Do you want to learn and perform a new piece? If you can’t play with a pianist, you should consider some of the best unaccompanied flute pieces.
That way, you don’t need to worry about finding musicians who can play with you. And you can play wherever you have your flute. Read on to learn about some popular solo flute works.
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1. C.P.E. Bach Sonata in A Minor
The C.P.E. Bach Sonata in A Minor is an excellent piece from the early Classical era. It’s one of the only unaccompanied flute pieces from that period, at least that I know of.
This piece has three movements, though the original order of them was slow-fast-fast. Some editions of this piece put the slow movement in the middle. But if you want to perform this piece, I’d highly recommend playing the slow one first.
Then, you can stay true to historical performance practice. Now, don’t confuse this solo piece in A minor with the one by C.P.E. Bach’s father.
2. J.S. Bach Partita in A Minor
I can’t make a list of the best unaccompanied flute pieces without including the Partita in A Minor by J.S. Bach. This piece is quite difficult, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Each of the four movements is based on a dance from Europe.
The first two movements are the longest, and they both use mostly sixteenth notes. That can be hard for some students to learn because you don’t have many good places to breathe.
I played this piece on my junior recital in college, and one of my non-musician friends recognized that it was hard. If you want to learn this piece, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to work on it.
3. Bozza Image
If you like French music, you may want to try Bozza Image. This piece is a single movement, though there are a few different sections within it. The introduction feels improvisatory, and then you get into a faster section.
In the middle of the piece, you get to slow things down. Then, you finish it off with an almost-repeat of the first section. It’s an excellent piece to play if you want more of a challenge from French music.
I played this one on my first master’s recital, and it was super fun. If you’re reading this post when it comes out and are a professional, you can use this piece to audition for the NFA Professional Flute Choir Competition.
4. Coleman Danza de la Mariposa
Valerie Coleman is an amazing flutist and composer. Her piece Danza de la Mariposa is quickly becoming a standard part of the flute repertoire. While I haven’t worked on it a ton, it does appear to require a lot of practice.
But when you can play it well, you can make it sound amazing. The piece has some more modern elements, which may be off-putting to some musicians. If you can get past that, you can play this wonderful piece.
It’s a nice addition to a recital, or it can make for a good jury piece. You can work on it to learn modern music. Or if you want to learn music by women composers, this is a great piece to choose.
5. Debussy Syrinx
Another one of the most famous unaccompanied flute pieces is Debussy Syrinx. While not originally written for solo flute, this instrumentation is a common way to perform the piece.
This is an excellent introduction to French impressionist music. Plus, it can help flutists learn about Debussy before playing his famous orchestra piece “Prelude a l’Apres-midi d’Une Faune.”
I performed Syrinx on my senior recital as the opener. At the time, I managed to memorize it, so I was able to play without a music stand. That allowed me to show off the improvisatory nature of the work.
6. Ferroud Trois Pieces
I first heard Ferroud Trois Pieces at a friend’s recital earlier this year. As the French name suggests, it has three movements. Each movement has a different character, so you can learn a lot when learning this piece.
While I haven’t worked on it myself, I have sightread part of it. The music takes work to get up to performance-ready. But it can be worth it if you want to learn a French piece but don’t have someone to play piano with you.
It’s a fun piece to listen to, so it’s nice if your audience will include some non-musicians. Anyone can enjoy the piece, and it can be a great way to test your skills as a performer.
7. Fukushima Mei
If you like contemporary music, you may want to learn Fukushima Mei. This piece has a lot of modern sounds and techniques. It’s definitely not easy or for beginners or even intermediate players.
I have yet to learn this work, but I did learn about it in flute literature class. The piece is interesting, though it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Be sure to listen to it before you decide to learn it.
Then, you won’t have to spend time on something you won’t want to perform. And you can make sure to learn how to play the piece well.
8. Hindemith Acht Stucke
A lot of musicians know Hindemith for his sonatas. The flute sonata is popular, but it’s not unaccompanied. Hindemith Acht Stucke is one of the best unaccompanied flute pieces out there.
It contains eight short pieces, so you can start by learning one. Then, you can learn the other pieces in a row until you can play the whole thing. Some of the pieces have different harmonies than you might expect.
I have yet to really learn this piece, but it’s fun to read through. If you like German music, you may find this to be one of your favorite flute pieces.
9. Honneger Danse de la Chevre
French for “dance of the goat,” Honneger Danse de la Chevre is a short, fun piece to play. I’d put it in the same category as Image and Syrinx, partly because it’s French but also because it’s a single movement.
One of my friends played this piece on C flute and on bass flute, and it sounded great on the lower instrument. So if you want to experiment with the bass, this is a great piece to use for that.
I’ve played through this piece and worked on it a few years back. I performed it on a small recital, and it was fun to play for an audience. While it does have some difficult parts, it can be fun once you get the hang of it.
10. Karg-Elert Sonata Appassionata
Another one of my favorite unaccompanied flute pieces is Karg-Elert Sonata Appassionata. I started learning this piece after my second master’s recital, so I haven’t performed it publicly yet.
But it was fun to work on something at the end of my time in grad school. I got to perform it for the flute students in my studio at the time, though. And it helped me maintain a bit of momentum as a player after school.
The harmonies in this piece can sound a bit weird. But it’s a lot like Baroque music in that you have to cover both the melody and harmonies. You have to be able to balance accentuating the melody notes with not letting the harmonies slip.
11. Muczynski Three Preludes for Flute
I first learned about Muczynski Three Preludes for Flute when I was a senior in college. One of my friends played the piece, and it sounded great. I have yet to perform this work, but it’s fun to read through and practice.
Each prelude is a bit different, so you could start by learning one of them. Then, you can learn the others and put them together for a full performance.
This piece can work well on a recital or as part of your jury. If you like 20th century pieces or the Muczynski sonata, this can be an excellent piece to play when you can’t play with piano.
12. Telemann 12 Fantasias
Last but not least on this list is Telemann 12 Fantasias. This is another excellent group of pieces, so you can play one fantasia. Over time, you can learn to play all of them, so it’s a nice way to expand your repertoire.
I’ve performed the first and fifth fantasias, and I’ve worked on some of the others. These pieces are all very fun, and they aren’t too long. Since they’re Baroque, you should consider historical performance practice.
That way, you can understand the composer’s intent for these works. And you’ll be able to make your own musical decisions for your performance of these fantasias.
Are These the Best Unaccompanied Flute Pieces?
When choosing flute repertoire, you should consider if you can play with someone else. If not, unaccompanied flute pieces are great. You can play them anywhere, and you don’t need to know a pianist.
Fortunately, there are tons of unaccompanied works out there. Leave a comment below with your favorites that didn’t make the list, and I can do a part two!