List of Piano Études

When it grows up, this page will be a list of piano études, sorted by technical problem rather than composer.

Études are graded as easy, moderately easy, medium, moderately difficult, and difficult.


Études in Arpeggios

  • Chopin, Op.10, No.1 (79 measures; Allegro; C Major) Difficult. An essential work for strengthening the right hand and wrist and for developing rapid contractions and expansions of the hand.
  • Chopin, Op.25 No.12 (83 measures; Allegro molto con fuoco; C Minor) Moderately difficult. This work is the final etude of Opus 25; it consists entirely of sixteenth-note arpeggios, covering a great deal of the keyboard in the span of a single measure. The piece resolves itself with a climax in C Major, after taking the initial theme through a volley of different keys.
  • Liszt, Transcendental Étude No.1 (23 measures; Presto) Moderate.
  • Liszt, Ab irato (Étude de perfectionnement), S.143 It is difficult to decide where this work belongs, it contains passages in thirds, octaves, octaves with the addition of the third, etc... however it also contains a long and unbroken passage of beautiful arpeggios that span the entire keyboard. It's not quite the "perfect etude" which it is titled, however it is a great piece which is sadly underplayed. 4 pages long, Difficult.
  • Liszt, Transcendental Étude No.6 (70 measures; Lento; G Minor) One of the "easier" Transcendental Studies, the piece's melody is played by the left hand while the right hand follows in flying arpeggios, wild tremolos, and powerful octaves. Difficult.

Études in Chords

  • Liszt, Transcendental Étude No.8 "Wilde Jagd" (224 measures; Presto Furioso) {{#iflang:|en=It's been called the easiest of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, don't be fooled. Playing this piece is as wild a journey as its name evokes. A good part of it is occupied by strong chordal passages in both hands, evoking the famous "Devil's horn" imagery. It's a wicked piece, wickedly difficult, and wickedly much fun.

Études in Double Notes

  • Liszt, Transcendental Etude No.5 "Feux Follets" (133 measures, Extremely Difficult) Considered to be the most difficult of Liszt's 12 Transcendental Etudes, Feux Follets demands absolute relaxation of the hand while ascending and descending chromatic scales at warp-speed. When done evenly, the repeated notes will create an other-worldly shimmering sound. This piece must not be practiced with stress.

Études in Leaps

  • Liszt, Transcendental Etude No.12 "Chasse Neige" (79 measures; Andante con Moto; B flat Minor) The second most difficult of Liszt's "12 Transcendal Studies" is a study of tremolos, but requires huge leaps across the keyboard, as the span of notes is very large. Also demanding are fast chromatic scales, and heavy chords which must be played at a dazzling speed near the end. Extremely difficult.

Études in Fourths

Debussy: Étude 3 pour les quartes. Slower tempo, somewhat Oriental flavor.

Études in Thirds

Études in Fifths

Études in Sixths

  • Chopin, Op.10 No.7 (3 pages, Moderately Difficult) This etude is less played than it should be. Franz Liszt demonstrated it in his masterclasses as an example of the ideal to which any teaching piece should aspire. The right hand is constantly shifting from positions of a sixth to other intervals and then quickly back to the sixth. A great piece for strengthening the independence of finger groups required to play simultaneous 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, and 6ths. Unfortunately the action is restricted to the right hand, and the left is reduced to a mere accompaniment.
  • Tellefsen Sixths etude (6 pages, Difficult) Norwegian pupil of F.Chopin
  • {{#iflang:|en=A nice etude to practise broken chords passages (sixths), and endurence. Its also a nice concert-piece.|Μια ωραία άσκηση για την εξάσκηση περασμάτων με σπαστές συγχορδίες (έκτες), και αντοχής. Είναι επίσης ωραίο κομμάτι για συναυλία.

Études in Sevenths

  • Chopin, Op.10, No.3 (77 measures; Lento ma non troppo; E Major) Moderately Difficult. Said Chopin of this etude, "In all my life I have never again been able to find such a beautiful melody." Indeed, it has a very slow and graceful melody; attention should be paid to the phrasing and legato ambience. The piece is very structurally straightforward, with one theme, a variation, and a final reiteration of the theme. The variation at measure 40 is where the etude becomes technically difficult to play. Although it stays chromatically centered around E Major, the passage, a long sequence of diminished seventh chords, is littered with accidentals and irregular rhythms that make it a challenge. The torrential variation eventually coalesces into the gentle rhythm of the first theme, and the Coda begins with a final restatement of the initial theme.

Études in Octaves

  • Chopin, Op.25 No.10 A difficult piece if you wish to give Chopin his due. Stormy chromatic passages of parallel octaves characterize the beginning. The middle section is quite beautiful and seems something like the eye of a hurricane; it consists of gentle octave passages in the right hand with a calm left handed accompaniment. The piece concludes with a return to the stormy chromatic passages of parallel octaves seen in the beginning. Four pages of non-stop excitement!

Études in Ninths

Scriabin Etude Op. 65 No. 1

Études for the Right Hand Alone

  • Chopin, Op.25, No.11 "The Winter Wind" (96 measures; Allegro con brio; A Minor) Difficult. It is debatable whether this an etude for the right hand or the left; both hands play an important role throughout the piece, and must be given equal attention. However, while the left hand brings the melody solidly in heavy chords and octaves, the right hand is a tumultuous flow of rapid arpeggios and scales, making this etude an epic study of right hand dexterity and precision.
  • Alkan, Op. 76 "Trois Grandes Études" The first of the three Etudes by Alkan is for the left hand alone and quite difficult. However the level of difficulty rises - the second Etude for the right hand alone being more difficult than the third. The two Etudes culminate in the third Etude, which re-unites both hands - both hands playing the exact same notes at incredible speed.

Études for the Left Hand Alone

  • Chopin, Op.10, No.12 "The Revolutionary" This piece is quite well known, and quite challenging. Chopin gives the left hand a non-stop workout of nearly olympic proportions. First with a rapidly descending passage that returns throughout the piece, and then with rapid passages of arpeggios. The right hand gets a rest for most of this piece, playing a few chords or octaves per measure, however it does join the left hand in a few wild and rapid escapades across the keyboard. Altogether a most difficult, but rewarding piece.
  • Moszkowski, Op.92 Moderately Difficult. An interesting set of etudes written specifically for left hand development.
  • Godowsky No.26 A study crafted by Godowsky after Chopin's famous "Revolutionary Etude", it's a transcription where the entire piece is played by the left hand Played in C sharp minor, it is a a study which demands extreme technical skill by one's left hand. Extremely difficult.
  • Alkan, Op. 76 "Trois Grandes Études" The first of the three Etudes by Alkan is for the left hand alone and quite difficult. However the level of difficulty rises - the second Etude for the right hand alone being more difficult than the third. The two Etudes culminate in the third Etude, which re-unites both hands - both hands playing the exact same notes at incredible speed.