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[ey-tood, ey-tyood, ey-tood, ey-tyood; French ey-tyd] /ˈeɪ tud, ˈeɪ tyud, eɪˈtud, eɪˈtyud; French eɪˈtüd/
noun, plural études
[ey-toodz, ey-tyoodz, ey-toodz, ey-tyoodz; French ey-tyd] /ˈeɪ tudz, ˈeɪ tyudz, eɪˈtudz, eɪˈtyudz; French eɪˈtüd/ (Show IPA)
a musical composition, usually instrumental, intended mainly for the practice of some point of technique.
study (def 12).
1830-40; < French; see study Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for étude


/ˈeɪtjuːd; French etyd/
a short musical composition for a solo instrument, esp one designed as an exercise or exploiting technical virtuosity
Word Origin
C19: from French: study
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for étude



1837, from French étude, literally "study," from Old French estudie (12c.), from Latin studium (see study). Popularized in English by the etudes of Chopin (1810-1849).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for étude


in music, originally a study or technical exercise, later a complete and musically intelligible composition exploring a particular technical problem in an esthetically satisfying manner. Although a number of didactic pieces date from earlier times, including vocal solfeggi and keyboard works (Domenico Scarlatti's Esercizi per gravicembalo), the etude came into its own only in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with collections published by the virtuoso pianist Muzio Clementi (especially his Gradus ad Parnassum, 1817), emulated by other pianist-composers, especially Karl Czerny. With the 27 piano etudes by Frederic Chopin (Opus 10, 1833; Opus 25, 1837), the etude became a composition of considerable musical interest apart from its merit as a technical study. Many of the Transcendental Etudes by piano virtuoso Franz Liszt feature descriptive titles (e.g., La campanella, or "The Little Bell"). Claude Debussy's Douze Etudes (1915; 12 Etudes) and Gyorgy Ligeti's Etudes for Piano (Book 1, 1985; Book 2, 1988-94) are notable later examples.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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