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wmjivey

flute songs for ceremonies

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Hi all my youngest finally was tapped out and goes to Ordeal in acouple of weeks. He has a drinving interest in learning to play the Native American flute. Is there somewhere we can find flute songs for the different ceremonies?

 

Thanks

 

John

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John,

 

 

We had a musician that studied Native American flute music visit our Crew about 3-4 months ago; his wife is one of the local high school teachers, whom works with one of our Crews Associate Advisors. He brought a few collections of flutes, and the high school band members in the Crew, were able to pick up some simple Indian melodies. I'll have to ask our Associate Advisor about the actual musician and composer names that our guest mentioned.

 

But essentially he stated that Native American flutes are more from the Pacific Northwest tribes, and not really from the plains Indians. As he told us, most of the flute music influence would come from Oregon, Washington, Wyoming areas.

 

He told us that most Native American POW-WOW events that you may visit in the Mid-West are more drumming and chanting that most of the tribe participated in. But the flute is a soothing and entertaining music that usually only one Indian would entertain the rest of the tribe with. He said you will hear flute music in more recent movies, like Running with Wolves and Into the West. So while Native American Flute music is popular, it is not quiet the drumming and chanting that you may hear at an OA event or Tap Out.

 

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

 

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I play Native American-style flutes and Native American flutes (the difference is that some are built by Native Americans and some are not).

 

My understanding of the history of the flute is that it likely originated - at least in the US - in the Southwest amongst the Anasazi. It's probably not an accident that the traditional symbol of Native American flute players is Kokopelli, a stylized flute player that comes from the southwest. Through trading, it made it's way throughout all of North America. There is evidence of flutes amongst the mound building cultures and the city/state trading centers of the Cahokians and Hopewells in the midwest river valley areas. It is likely that the flute made its way to all corners of North America from these city/state trading centers as their fingers of trade were some of the most extensive on the continent - we know that in Cahokia, there was trading with the tribes of the northwest, southwest, northeast, upper midwest, southeast, mid-atlantic and plains peoples. At the time, most flutes were made of reeds though some bone flutes and whistles have been found. Early explorers and colonists from Europe have reported that the Native Americans along the east coast were playing flutes of some type.

 

The "modern" Native America flute dates to sometime in the 1850's, and is believed to have originated with the Utes in Utah. It made it's way through the southwest and the plains to the northwest. The plains tribes would therefore have had these flutes before the northwest tribes had them.

 

One could often tell the different tribes from each other by the style of sone they played.

 

As an aside, heres an interesting thing I learned about the Kiowa. They were known to surround their foes the night before battle and play love songs to them on their flutes - an early form of psychological warfare perhaps. During battles, it's reported that the Kiowa could often be seen riding into battle carrying their flutes above their heads - as if it were the most potent weapon in it's aresenal.

 

Most songs were passed from generation to generation without ever being written down. There are some music books out there (check out High Spirits Flutes - their flutes are very good for beginners because they tend to play well right away - start with the key of A) with some "traditional" songs on them - which are, like our folk songs, a written transcription of some particular persons interpretation of a song learned through the oral tradition.

 

More modern musicians, like R. Carlos Nakai, have a reperatory of songs that they have composed to play.

 

Traditionally, though - other than those songs that were handed down from generation to generation (or have been copied), flute playing was more free-form and in the moment. The player would play as the spirits moved him to play - often, there would be repetitious themes that might appear in the playing (I play this way, rather than trying to learn songs from a book or by copying) and that may sort itself into some sort of regular song (I can see this as well in my playing - I tend towards certain rythms and melodies when I play my "A" flute and tend towards different rythms and melodies when I play my "F#" flute).

 

My suggestion is to get a good flute (a High Spirits "A" should cost about $100. Then learn to play the scales - read the book that comes with the flute - and if he's eager to learn specific songs, use one of their books - they will have a fingering chart that will make it easy to learn, and provide a CD so he'll know what the song is supposed to sound like. If you live in an area that has pre-1840's rendezvous, visit one or two to see if you can find a flute player to show him the basics - including some of the breathing techniques. Then just cut loose and have fun with it.

 

Calico

 

 

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In reference to ceremonies, the only time I've heard music is when the folks are coming into and out of the ceremony.

 

Flute music is good, but I prefer the Drum with some singers ;)

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wm,

Check out NativeTech. Type Native American flutes in their search box. Or Google "Making Native American Flutes". There are some good sites there also.

 

 

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