Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The lack of knowledge and understanding of the performance practice of the early eighteenth century can lead to faulty and ill-conceived ideas regarding the interpretation of Bach's flute

sonatas. Problems of tempo, articulation, phrasing, dynamics, and ornamentation can overwhelm the student approaching these works for the first time. Luckily, the great flutists of our time have

given us a permanent documentation of their interpretations of this music by committing to record their performances. A diligent study of these performances, (in this case, the Sonata in B Minor), can guide the student to make intelligent decisions for his own playing of these works and other music of the same period. If the listener also has some basis to judge the historical validity of these recordings he will also learn which of the world-renowned performers give attention to details of correct interpretation rather than exploiting with various eccentricities a "new and different" or "fresh" approach to important staples of the literature for the flute.

The purpose of this paper is to examine six recorded interpretations of J.S. Bach's Sonata in B Minor, principally in the areas of tempo, articulation, and ornamentation. The recordings to be discussed are those by Julius Baker, flute, and Sylvia Marlowe, harpsichord, (Decca DX 113); Samuel Baron and Louis Bagger, (Musical Heritage Society OR 303/304); Karl Bobzien and Margarete Scharitzer, (Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft ARC 73225); Maxence Larrieu and Rafael Puyana, (Philips S-C 71 AX 203); Jean-Pierre Rampal and Robert Veyron-Lacroix, (Odyssey Y2 31925); and Elaine Shaffer and George Malcolm, (Angel S 36337). It should be emphasized that this discussion will not consider the technical accuracy and performing capabilities of the artists studied; rather, it will be centered around those artists' insights and solutions to the interpretation problems inherent in Bach's music.

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