lot more on who's playing and how they're playing than on what's on the page, even if what's on the page is an etude.  Could be interesting to have a thread trying to define "musical."

From Anne Horvath
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 4:07 AM

I really like the Wieniawski Etudes-Caprices, Op. 18.  I still practice Kreutzer every day!  And I am working on Pag 9.  Fun stuff. 

I teach Whistler, Wohlfarht, Kayser, Mazas, easier Dont, and Kreutzer.  Most of my students really like Mazas. 

But Sitt...ZZZ

(insert smiley face here)

From Bart Meijer
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 8:56 AM

If there is one etude composer whom I have a lot to thank for, it's Kreutzer. My second teacher, Josef Hampl, started me on number 2 in the first lesson, and in six years taught me the whole book.

Edit: to be honest, I voted for Gaviniès, because that is what I'm practicing at the moment.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 11:01 AM

Kreutzer is my security blanket.  Rode is more "musical".   And I keep Paganini filed away like a good wine, hoping it'll get better with age.

From Royce Faina
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 12:54 PM

I do not have Kreutzer's ettudes.  I did down load a free-bee and have heard alot here at V-dot-com and would like to order the Kreutzer's ettude book.

Not listed, is Schradieck, and so far he's my hero!  I like Wohlfahrt also.


From Deborah McCann
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 1:11 PM
I can't say why, but I never warmed up to Kretzer. I will go to Fiorillo if that is all I have time for, but alternate with Dont and Rode. Almost always start students with easy Wolfhart. I do and have used all - depends on the student.
From Don Roth
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 1:32 PM

I do not really have a favorite etude book but yet I always have 2 or 3 etude books on the music stand.   I choose different etudes for content such as key signature, bow technique, position, etc.  The idea is to target weaknesses.   I have a lot of respect for "too easy" etudes until I can say that I have really mastered them.   "Almost" doesn't count !

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Is there really a study book that is no good?  But for someone who lacks time, maybe Kreutzer would be a very good choice even if they are good ones in many books!


From Michelle Guthrie
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 4:51 PM

SEVCIK!!!...(Kreutzer is great, too:)

From Ray Randall
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Polo doublestop etudes are terrific.

From Belén Hernández
Posted on April 4, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Also ENRICO POLO and CARL FLESCH ... They're missing in the list!! They are great...Flesch scales

From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on April 5, 2009 at 2:52 AM

 It was hard to pick, since I generally dislike etudes, haha. But the most enjoyable ones I've played so far are the Rode. I started Gavinies last year and did not like them very much; they should be subtitled 'how many ways can you play 16th notes?'. ;)

From Laurie Niles
Posted on April 5, 2009 at 6:09 AM

I just couldn't include Schradieck, it seems more like a scalebook, but I suppose it's also got some etude-y stuff in there, too! Flesch also seemed a little to scale-y to be in the etude category, but I'm glad you guys mentioned these books. I voted for Dont Op. 35 ( yes I Did ;) because I'm currently enjoying going back to it.

Now, Polo, someone fill me in on Polo!

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on April 5, 2009 at 12:30 PM

The Fiorillo etudes that I'm doing now are nice and surprisingly (!) musical.  But I voted for Wohlfahrt because they were etudes that I could just pick up on my own and start doing when I started playing an instrument again in preparation for getting a teacher.  They brought back technique that had been dormant for years.

I actually like etudes because they're generally short and if you have limited practice time you and/or your teacher can pick out 2 lines of one to work on intensively for 10-15 minutes a day and feel like you've accomplished something for the week. 

From stephen kelley
Posted on April 5, 2009 at 4:53 PM

I was fortunate to be introduced to etudes by Dancla. I always follow them with Paganini and Bach. (I swore off Sevcik forever.)

From BJ Berman
Posted on April 5, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Hey, Guys and Dolls, do I have a treat for you.

Look up deBeriot's The First 30 Concert Etudes. For beauty and musical satisfaction with advanced technique, they're the greatest. Schirmer's, and with notes by the great English teacher Harold Berkley. Have a blast!!

Be sure to read his preface, too. He always had a great understanding of how to use etudes to develop great ease and elegance in your playing. He wrote at one time for the Etude Magazine, the Musicians Union mag which included some real and detailed developmental material for various instruments at different levels, including for the pros. He was at that time teaching at Juillard.

Also with Schirmer's his Rode, Dont, and Paganini.


From Matt Molloy
Posted on April 5, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Hi All,

I voted for Wohlfahrt as I've just started on them and am enjoying them (I've only been playing a year and am still getting used to the idea that the instrument doesn't go on my lap, doesn't have frets and needs to be played with this piece of wood and horse hair in my right hand).

That having been said, I like the look of Kreutzer (but too scary for me at the moment) and adore Paganini (one day, maybe when I'm three hundred and forty :-p ).



From Stephen Brivati
Posted on April 6, 2009 at 10:00 PM


I think there isan imnportnat distinction between exercises such as Scradieck and Dounis;   etudes and caprices.   They all serve slightly idffenret fucntions.    So perosnally I would find it hard to classify the Paginini for example ,  with kreutzer.   Favorite i8s quite an interesitng question but can`t say in terms of teaching material because the best known books havce rather diffenret functions.   The Dont takes one into a very advanced level of `big playing` (for want of a better word) that for all their greatness the Kreutzer don`t quite reach.  The supposedly easy pre-Kreuter Dont is a masterwork that shoudl be used much more widely.  Tehre are also 12 etudes by Rode other than his best known set which are,  in my opinion equally as good.  Someone also mentioned the advanced Dancla etudes which are comparable with Rode and Kreutzer.  There is an eary Dancla book that is a good alternative to Wohlfart and Kasyser.Polo is a set of very charming double stop studies that quickly become rather difficult and could be use dfor a lifetime.   The Masaz etude sin their entirety would make a more or les scompete school of violin playing.  Beautifu;l music.On a personal note I find wolfarhts material inifnitely more musical and enjoyable than Kayser.  If one has mastered the early wolfraht books I don`t think the latter is particlarly necessary.  



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