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#1081438 - 12/27/08 01:53 AM etudes?
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Greetings from yet another newbie. I haven't played since I was fired by my piano teacher at age 12.... but I got a minimalist DP for Christmas, and am ready give it a serous try and see if I take to it.

I've been checking out the Keith Snell series of graded piano repertoire, and keep noticing the books of etudes and wondering, just what is an etude?

A study... but what does that mean? It sounds nutritious, like music that's good for you, making your fingers get smarter... but perhaps also sounds like something that might be designed to be annoying, cleverly tricking clumsy fingers into stumbles.

Are etudes more musical than than finger exercises?
Less musical than tunes with a more musical names?

What is Hanon? is that etudes, or more of drills? And what about Czerny?

I vaguely remember my childhood piano teacher making my do Czerny, which seemed kind of grown up at first but turned out to be frustrating, and not at all the kind of bouncy kiddie muzak I enjoyed grooving out on back then.
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#1081439 - 12/27/08 02:12 AM Re: etudes?
xtraheat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
Etudes are pieces written to focus on a difficult technical ability. For example, Chopin's op.25 no.6 has the right hand written completely in thirds, so the performer can single out that one technical ability. Czerny definitely wrote etudes, and I guess you could say that Hanon did as well. However, some composers, such as Liszt and Alkan, wrote Etudes that did not necassarily focus on any specific ability (although some of them do). Etude means study in french
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#1081440 - 12/27/08 02:26 AM Re: etudes?
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Hi tangleweeds,

Welcome to the forums.

xtraheat has made some pretty good points on etudes.

IMO, Hanon is more of a technical exercise (or finger exercise or drill), as is Alloys Schmitt's exercise book, or the technical exercises books of Liszt.

I guess the difference between etudes and pieces depends on your teacher or the publisher of the book. Burgmuller opus 100 pieces, for example, I would generally consider to be etudes, but Keith Snell includes many of them in the Romantic & 20th Century books (as well as many in the etudes book).

I'm working through the Keith Snell books myself, and I generally find that the pieces in the Etudes books are easier than the ones in the Baroque & Classical and Romantic & 20th Century books.

Rich
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#1081441 - 12/27/08 11:17 AM Re: etudes?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
my teacher talked to me about Czerny, since i rarely do scales and arpeggios and therefore weak in playing such passages, but i never took his words seriously. but lately, i'm thinking about doing a few of them and maybe some others, just to see if it would help with my techniques.

eventually, you may need to play some Chopin etudes, which has both musical and technical value.

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#1081442 - 12/27/08 02:59 PM Re: etudes?
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
OK, so I will use my newbie perogative to ask, what exactly does "technique" or "tecnical" (or "technic") refer to?

From the context I've seen, it seems to refer to cultivating the ability to get your fingers to move where you need them when you need them to... developing finger dexterity? or is that a different thing?

Or does it also mean getting the right fingerings on stuff like scales and arpeggios?
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#1081443 - 12/28/08 01:56 PM Re: etudes?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
The word "etude" can have several meanings
in the context of piano playing. Generally,
it describes something that is more
musical then scales and less musical
then actual pieces. Probably the most
useful kind of etude is one that you
would do prior to starting on an actual
piece of music. Such an etude would be
based on the content of the piece and
would have certain technical passages
that would tend to give you problems
in the piece. But such etudes are rare
as they would have to be carefully
constructed in order to be really useful.

Thus, what is more common are collections
of etudes gathered into single book
and representing typical technical
problems that one encounters in playing.
But these are much less useful than
the type decribed above because they
no longer apply to a specific piece.

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#1081444 - 12/28/08 05:51 PM Re: etudes?
Euphonatrix Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/06
Posts: 518
Loc: Hessen, Germany
Hi tangleweeds and welcome,
you sum it up pretty nicely:

 Quote:

From the context I've seen, it seems to refer to cultivating the ability to get your fingers to move where you need them when you need them to... developing finger dexterity? or is that a different thing?

Or does it also mean getting the right fingerings on stuff like scales and arpeggios?
[/b]
All of this can be the aim of an etude/study/drill exercise ...

I'd like to add that sometimes "study" also refers not to studying a technical aspect of music but explores a musical idea at the same time. "Study on thirds" might mean that the composer wanted to try how much of music he could make out of thirds.
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