Saturday, November 7, 2009

Native American Style Flutes

I don't recall how this interest....... or rather obsession with the Native American Style flute began I only remember that it started last winter.

I was shopping around on Ebay and found an affordable bamboo flute which I bid on and won. Unfortunatley the sound was not the best.

With my next search I found a flute, an F# made of aromatic red cedar. This flute had an eagle block and a feather burned into the wood. Eagles and feathers being very important to me, I bid on this flute and won it! I often feel that this is my favorite flute although as time has passed and I have added to my collection, now I have to say that my favorite flute is the one that I am playing at the moment. However, this red cedar flute plays like a dream. It has a very clear and crisp sound. Created by Desre' Dory of Cloud Walker Flutes. Beautifully crafted, his work is truly an art.

My next flute was yet another created by Cloudwalker Flutes, a closed-end flute made of Red Gum Wood with Ebony accents. This flute is tuned to the Key of G and has a closed end of an eagle head with beautifully carved detail and glass eyes. This flute is the longest flute that I have and is simply stunning to look at with all the beautiful detail. The sound is rich and haunting.

By this time I have developed an obsession with flutes and contacted Desre' Dory about my next venture. On his recommendation we decide on a drone, tuned to the key of G. The creation of this flute was delayed a bit but so worth the wait. A drone flute has two chambers. I actually had no idea how to play this flute but quickly caught on. If you play the flute using only one side of the mouthpiece, you get the sound of a single flute. Once you blow into the entire mouthpiece, what you hear is not only the individual notes being played, but a steady sound ,or drone from the other chamber. Sounds as though two flutes are playing very rich and beautiful! As you can see from the pictures, this flute is wider than a typical flute and once again Desre' Dory burned a feather into the wood for me as well as little dots around each finger hole. Truly a work of art. His work is beautiful and I have such confidence in his knowledge and craftsmanship.

Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a High Spirits flute ,a Merlin Key of C. This little flute measures only 18" in length and is made from Maple/Mahogany wood. It is a great little flute for hiking and backpacking. This little flute produces and light and very cheerful sound.

Desre' Dory and I talked about my next venture. He suggested a bass flute. I am not sure what key the flute will be tuned to. I usually go on his recommendation.

So far my flute playing takes place at home for my own enjoyment, or my captive audience.....Bob. He's getting hooked on this music as well.

Each summer we travel to our favorite lake in the Superior National Forest of Minnesota to camp, fish and simply enjoy nature. Over the past few years we have either set up a tent, a lean-to or the tepee to live in for a week. I guess my dream is to set up the lodge and play my flutes on the beautiful rugged shores of our favorite lake and hope that our eagle friends pay us a visit visit as they do each year.

I don't know that I can choose a particular flute to take with on those trips. Perhaps I will take all of them.

I have purchased a couple of wonderful Pendleton wool flute bags to safely store my flutes at home or on the road. You can see one of them in the photos.

The Native American style flute is very easy to play and anyone can learn. The flutes are 5-hole and 6-hole and based on the pentatonic scale ("penta" meaning five).

There is so much more for me to know and learn about the flutes but in the meantime there is no right or wrong way to create this music so I just keep on playing and making up songs!


  1. Travis Terry, a Pima Indian married to Cara Terry from Canyon de chelly sells their flutes as well. I believe he buys from High Spirit Flutes. You are right about the haunting noises that come out of those flutes. I hope you are still up for coming down to Canyon de chelly to play with Travis Terry. Tess

  2. Great flutes Margie! What a collection! Awesome.... Anne

  3. Always enjoy reading about new NAF adventures.

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