Merriem-Webster defines Etude and Caprice as:
From the two entries above—boiled down to a simpler definition for the genre Etudes-caprices—we might say it this way:
Music for the study of certain technique but less repetitive, more prone to flourishes outside of the initial technical focus.
A closer look at Sebastian Lee’s 12 Etudes-Caprices caractéristiques Op. 100
- 12 etudes
- Each with a descriptive title
- Each one focuses on a technical motive
- There is always a flourish aside from the main idea
- Intermediate level
- 99% of the time within 4th position
- Express interesting ideas and compelling music
- Require control over the bow and deft, even adroit, fingers
No. 1 Le calme (Calm)
*view my rendition here https://youtu.be/1-WR7Ywoe6A
Mostly utilizing full measures for one bow stroke, it is possible to exude calm while flying through nearly 16 notes per measure.
One must maintain calm control over the bow and guide it steadily, at the same speed from frog to tip and from tip to frog. At other times, to achieve the “calm” character, when there are some only two beats slurred one should begin the stroke with a half bow remaining.
Such is the first Etude-Caprice, Le calme.
All the etudes have some element that diverges from the initial motive which might be a surprise causing consternation in how to achieve the same character in a different figure. However, all etudes are also compelling enough, musically, that one wishes to make the effort to achieve the goal.
A list of all 12 Etudes-caprices, Op. 100
- Le calme (Calm)
- Inqiuétude (Worry)
- Scherzo (Joke)
- Souvenir (Memory)
- L’orage (The Storm)