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Concert Études for Viola

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Many violists have grown up on a diet of violin studies transcribed for viola, and plenty have thrived on them, even though the studies are in many cases composed with melodic patterns and fingerings that suit the violin better than the viola. My primary aim in composing this new study material was to write specifically for the viola, in ways which suit it both technically and tonally.

The twelve concert études set out to be musically attractive pieces, which, in addition to addressing most basic aspects of technique, will encourage the development of "musical" and expressive playing. The set of études is unusual, perhaps unique, in that it covers a range of styles, and thus provides a focus for developing an understanding of bowing and articulation appropriate to different periods of music. The first eight études move through baroque, classical and romantic styles, while the later études include material for developing confidence with metre change and other basic rhythmic skills and with atonality. The last étude introduces an improvisatory style of playing.

The concert études should be appropriate for viola students from Grade 8 upwards. Details of a companion volume of "technical" études and their availability can be found at www.robinireland.co.uk. These studies are each focused primarily on a single area of technical development, in many cases an area not specifically addressed in currently available study material.

The new études do not set out to provide a comprehensive alternative to existing study material, but rather to complement it and extend its range.


  • 01 Baroque (Bach)
  • 02 Baroque (French Overture, Italian Allegro)
  • 03 Classical (Haydn)
  • 04 Theme and Variations (Early Romantic)
  • 05 Fantasy in D Minor (Early Romantic)
  • 06 Fantasy in G Major (Romantic/Salon)
  • 07 Fantasy in B Minor (Romantic. Slow bows and bow distribution)
  • 08 Fantasy in F# minor (Romantic, chromatic)
  • 09 Metre change Study 1 (East European Folk)
  • 10 Metre Change Study 2
  • 11 Atonal (Second Viennese School)
  • 12 Improvisatory
Syllabus info
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music: Bowed Strings 2020 - 2023   (until Dec 2023)  

Viola - grade 6
Viola - grade 7
Viola - grade 8