Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Peter Amstutz

Committee Co-Chair

James Miltenberger

Committee Member

James Miltenberger

Committee Member

William Haller

Committee Member

Andrea Houde

Committee Member

Bruce Kang


The etude is an important genre in piano literature and most piano teachers select etudes as teaching material for students to improve their technique and musical sensitivity. As etudes developed and evolved, they have served not only for technical study, but also as concert repertoire that beautifully represents composers’ personal styles. Since the initial appearance of the etude as a genre in the early 19th century, composers from subsequent time periods have continued to write etudes.

While a number of scholarly works discuss etudes, relatively little attention has been devoted to etudes composed in the late 20th century, compared to those written in earlier periods. Therefore, with the goal of contributing to this field of endeavor, this research project investigates the Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40, by Nikolai Kapustin (b. 1937), in part to explore how one late 20th- century composer engaged with the traditional etude.

To provide a broader picture of the topic, this research project begins with a brief overview of the development of etudes as a genre, along with summaries of Kapustin’s life and musical output. This general material is followed by discussion of the Eight Concert Etudes, including pedagogical suggestions and aspects of the musical forms and techniques that are commonly used in both classical and jazz music. Kapustin’s compositional principles are explored in more detail in two of these etudes, No. 2 (Reverie) and No. 8 (Finale).