North Bridge Flute Academy


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Fauré – Berceuse
Oginski – Polonaise
Fauré – Sicilienne
Telemann – Sonata in F
Marais – Le Basque
Quantz – Sonata in E minor – Vivace
Delibes – Morceau de Concours


Telemann Air a l'Italien
Donjon – Pan
Fauré – Morceau de Concours
Hoffmeister – Sonata in G – 1st Mvt, Allegro Assai
Gaubert – Madrigal
Rabboni - Sonata (No. 3) in E
CPE Bach - Allegro from Sonata in E Minor
Rabboni – Sonata (No. 8) in C
Gossec – Tambourin


Rabboni – Sonata (No. 7) in F
Roussel – Mr. de la Pejaudie


Roussel – Pan


GRADE 6, Lesson #8
Performance Video: Rabboni – Sonata No. 8 in C

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GRADE 6, Lesson #8
Teaching Notes Video: Rabboni – Sonata No. 8 in C

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This beautiful piece could almost be a gentle lullaby from a Donizetti opera. To this extent, it should be approached with a warm soprano voice very much in mind.

When it comes to production of sound, we all know that the flute and human singing voice are closely connected, but in a slow moving piece such as this, as flute players, we also have the added disadvantage or hurdle of having to operate the mechanism of the flute. This sublimely legato Sonata is very much a piece in which we should always try to ‘feel’ our way around the flute, rather than simply operating the keys. If we can create ‘legato’ fingers, we should be able to comfortably establish a legato melodic line as well. Any abrupt movement of the fingers will break that melodic line and disturb the feeling of calm and direction.

In a slow moving work such as this Sonata, we will need a good supply of air to shape and sculpt the phrases, which can be long, so therefore, demanding. It is always worth remembering that on the flute, if we don’t have sufficient air, we will not have a voice. Without a voice, we have very little to say or express.

There are numerous large intervals throughout the work and with these, care will be needed as far as intonation is concerned. The wider the interval, the greater the need for anticipation. In short, musically we should know where we are going, before we get there.

There are frequent demi-semi-quaver (32nd note) passages sprinkled throughout the Sonata. The natural human response to arriving at bars with thick black lines beneath the notes, is to go into a state of mild panic (the more lines, the greater that panic). This in turn will result in us rushing and losing control of the notes. Therein lies the path to tension and anxiety, often resulting in failure! These passages aren’t difficult, it is us who make them so. To master these multi-note passages, we need to encourage ourselves in the opposite direction to that natural instinct of rushing. My general rule has always been the following:

The more black lines underneath (or above) the notes, the slower I tell myself to move or operate the flute.

Without losing tempo, the general idea is to operate in slow motion, with as much freedom flowing as possible through the shoulders into the arms and on to the hands and fingers.


Even though nothing is indicated, this Sonata mainly consists of two and four bar phrases. A phrase should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but these points aren’t necessarily geometrically equidistant between one another.

However, in this case, the natural peak of the first phrase is at the beginning of Bar 2. To this extent, immediately after the first note is sounded, there should be a feeling of growth of intensity throughout the first bar to the first beat of the second bar, followed by a natural return to ‘P’.

Grace notes in this Sonata (as in the third and eighth bars) should never be hurried and they will come across as richly musical, if connected to the surrounding material.

Even though the emphasis in the Sonata is on playing with a true legato line, I also love the fact that Rabboni adds moments of technical work, giving us something else to focus on. This happens in Bar 4, where the fourth finger of the right hand, a particularly weak finger, is required to make the same movement three times in succession. In this case, we need to encourage this finger, rather than bully it! The third and fifth fingers stay down on their respective keys in this example, making the movement of the fourth finger more restricted. A useful exercise for this is to place the right hand lightly over the edge of a table (with the thumb underneath, as though holding a flute) and with all fingers resting on the table surface. Lift the fourth finger four times, then do the same with the third finger, alternating between the two. It is much easier to move the third finger smoothly, but over a period of time we want to have a similar agility of movement in the fourth finger.

In Bar 9, the accents should not be aggressive, but bell-like, leading to the C at the beginning of bar 10. Try ‘huffing’ these out with a gentle, legato coughing action.

The mood changes dramatically in Bar 17, when harmonically we are taken to the relative minor of C major, A minor.

From Bar 17 through to Bar 24, the calm and tranquillity of the opening section is disrupted and the character throughout these bars should be more anxious or worried, as though something extremely precious or emotionally valuable has been lost. The variations in the returning theme from the upbeat to Bar 25 should almost smile.

Finally, in Bar 41, be careful to stay in tune in the natural decrescendo that occurs throughout the bar. It is so easy to sound and be flat here. The final note (C3) should be perfumed!

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