Here is my List of the most important studies
for violin. 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 list
also suggests the order
of study / difficulty
This page was updated April
2012 - File Version 0.091 Wps © 2012
Wohlfahrt : Op 38 - Easiest Elementary Studies
Dancla : Op 84 - 36 Easiest Melodic Studies
Wohlfahrt : Op 45 -
60 Studies / Wohlfahrt : Op 54 - 40 Elementary Studies
: Op 68 - Fifteen Studies for Violin
Sitt : 50 Daily Exercises /
Kayser : Op 20 - 36 Elementary and Progressive Studies
Mazas : Op 36 1/2/3 - Special / Brilliant / Artists Studies
Sitt : Op 32 100 Studies / Bk 1-5
Fiorillo : 36 Caprices /
Kreutzer : 19 Caprices /
Campagnoli : 7 Divertimenti
Dont : Op 37 - Preparatory Studies /
Kreutzer : 42 Studies /
Rode : 24 Caprices
Dancla : Op 73 Studies /
Gavinées : 24 Matinees /
DeBériot : First 30 Concert Studies
Dont : Op 35 Studies /
Wieniawski : Op 10 École Moderne /
Paganini : 24 Caprices
Ernst : 6 Polyphonic Studies
Wohlfahrt : Foundation
Studies Vol.1 ordered by Aiquoni
- Wohlfahrt (Schirmer)
Op.38 Easiest Elementary Studies. + As the
preface of this edition explains, this is a method designed exclusively for
beginners. It's the first book of studies I give a student. Its virtues lie with the simplicity of the exercises, the
shortness, and the gradual building up of difficulty. Immediate use of the
main finger patterns for all four strings in the key of C major is the
starting point. Even note values (I recommend a slow tempo almost all the
time) ensure the student uses the whole bow from heel to tip, and develops an
even, beautiful sound across the whole range of violin notes in first
position. This method runs from UK Abrsm Grades 0 up to approx. Grade 4. The
book is written in duet format for Pupil / Teacher. Highly recommended.
- Dancla : (Ricordi)
Easiest Melodic Studies Op.84.
+ These are some of 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 calibre. 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
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. There is a study
dedicated exclusively to second position.
- Wohlfahrt ( Peters )
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.
- Dancla 15 Studies for Violin Op.68 (download the complete pdf from Petrucci Music library here publ. Jean White
with 2nd violin accompaniment). Contain shifts into 3rd and 5th positions.
Very pure melodic studies which require a high level of purity in technique.
mostly into 3rd position, but some 5th also included and some
simple harmonics. A small minority of passages contain 2nd, 4th and
6th position, and in one study ends in 9th position. Highly recommended
for someone wanting to gain some experience shifting and getting to know
some fingerboard geography.
- Sitt 50 Daily Exercises
Good left hand mechanical finger exercises for even
- 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 (
IMC ) 75 Melodious
and Progressive Studies Op 36
Op 36/1 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. They combine elegance in bowing and
fingering methods with a fine sense of melodic line and expressive phrasing.
The finest use of technique is in the successful marriage of technique and
music, and almost nowhere else has this been achieved with such simplicity and
Op 36/2 Brilliant Studies + are even better, slightly more
advanced, very useful in furthering technique along the same melodic lines.
Op 36/3 Artists's Studies is the third and final book in the series, but is on a
completely different and much more advanced level... "Studies for Artists".
- Sitt (Kunzelmann)
100 Studies Op.32 +
is an overlooked superb comprehensive collection of studies for violin. These
hard to find study books will reward the Intermediate Student immeasurably.
Each book consists of 20 studies. Book 1 in 1st position. Book 2 = fixed 2nd
to 5th position. Book 3 = Changes of position (Positions 1-5). Book 4 = 6th
and 7th positions and all positions from 1st to 7th. Book 5 = Double Stops.
- 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.
- Kreutzer (Simrock )
19 Etudes or Caprices. Not the famous 40 / 42 Studies everyone
knows, but a much less well known collection of studies. Also very valuable in
technical development. A lesser work ; not quite the masterpiece of the famous
- Campagnoli (Peters Ed.)
7 Divertimenti One for each position on the violin. A thorough
investigation and presentation of the first 7 positions for the violin. Each
caprice exhaustively takes you through all the possible effects and uses of
technique that each position has to offer.
- Dont (Peters Edition)
Preparatory Studies Op.37. These are preparatory to the famous
studies of Kreutzer and Rode. In UK they have been set for Grade 7 syllabus,
and I would say average at around Grade 7/8 in difficulty. Dont supplies a great
deal of legato studies, which are combined with slight 4th finger extensions.
In this respect they are not to dissimilar to the studies of Gavinées in
appearance. In general the 4th finger is put to considerable use. The main
emphasis is on fingering and bowing dexterity. The musical
strength of these masterful Austrian studies will prepare every young budding
virtuoso with a flexible and resourceful technique. A few double stop and
thirds studies towards the end (n 19, 22, 24) can easily be classed as equal
in difficulty to the studies of Rode.
- Kreutzer (Peters
Hermann / Hug Flesch /
IMC Galamian / Ricordi Borciani /
Stringology with CD)
+ These are considered "The Violinists Bible". Even Wieniawski, when
caught studying them in his hotel room, 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. They are classified into 3
or 4 sections (which also represent 3/4 distinct levels of difficulty) : Simple
détaché or mixed bowing studies / Trill studies / (Advanced single notes) / Double stop studies. They contain an extremely
comprehensive set of contrasting techniques combining the best of the French
and German Schools.
- Rode (IMC
/ Peters) 24 Caprices +
These studies are considered
indispensable. Leonid Kogan described how every violinist in Russia was
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
number 8 here. Kogan was very
adamant that you need to master a study... learn it by heart, thoroughly,
studying each passage meticulously, so that an optimal elegance of both hands
- Dancla (Russian
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
- 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.
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 ! )
(OOP) Rare out of Print Studies (Op 102
book2); I am collecting some rare specimen studies such as those from the Book
2 of the Violin Method.
- 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. The violinist who knows these studies, and plays them with
confidence shows the mark of a competent Professional.
- Wieniawski (Peters) Op.10 École Moderne. +
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. Wieniawski's Violin literature is carefully
devised to fall into place for those who have acquired lightness and agility
in their left hand passage work.
(M.Abbado edition)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
6 Polyphonic Studies
These studies provide further insight into technique of post-Paganini
difficulty. There exists a considerable amount of material of an extremely
complex standard for violinists and for which these studies provide a
suitable preparation. Possibly the hardest studies ever written for the
violin. Not strictly necessary nor required for standard development .. I do
not even have a copy !
Also of note & therefore to be included soon :
Sevcik / Sandor (more modern Hungarian series) / Auer's
Graded series / Sivori / Rovelli / also scale and exercise type works : Flesch
/ Galamian / Hrimaly & others