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Frederic Chopin was born on this day in 1810

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ETUDE (AY-tood)

A short musical composition designed to provide practice
Common
clues: Chopin work; Pianist's practice work; Recital piece; Musical exercise; Piece that teaches technique; Chopin's “Revolutionary,” for one
Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year
Video:
Mei-ting Sun Chopin Etudes Op10 nos 1 2 4 5


Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. – Frederic Chopin


An etude (from the French word étude meaning "study") is a short musical composition designed to provide practice in a particular technical skill in the performance of a solo instrument. For example, Frederic Chopin's etude Op. 25 No. 6 trains pianists to play rapid parallel chromatic thirds, Op. 25 No. 7 emphasizes the production of singing tone in a melody, and Op. 25 No. 10 covers parallel octaves.




Musical studies have been composed since the 18th century, most notably by Carl Czerny, but it was Chopin who transformed the etude into an important musical genre. Chopin wrote 24 etudes in two sets of 12 etudes each (Op. 10, Op. 25), plus three more, for a total of 27. Other noted composers of etudes are Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Etudes for other instruments have been written as well, for example Rodolphe Kreutzer's etudes for the violin.

Chopin's etudes tend to stress a specific aspect of performance difficulty; Liszt's etudes tend to stress mastery of performance as a whole.

The etudes that are most widely admired are those which transcend their practical function and come to be appreciated simply as music. For example, Chopin's etudes are considered not just technically difficult, but also musically very powerful and expressive. In contrast, Czerny's are only technically difficult. Thus Chopin's etudes are continually performed before appreciative audiences, whereas Czerny's are confined to the practice room.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Etude".