dismiss icon

Win a FREE year of tonebase!

Enter our raffle for a chance to win free access to 100s of courses, weekly LIVE events, a vibrant community, and more!

Enter To Win A Free Year Of tonebase Guitar
Free Course: Tone, Color, & Vibrato

Free Course: Tone, Color, & Vibrato

Discover the secrets to a more distinctive tone with acclaimed flutist Mark Sparks.

Watch Now →

Johann Sebastian Bach's contributions to the flute repertoire are invaluable, blending technical mastery with expressive depth. 

From the mysterious Partita in A Minor to the extensive sonatas for flute and basso continuo, Bach has on multiple occasions offered a window into his mastery of flute composition.

In this post, we will focus on the pinnacle of Bach's works for flute, highlighting the historical importance and ongoing influence of him and his flute output on the greater instrument's repertoire.

(click here to download a free pdf on the best daily exercises for flute)

Partita in A Minor, BWV 1013

(Free score link)

The partita every flutist has come to love (or perhaps fear) may not have been originally called a partita.

The only surviving manuscript of Bach’s Partita in A Minor, BWV 1013, reveals the title “solo pour une Flûte Traversière”, as the title “Partita” wasn’t assigned until as recently as 1955 by Hans-Peter Schlitz.

Furthermore, there is speculation surrounding the existence/intention of an accompaniment part to this piece, given that Bach did not explicitly call it a partita.

Bach’s scores for violin and cello show the text “senza basso” to directly indicate the lack of accompaniment, but this text is absent from the manuscript for this partita.

This all said, Bach’s Partita in A Minor is a mysterious piece, but still has had a tremendous impact on the greater flute repertoire.

Renowned flutist and author Rachel Brown, who has made tremendous contributions to research on Baroque flute, teaches Bach’s Partita in A Minor on tonebase Flute:

Flute Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1030

Next on our list is yet another flute piece of Bach’s that is shrouded in mystery.

Scribal errors on the manuscript, as well as the presence of a harpsichord accompaniment in G minor suggests that this piece may have originally been composed in G minor, and even potentially for a different instrument.

However, the Flute Sonata in B Minor is still the only of Bach’s Flute Sonatas to have a complete autographed manuscript from Bach himself, dating back to Bach’s tenure with the Collegium Musicum (a type of German musical society) in Leipzig.

Bach's original manuscript of his Flute Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1030

Given the academic commotion around pinning down Bach’s musical intentions, having a complete score, regardless of mistakes here and there, gives us a great foundation to build upon from an interpretation standpoint.

This said, flutists in the last century have flocked to this piece for a grounded place to explore and refine their interpretation of Baroque flute repertoire, and because of this, it is easily one of the most important pieces for flute by Bach.

Flute Sonata in Eb Major, BWV 1031

The Flute Sonata in Eb Major, BWV 1031, is another beautiful sonata from Bach’s collection of sonatas for flute and harpsichord.

This particular sonata is often debated regarding its authorship, as some attribute the true origins of this piece to J.S. Bach’s son, C.P.E. Bach, but this is not confirmed by researchers.

It is likely however that the harpsichord accompaniment was in fact written for C.P.E. Bach to perform.

This sonata nonetheless is one of Bach’s most iconic pieces for flute, and can be heard on Baroque programs very frequently.


Flute Sonata in C Major, BWV 1033

Bach’s Flute Sonata in C Major is yet another staple Baroque flute work.

Unlike the typical 3 movement structure of his other flute sonatas, this sonata features a fourth double-minuet, extending the sonata into 5 movements.

It’s believed that this piece may have been originally written for solo flute, with basso continuo added later, but regardless it has become a solid addition to the extensive legacy of the Baroque flute.

This sonata, along with BWV 1034-1035, make up the iconic sonatas for flute and basso continuo that are cherished by so many flutists.


Johann Sebastian Bach's contributions to the flute repertoire, from the enigmatic Partita in A Minor to the richly complex sonatas for harpsichord and basso continuo, have laid a foundation of technical and expressive depth that continues to influence and inspire flutists today.

If you want to really dig into the foundations of the Baroque flute, or just want to see an improvement in your overall flute playing, I highly recommend you check out tonebase Flute.

On tonebase, you’ll find dozens of courses from the biggest names in flute, such as Jasmine Choi, Marina Piccinini, Mark Sparks, and Baroque flutist Rachel Brown, among many others.

tonebase members also receive invitations to weekly live events, a forum of fellow passionate flutists, and custom annotated scores and workbooks.

Click here to sign up for a free 14-day trial and see for yourself how tonebase can transform your flute playing.

Learn From The World's Top Flutists

Online lessons, courses, and interviews with the greatest minds in flute.

Get Started
Learn from the world's best flutists.

tonebase Flute is now live! Start your 14-day free trial today.

Learn More →

Music is a lifelong journey – make tonebase your partner.

Over 10,000 active members can't be wrong. Take your playing to the next level with exclusive instructions from the world's best musicians — get started today!