The études were Debussy’s last important works for piano, written in the midst of World War I, when the composer was already seriously ill with cancer. He was very proud of this work, and was bold enough to dedicate it to that other composer of extremely inspired piano etudes: Chopin. Indeed, as in the case of the Chopin studies, Debussy’s études are a sort of distillation of the composer’s musical and technical legacy. They are divided into two books: the first is devoted to exploring the problems and possibilities inherent in different intervals (thirds, sixths, etc.), while Book II engages more in various elements of musical syntax and style, such as ornaments, repeated notes, arpeggios etc. The first book begins with a humorous nod to Czerny, making fun of the latter’s often rather dry and pedantic finger exercises. The second book includes some of the most technically challenging of Debussy’s piano pieces.