I’m pleased to share videos from my recent Delta State University faculty recital.
There are many Native American flute traditions, but the one commonly called the “Native American flute” today is the endblown Lakota-style flute, native to the Dakotas. It is a duct- or fipple-type flute, which means it easily produces sound, like a recorder or pennywhistle, though the construction is different. Many of the commercially-available flutes are … Read more
My doctoral dissertation is now available online through the University of Georgia library, entitled Woodwind doubling on folk, ethnic, and period instruments in film and theater music: Case studies and a practical manual.
For years now I’ve told anyone who will listen how much I love my Butch Hall Native-American-style flute in F-sharp minor. I recently bought it a little friend in G minor, and realized it is high time I did a proper review of these lovely instruments.
The modern instrument commonly referred to as the “Native American Flute” is related to a certain flute tradition associated with the Lakota people; of course labeling anything as “Native American” mistakenly implies that it is common to all the groups lumped together as “Native American.” As an additional complication name-wise, there are certain legal requirements regarding who can sell products under the designation “Native American,” so some flutemakers, for example, must sell their wares as “Native-American-style.” In general, flutes of this type, regardless of seller, are a contemporary take on a traditional instrument, often made with modern tools and processes and tweaked to suit contemporary Western-world pitch standards. This suits me just fine—I’m interested in the instrument’s history, but as a working musician I like an instrument that I can buy affordably and play in a variety of situations.
If you are in the market for an instrument of this kind, be very careful about souvenir-type flutes, including some popular makes sold on the internet and in souvenir shops as “professional” instruments. If you want an instrument that plays beautifully, easily, and in tune, and is genuinely suited to professional playing situations, I strongly recommend that you send money to Butch Hall immediately. These are real-deal musician-quality flutes, and the amount of money involved is shockingly small.
I try not to just dump lists of links very often, but here are a few fun items that didn’t warrant their own full posts: Flutists in the news: NASA astronaut Cady Coleman makes music in outer space. Artist Matthias Adolfsson proposes some new members of the woodwind family. Musicians can save the world, over … Read more