If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a good medium-sized, easy-intermediate, interesting and fun book of etudes for growing flute players. Since I have the unique opportunity of working with students and players of all levels, but mostly middle and high school students, I like to keep a wide variety of pieces to help students have something “tuneful” to play when they are deciding between instruments, and I just added Giuseppe Gariboldi’s 20 Little Etudes to the flute shop library, just re-released under International Music Company. The review of this collection is thanks to Abigail Sperling of The Flutist Quarterly.
Giuseppe Gariboldi (1833–1905) should be a familiar name to those acquainted with etudes and studies for flute. Along with Ernesto Köhler (1849–1907) and Joachim Andersen (1847–1909), Gariboldi provided modern flutists with a huge number of works for the instrument. Indeed, Gariboldi’s output has something for every player: young players may start with 58 First Exercises for Flute—a book I use with my own younger students—whereas advanced players will undoubtedly find his Grand Exercises for the Flute both challenging and rewarding.
This book of 20 etudes, carefully edited by Karl Kraber, fits
well within the early years of playing and would be perfect for
a motivated middle-school student. While it is possible to find
these etudes on IMSLP, and several of them are included in Robert Cavally’s Melodious and Progressive Studies for Flute Book 1, having all 20 in their own collection is beneficial for several reasons. The stave spacing in this edition makes these studies easy to read, thus avoiding a common problem of music found online. For those of us still using printed music, the paper feels acid-free and is easy to write on and—importantly!—erase. Bar
measures are numbered at the beginning of each stave, making
teacher referencing easy. Finally, Kraber includes Gariboldi’s original dynamic and phrase markings and adds several of his own, always in parentheses. He has also put many breath marks in parentheses; while he is surely correct in hoping “that many of Gariboldi’s breaths can be avoided, making longer phrases possible,” younger students will probably appreciate breath marks every two or four bars.
I have only one complaint about the edition: in Study 6 (G major), Kraber has included “trick” fingerings in two places, first in a D–E–D triplet figure (bar 18), where he recommends moving only the third finger on the right hand, and second in an E–F#–E triplet figure (bar 21), where he suggests using the trill F-sharp fingering. It seems detrimental to encourage students to use the wrong fingerings for notes so early in their training. Yes, using the normal fingerings are more difficult, but the sonority of the trick-fingered notes is poor and quite noticeable. It is surely better flute technique to encourage students to use the correct fingering for every note, and I’m certain Gariboldi would agree.
The studies themselves are friendly and melodic, unsurprising
harmonically and easy to follow. The key signatures range from E major to A-flat major through to F-sharp minor. Gariboldi’s use of varied articulation (staccato, slurs, accents), dynamics, musical phrasing, musical figure, and musical terms makes this book especially useful for those learning the ins and outs of music-making.
Review by Abigail Sperling, The Flutist Quarterly. An online version of these 20 studies can be found on IMSLP by following this link: