American Indian Flute

Native Indian Life

American Indian Flute
Facts and history about the life and lifestyles of Native American Indians. The American Indian Flute, also referred to as a Courting Flute,  is a woodwind musical instrument, often made from cedar wood, the stalk of a plant, cane or bone, Flutes were end blown, rim blown or side-blown (transverse).

The flutes had holes that were stopped by the fingers and the number of holes varied depending on the tribe and the preference of the flute maker. Some flutes were highly ornate and had carvings of bird, reptile and animal heads on the end. The Native Indian Flute was played without accompaniment in various situations and circumstances including healing ceremonies, courtship, meditation, and spiritual rituals.

Native Indian Life - American Indian Flute
The Life and Lifestyle of Native Indians is a varied and fascinating subject. The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on American Indian Flute. For additional facts refer to Native Indian Drums and
American Indian Music.

American Indian Flute Fact Sheet for kids

  • American Indian Flute Fact 1: Material used to make flutes varied according to the natural resources that available in the location of the tribe but included bone flutes, wooden flutes and those made by using cane or reed stalks
  • American Indian Flute Fact 2: The construction of traditional flutes used measurements based on the body of the maker. The length of the instrument measured the distance from inside of the elbow to tip of the index finger. The distance between the whistle and first hole was the width of the fist and the distance between the holes were the size of a knuckle
  • American Indian Flute Fact 3: Most flutes made by the tribes of the Great Plains tribes had between 5 and 7 holes, however this varied between makers
  • American Indian Flute Fact 4: Music played an important role in the lives of Native Americans and was a fundamental component of their culture and social life
  • American Indian Flute Fact 5: Music was believed to give the people to means of commune with the spiritual realm and was used to bring the aid of supernatural power into the daily lives of the tribes and the people
  • American Indian Flute Fact 6: Flutes were used during healing ceremonies and rituals for both physical sicknesses and also illnesses caused by grief, trauma and depression due to the calming effect of the music. The people believed that the music produced by flutes had the ability to help reconnect a person with their spirit and restore their mind and emotions with the community
  • American Indian Flute Fact 7: The Flute Ceremony was performed by the Pueblo tribe to bring the rain. The ceremony lasted over a period of 16 days during which time elaborate flute alters were also established in the home
  • American Indian Flute Fact 8: The music produced by the sacred instrument helped the player to meditate and enter the realm of the 'wakan', the spiritual world
  • American Indian Flute Fact 9: The instrument was used in sacred ceremonies such as the Sun Dance of the Plains tribes and during the rites of passage rituals such as Vision Quests
  • American Indian Flute Fact 10: The haunting sounds of the musical instrument were played during courtship rituals when a young man would play love songs to a woman near to her home when night had fallen hoping she would fall under the spell of the haunting, magic music
  • American Indian Flute Fact 11: Flutes had special connections with the sacred pipes used by many of the tribes. The two items complimented each other with breathe being inhaled through the pipe and exhaled when playing flutes
  • American Indian Flute Fact 12: Kokopelli, a fertility deity strongly associated with the Hopi and the Zuni tribes, is usually depicted as a hunchbacked, dancing flute player. Kokopelli was believed to be a supernatural spirit who brought a sense of well-being to the people, assuring their success in growing crops
  • American Indian Flute Fact 13: The music produced by the flutes had a highly distinctive, plaintiff sound that was totally unique to the Native Indians and has seen a surge in popularity in recent times
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