Native American Flute

The Native American Flute

This native American style flute in western red cedar with a stylised bear claw block was made for me by David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes.

I often play it during a sound journey or a words and music performance. It song is evocative, mellow and soothing for the listener.

The origins of the native American flute are lost in the mists of time but there are many legends of how the flute came to be. Some say that people heard the music of the wind when it sang through the holes in branches made by woodpeckers and fashioned those branches into the first flutes. Others say that there was once a man with holes in his body which produced music when the wind blew through him. Still others talk of a young man who was directed by a kindly woodpecker how to make a flute to win the heart of his beloved.

In all these stories, the flute is born from nature, where the sounds of birds, trees and the breath of the wind are never far away. This is how the flute feels to me when I play it: sometimes it seems as if my own breath becomes the wind, my tune becomes the song of birds and the flute itself become, once more, a living branch in my hands.

Block Flutes

The Hitzaz Flute

This is my hitzaz tuned flute, made for me by David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes. It is in spalted ash in the key of E, with an Arabian stallion carved block.

Hitzaz Flute with Arabian Horse Block

The hitzaz/hijaz scale is common in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Jewish music and the hitzaz flute is intended to evoke the plaintive sounding ney – the traditional Arabic, Persian and Turkish reed flute.

In order for a wooden flute to suggest the sound of a reed flute, David adds a “shoe” under the block. My hitzaz flute came with five shoes in various thicknesses, to offer various degrees of “reediness.” I’m using the thickest/reediest shoe in the video.