Native American Flute
Early historical data discloses that indigenous tribes of many countries designed and used at least three instruments: the drum, the rattle, and the flute. The voice of the flute has always imparted a melodic, haunting sound that speaks to the soul and spirit of one’s being. The Native American Flute is an instrument that many tribes throughout North America have used for personal expression and creativity, for meditation, for healing, for courting, and in some ceremonies.
Flutes varied greatly regarding materials and tuning structures. In the South, flutes were often made from river cane and bamboo; in the West and East the flutes were usually made from softwood trees. The early flutes varied from 4-hole, 5-hole and 6-hole fingering patterns. Cedar was used by many of the Southwest Nations and continues to be a preferred choice due to its mellow voice. Hardwoods used for flute-making were utilized later as the density of these woods required development of tools that could work the harder wood. Hardwoods often impart a crisp, bright voice to the flute.
The Native American Flute is an instrument of tradition, soul-song, and an expression of sacred spaces and peoples. As such, the Native American Flute merits respect and honor. Upholding these values is as important as learning to play the flute. The Native American Flute gives up its beautiful sounds quite readily and is relatively easy to learn to play; mastery is a life-long process. FLUTE ON!