Studies and Technique Books

August 11, 2016 at 01:26 AM · I was just wondering out of curiosity, what studies and technique books have you all gone through, and in what order? Which ones did you find the most important and helpful in developing technique, and in what aspect exactly? Here is a list of studies and technique books that I own and have done or plan on doing later on (not especially in this order):

-Wohlfart 60 studies

-Schradiek School of violin technics books 1 & 3

-Trott Melodious double stops

-Geringas 30 shifting studies

-Sevcik Opus 1 & 8

-Galamian Scale book 1

-Frederick Harris Complete scale book

-Dont Opus 37 & 35

-Kreutzer 42 studies

-Rode 24 caprice

-Mazas 75 studies book 1-3

-Fiorillo 36 caprice

-Paganini 24 caprice

I have heard good things about Gavinies 24 studies and Ruggiero Ricci Left hand violin technique, but have yet to buy them, is it worth it? (I also know about showoffs like Wieniawski caprice, but for now I tend to stay away from that and Paganini like the plague, I just don't see any benefit from it if there is any)

Though I have gone through most, I guess I still have quite a while to go before confidently jumping into superhuman concertos. I am entering my last year of high school, planning to take a gap year before auditioning for university.

Feel free to add on to the list and recommend some more, because while musicality may be there, my technique has to improve as fast as possible, and a lot of practicing studies seem to be the way to go... (Perhaps at the price of my sanity)

Replies (20)

August 11, 2016 at 01:55 AM · It's a grand adventure to plow through all those etude books. I like etudes, sometimes that's my favorite thing to practice.

If you are preparing for a university audition, I think the usual thing is to have your teacher help you identify those specific studies that will develop the areas of technique where you may be weak or where you need to support your repertoire work. There are too many otherwise and much of your effort may be wasted.

August 11, 2016 at 02:09 AM · The Gavinies book is awesome but tough. I spent much of my later etude life in that book, Kreutzer, some Paganini caprices and the Wieniawski caprices. Don't write off the Wieniawski as all showy stuff. In addition to the regular caprices I worked on his caprice duets as well. There is some very worthy and beautiful music in there.

August 11, 2016 at 02:10 AM · Which of these have you done already?

August 11, 2016 at 02:26 AM · Oh I used to hate etudes back when I didn't understand the importance! Now I find myself wanting more to gain more technique in order to play technically well, so I am actually starting to enjoy the journey!

Regarding which I have practiced, that's kind of a hard question. I would rather not say that I am "done" since I'm never really quite done... For some, though I have gone through, I still pick them back up to practice, so I'm not to sure what to say...

Well so far I've gone through Wohlfart, Schradiek (still using sometimes), Trott, Geringas, Sevcik 1 & 8 (still using 8 sometimes), Dont 37, Fiorillo, and Frederick Harris Scales. I am always working on all of Kreutzer (all hail the violin bible!) & Galamian, and am almost through Dont 35. I will be starting Rode later, but havent touched Mazas or especially Paganini (that one is a big NOPE from me.)

I Dont think I've ever heard of Dounis...

By the way, one more question, does anyone ever skip a few studies when going through the books? (I mean eventually, much later you would maybe go back on your own to check them out) Or did you have to go through them one by one?

August 11, 2016 at 05:18 AM · Mazas is normally done before Kreutzer. There's no reason to bother with Mazas if you've worked through Kreutzer.

Your order is weird. Dont op. 35 is substantially more difficult than Kreutzer. Rode is kind of parallel to Dont op. 35 (somewhat easier, in my opinion); Gavinies is on a similar level. The next step up in difficulty is Wieniawski's Ecole Moderne.

Paganini Caprices are their own bible for virtuosic technique. That's the benefit of playing them.

Once you've done Kreutzer and Dont op. 35 (it's not necessary to do every etude, it depends on your existing strengths and weaknesses), you should be able to play most repertoire.

August 11, 2016 at 09:15 AM · I actually find much of Mazas book 2 to be more difficult than Kreutzer. I don't have book 3 Mazas.

Dont 37 simultaneously with Kreutzer is what I'm currently doing and they work well together. Next up is Rode, and then I'm pretty sure Gavinies then Dont 35. Then a happy dance and then Wieniawski and Paganini.

August 11, 2016 at 10:24 AM · Mazas book 3 is tough.

August 11, 2016 at 03:25 PM · I've never bothered with Mazas since well number one, I have all 3 books combined in one, so it is pretty discouraging just to look at, and second, there doesn't seem to be much that isn't already included in the other study books such as Dont, Fiorillo and Rode...

Lydia, the reason my order seems kind of weird is because I actually started Kreutzer before Dont 35. We just decided to work slowly through the Kreutzer, while we just went a bit quicker and skipped a few studies with Dont 35. I also find many of later studies in Kreutzer equally, if not harder than Dont. I still work on various Kreutzer studies everyday, while for Dont, when I have gone through a study, I usually leave it at that. Is this a bad approach? I actually think it works quite well for me...

August 11, 2016 at 06:30 PM · Kreutzer is everyone's favorite fundamental-technique etude book, I think.

I've always learned etudes by skipping through the book; all of my teachers have assigned etudes out of multiple books. I have also always hated playing them; I much prefer isolated exercises (Sevcik, Simon Fischer, etc.) that allow me to focus intensively on just one thing.

August 11, 2016 at 10:32 PM · Wow I didn't know there were more Mazas books. I like Mazas studies pretty well even though musically they are rather trite. I'm going to order them now. I'm working on Kreutzer 35, 36, and 37. Trying to improve my facility with double stops.

August 12, 2016 at 01:31 AM · Yes Kreutzer works quite well for that! (For anything really, which is why I love it so much) To my knowledge, the 3 Mazas books add up to 75 studies... so good luck with that, and happy studying! On my side, I think I'll drop Mazas and keep my focus on Dont and Rode. I don't seem to get motivated by studies that are not, well, melodious enough...

So according to the responses I am getting, Gavinies is a yes, so I'll make sure to check it out later. What about the left hand technique book by Ruggerio Ricci? Anyone know of it?

I was also wondering what order did you all work on those study books?

August 12, 2016 at 02:04 AM · This is come up before, you can search for threads ... for instance ...

August 12, 2016 at 02:35 AM · The order is semi-standard. Wolfhart, Mazas, Kreutzer (and for me, Dont op. 37 simultaneously), Dont op. 35, Paganini. Because I stopped playing for a long time, I ended up doing other etude books upon coming back to the violin -- Rode, Gavinies, Wieniawski Ecole Moderne.

August 12, 2016 at 09:20 PM · After my last lesson it's pretty clear I need to do more Schradieck -- and the irony is that this was determined while I was playing a Kreutzer etude for my teacher!

August 12, 2016 at 11:22 PM · Paul, could you elaborate?

Which kreutzer, and why specifically Shradieck?

August 13, 2016 at 10:46 PM · I don't mean to hijack the thread if I am, but my question is similar to the topic. I picked up up the wohlfahrt 60 studies book at a used book store a bit ago just because it was $2 so why not. I was wondering if anyone that has gone through it found it as an effective supplement to work through?

September 6, 2016 at 12:37 AM · For many students, Wolfhart is their first etude book. Etudes should be taught to you by your teacher.

September 6, 2016 at 12:59 AM · KD it's K35 and there were a couple of passages that weren't clean and it was because my finger-lifting was kind of lethargic.

September 6, 2016 at 11:39 PM · The dose makes the toxin.

If you went through all of Schradieck and Sevcik repeatedly you should be braindead already :D

Though in a good dose, they are some of the most efficient technical exercises.

I like Kreutzer very much for them being straight forward and very specific. Though Rode and Dont are much more interesting musically (and partly more complex technically). Paganini I wouldn't call etudes exactly, their purpose lies in themselfes. I would second what Lydia said, that when one is fond of kreutzer and dont, you are very much good to go for most repertoire. Scales always being the spice in the soup.

Its funny, the more I teach violin I start to wonder if all those "technique" exercises is a waste of time though. Mostly students are limited by their lack of theoretical, harmonic, melodic and rhythmical knowledge. Once you have those basics in your head, you just need to bow staight and listen carefully to yourself. And before you don(')t develope a musical mind and good ear, all technical exercise will be casting pearls bofore swine as we say.

After all its about how you play the etudes, sometimes its better to stick to 3-5 basic etudes and cycle betweeen them over the months constantly improving details. I heard many etudes played ineffectively in my life! A good teacher is mandatory.

Adding to the list of books:

Enrico Polo- 30 double stop etudes - The first 10 or so etudes lay a good foundation on double stop playing.

September 7, 2016 at 06:12 AM · With younger students I like doing the Kayser 36 and the Trott Melodious Double Stops Book 1&2 before moving on to Kreutzer. Despite working through them as a kid, I've never been a fan of Mazas or Wohlfahrt.

The main concepts from Yost, Schradiek, and Sevcik are incredibly valuable and I introduce bits and pieces from the very beginning...but I think it is better to teach the concepts and have students develop their own exercises (with some logical prodding along the way) instead of going through the books themselves. After all, going through the motions without actually understanding their goals isn't helpful. In my lessons I end up writing a lot of different short exercises for my students depending on their needs, and a number of them are direct quotations from these three.

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