One of the few universally recognized collections of foundation etudes for violin and viola*. Composed by Franz Wohlfahrt, these etudes deal with nearly all aspects of play, from dynamic variance to vibrato. The exercises are commonly published in two books.

Book I is made up of exercises in first position. As written by Wohlfahrt, Book I is made up of 30 exercises from Opus 45, but Carl Fischer has compiled another "Book I" of 60 exercises using excerpts from Opus 45, 54, and 74.

Book II is made up of the last 30 exercises from Opus 45. These exercises are in first, second, and third positions. Again, however, Carl Fischer has compiled their "Book II" of 42 exercises, drawn from Opus 45 and 74.

Of note are the final two exercises of Opus 45 (the "original" Wohlfahrt exercises): They have not been printed in new editions of Book II. Why? The reason is unknown, but one could infer that they were just too hard to fit in with the "foundation" studies. Number 59 challenges the player with complex double stops, and could almost be mistaken for a full fledged solo work. Number 60 is all double stops. In fact, nearly every note played is an octave. Despite their difficulty however, if you have access to an old edition of the second volume of Wohlfahrt and find a copy of these two wonderful etudes, photocopy, learn, save, treasure them! A student of my teacher's who had an old edition brought the etudes to my teacher's studio, and the etudes are truly a delight, challenging and melodic and certainly some of the best work of Wolfahrt. Don't pass them by if you get the chance.

* The etudes were composed for violin originally, but were later transcribed for viola by Merle J. Isaac and Ralph C. Lewis.

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