On the RCM Piano Syllabus, for most of the etudes it states "Students must prepare two technically contrasting etudes from the following list." What does it mean for two pieces to be technically contrasting?

2 Answers 2


It means they expect the musical choices to display different aspects of piano technique.

For example, the Level 3 list (page 35) contains

  • "Arabesque" by Johann Burgmüller (SCORE)
  • "Allegro in A Major" by Johann Hässler (SCORE)
  • "Morning Prayer" by Cornelius Gurlitt (SCORE)

"Arabesque" and "Allegro" are technically similar in that both feature chords in one hand against fast scalar passages in the other. One would probably not choose both of these.

By contrast, "Morning Prayer" is slow and lyrical, emphasizing phrasing, dynamics, and touch. This would be a good choice to contrast with "Arabesque" or "Allegro".

"Arabesque" excerpt: chords with fast scales

"Arabesque" excerpt

"Allegro" excerpt: chords with fast scales

"Allegro" excerpt

"Morning Prayer" excerpt: slow and lyrical

"Morning Prayer" excerpt


Etudes or pieces focusing different technical difficulties. For example, a etude of scales in octaves and other for staccato left hand.

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