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Flute Solo: Orchestral Excerpt from Daphnis and Chloe

The big flute solo in Ravel’s ballet Daphnis and Chloe is possibly the most requested orchestral excerpt at flute auditions. It is a popular amongst the many flute audition pieces because it's an extremely challenging flute solo and thus shows a great deal to the judges about the technical and musical abilities of the performer. 

One must be extremely disciplined rhythmically, yet sound spontaneous - almost improvisatory. One must have great breath control to spin out the long lyrical line, and excellent finger technique to execute flawlessly the running scales and octave patterns in the ‘Vif’ section. And one must have a keen imagination and command of tone color to communicate the nuances asked for by Ravel, and those implied by the composition.

At the beginning of the flute solo, try not to accent or elongate the first note of the scale (the middle A). It should sound like it is coming from nowhere, and some of the magic of the solo is that it ‘starts’ on the ‘wrong’ note (the high G#). Think in 2, not 4, (try using a digital metronome set around 33) and try to allow the basses to play an almost hypnotically rhythmic accompaniment while you ‘improvise’ way above. Interpret the rhythms carefully, being clear yet not pedantic. The interval of a 4th reoccurs several times – be sure never to accent the 3rd note (the return to the main note).

Try to observe the dynamic markings carefully (the whole first phrase is marked ‘piano’), but use your imagination when thinking about the repeated notes (the high G#’s, then the C#’s, then the B’s) and employ color and nuance with elegance and charm. Remember that practicing scales daily will make the ‘Vif’ section of Daphnis and Chloe much easier for every flutist!

For further guidance on flute audition solo pieces and classical music orchestral excerpts, be sure to check more free flute lessons with Jeffrey Khaner at

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