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étude(ā`to͞od), a brief musical composition, usually for piano, fashioned to instruct an instrumentalist in a particular technical problem, such as scales or trills. Succeeding the toccata, popular in the baroque period, the étude was developed into a compactly crafted musical form by Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt.
in music, an instrumental composition devoted to a special problem of technique and written with the intent of developing the player’s technical facility. Etudes are usually gathered in collections containing pieces designed to help the player acquire a variety of technical skills; notable examples are the piano etudes piano of M. Clementi, K. Czerny, and J. Cramer and the violin etudes of R. Kreutzer and P. Rode. Numerous piano etudes, such as those of F. Chopin, R. Schumann, F. Liszt, C. Debussy, S. V. Rachmaninoff, A. N. Scriabin, and S. S. Prokofiev, are of high artistic merit.