The Native American Flute Player’s Guide

… about playing the flute and reading … and texture to your flute playing. … to collect in your flute during extended playing, especially on cool days. …

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The Native American Flute Player’s Guide The material printed here is posted on our web site,, and is derived from The NativeAmerican Flute Book by Bob Edgar. The Native American Flute Player’s Guide This little guide is excerpted from my “The Native American Flute Book”. This book contains more detailedinformation about playing the flute and reading music. It also has the word, scores, and the flute fingering for anumber of Shamanic chants and songs. The book can be obtained from the flute-maker Stephen John DeRubywho can be reached at 1-800-4-FLUTES. He is a very fine flute maker and I wrote and published the book forhim to sell with his flutes and for the many people who are drawn to buy a flute and then not know how to playit.Aligning the Block: Before you play, make sure that the block is properly aligned andtightened.-As the figure indicates, there is an internal partition separating theupper chamber from the flute body. The air leaves the upperchamber through the upper hole. The block serves to divert the airacross the top of the sound hole. This causes the air in the flutebody to vibrate.The alignment of the block is critical to getting a pure sound fromyour flute. Position the block so that it covers the upper hole andthe edge of the block is aligned with the upper edge of the sound hole, not back from it or covering it. You can do this by sighting along the upper side of the flute from thebottom end. Make sure the channel under the block is aligned with the sound hole. Secure the block firmly inplace. If it is held on by a leather tie grasp the two free ends of the tie close to the knot and twist them about aquarter of a turn. This should tighten the tie and hold the block in place.How you blow has a critical effect on the sound you produce. In the beginning, just try to get a good cleansound. Listen carefully to the sound you produce and how the sound is influenced by your blowing. Don’tbreathe continuously. Let each note have a beginning and an end. Don’t overblow unless your intent is to pro-duce a desired affect. Over blowing produces harmonics, an octave or more above the true note. Over blowing isa more advanced technique that takes practice to do well.Playing by the numbersFor simplicity I will call the 8 notes of the Native American extended scale, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, X & Y. In the figureabove, open holes are shown as gray, covered holes as black. Thenumbers indicate how many holes should be covered (always fromthe top down). Thus, all holes should be open to play note 0 while thetop two holes should be covered to play note 2.Start by playing the sequence, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, over and over until youfeel you know these two notes a

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