How to play a piece for flute alone?

The flute is a so-called melody-instrument, she only is able to play one “voice”, not several “voices” at the same time. In spite of this, there exists in works for flute alone not only this melody, a horizontal line, but also a vertical structure, which frequently is not obvious at the first sight – invisible so to say, in contrast to pieces for piano or organ, where all voices are present.

An example for this are the Telemann Fantasies. Like in most baroque pieces, the polyphonic structure has to be “detected” for the listener. This is an important aspect of soloistic playing: the solo-player is responsible for revealing all structural elements of the composition, even those “invisible” ones.

In this respect the difference between solo playing and ensemble playing is obvious: on the one hand the solo player has more responsibility for shaping the composition, on the other hand more freedom, being without musical partners demanding consideration. This freedom comes out for example in the choice of the tempo and the use of tempo fluctuations, which always should be understandable for the listener.

In the same way a kind of freedom exists in performing ornaments, for instance in baroque pieces: they should always be understandable and stylistic suitable. But above all, they should follow harmonic rules.

The more “modern” a piece, the more the composer prescribes the details of performing. However, in addition to the correct performance of new techniques and effects the player should look for the inner cohesion of the piece including aspects such as “space” in performing the music or the “story” behind the notes. So, even in the modern repertoire, “invisible” parameters are in fact to be also considered in the performance of a solo piece.