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Native American Flute: Magical Beautiful Music

Updated on October 31, 2018
Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis has a strong affinity for Native American traditions, beliefs, and spirituality.

Native American With Courting Flute

The courting flute sends out a message of love.
The courting flute sends out a message of love. | Source

The Flute Opens the Heart and Calls to the Spirit

The Native American flute is unsurpassed in conveying love with magical, beautiful music. It opens the heart and calls to the spirit of an intended love as it touches the spirit of the one playing the flute.

The Native style flute has a history of over twenty five hundred years. The Seneca call it "Ya-oh-da-was-ta". Not only was it played for speaking of love but also for some celebrations and even today for ceremonies and weddings. The Native American flute is considered a sacred instrument from Creator. Often it is played in the early morning to welcome the new day or played just because it is so peaceful and spiritual and soothes the soul. To listen to this music is to travel to another place, another time, where there is only peace and serenity. The music is hauntingly beautiful.

There is nothing quite as loving and peaceful as the sound of the notes from a Native American flute drifting through the cool evening air to rest in the heart of a lover. So many years ago, the young Woodland Indian men made their own flutes and called to the young woman they loved with music from their hearts. The sound of the love notes gently flowing through the woodlands, from the flute of the young man courting his beloved, was magical and endearing. The love song fell on the right ear, for the young girl knew which music was hers and recognized the notes of her own young man, for it was his inner song. The music was formed in his heart and the flute sent it out to his beloved. It was a spiritual ritual of love, honor and dedication.


Native American Flutes

Native American flute made by Rick Heller, 2001
Native American flute made by Rick Heller, 2001 | Source
Native American flute crafted by Chief Arthur Two-Crows, 1987
Native American flute crafted by Chief Arthur Two-Crows, 1987 | Source

Charles Littleleaf

Love Notes

The flute is an instrument of love and from it come the love notes that are born in the heart.

The Dakota have a beautiful story of a young man who was brave in battles and hunting the buffalo, but very shy about speaking what was in his heart. He could not find the way to tell the young girl he wanted to marry how he felt. In a dream, while sleeping by a stream in the woods, he was told by the Elk Men about a flute that all the animals helped to make, how woodpecker made holes in it with his beak and that all the voices of the birds and animals were in it. He was told that the flute would speak the words of love that his voice could not.

When he awoke, the spiritual flute was lying on a bed of sage near the spring. When he returned to the hill above his camp he played the flute and the music spoke to the girl he loved. She knew that the music expressed the words he could not say, and it went straight to her heart -- "I love you," is what she heard.

Another story, probably from Woodland tribes, is that Woodpecker made many holes in hollow branches of trees as he searched for insects. When the wind blew, it whistled through the branches along the holes. Anyone near to the tree would hear the music of Woodpecker.


History of the Native American Flute

Flute playing has made a remarkable and longed for comeback after being almost lost to time in the early days of strict and unfair reservation rules and laws. The very things that make Native American people unique and admired for today, like their music, was seen as too "Indian" in the early days of government trying to "civilize" American Indians.

It is believed by some that the Native American flute was first made by the Anasazi, The Ancient Ones.

Regardless of it's origins, it truly is the one musical instrument that belongs to the indigenous people of North America. No one is positively sure about the Anasazi creating the first flutes, but it is wonderful to believe that the sound of this spiritually inspired instrument of love would have drifted through the pueblos of such an ancient and honored people and their culture.


Anasazi Cliff Dwellings: Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park.
Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park. | Source

Kokopelli and the Time of Rebirth

Kokopelli, the mysterious flute player, embodies the spirit of music. His return in the spring is the time of rebirth. His origins seem to come from the ancient Anasazi culture -- yet no one really knows where his home was. Tribes of the American Southwest have known and revered Kokopelli for over 3,000 years.

Every year, towards the end of winter, people of villages all over the southwest would anxiously await the arrival of Kokopelli, for he was the symbol of fertility and brought assurance of well-being for crops and hunting, for restoring and replenishing, and for chasing away winter by playing his flute, so spring could once again warm Mother Earth. When the sound of a flute could be heard from a distance, the people rejoiced and made preparations to welcome their beloved Kokopelli. The singing and dancing would begin, for this was the time of rebirth.

The Hopi, who still live in the Four Corners area, are closely connected to the Ancient Ones and still today revere Kokopelli as a fertility god, sacred figure, healer, and giver of abundance. Throughout the Southwest, Kokopelli can be seen in rock art and petroglyphs. His hunch-backed figure, feathered head and shown as dancing and playing the flute, is unmistakable.

Kokopelli, Fertility Deity, the Humpbacked Flute Player

Kokopelli and Kokopelli Mana as depicted by the Hopi.
Kokopelli and Kokopelli Mana as depicted by the Hopi. | Source

Today's Flute Makers and Musicians

We are fortunate indeed to be able to have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most spiritual music in the world with the great talents of today's flute makers and musicians.

Waking Spirit Flutes with Vance Pennington is a site that is a wonderful experience to visit. Vance makes beautiful Native style flutes and offers tutorials. His galleries show the different types of flutes and a little history on how the gift of flute making was bestowed upon him by Creator. There are many flute makers today who make astonishingly beautiful wooden flutes, some customized with totems of your choice. No two flutes are alike for each has it's own song to sing that comes from the heart of the one who plays it.

If you are wondering what gift to give to your beloved for any time of the year, try giving him or her the romantic and beautiful music of the Indian Love Flute. Both of you will truly enjoy it. Learning to play the Native American flute yourself will add even more to the romantic gift by giving your loved one a song from your heart.

~ ~ ~ ~

Note From Author

I have a friend who played beautiful music from her Native American flute. She played a lovely song for us at our Mother's memorial service, which was very heart warming. She said it was a song to help Mother on her spiritual journey. When I tried to to tell her later how lovely the song was and what it meant to me, I could barely speak. She patiently waited, with understanding and compassion. All I could manage to say was, "Will you teach me to play?" She said she would - that the music comes from the soul, but, she would teach me how to use the flute to bring out its own spirit sound. I lost touch with her after the memorial, but I still have her song and her teaching in my heart.

Another friend, about a year after the memorial, let me borrow an old Native American flute of hers. When I first tried to play it, a very spiritual song came out. My friend said she wished she had recorded it, but, was so astonished that she did not want to disrupt the mood. "Everyone has a spiritual song within them, " she said, "the flute hears it and brings it out." I still do not have my own flute, and will be getting one before long.

Thank you for reading my hub. Your opinions are important to me and let me know your interests. This helps me to offer more of your favorite type articles to read. Your time and interest are very much appreciated. I hope to hear from you in the comments section below.

Blessings and may you always walk in peace and harmony., softly upon Mother Earth.

Phyllis Doyle Burns

© 2012 Phyllis Doyle Burns

Comments

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    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Patty. I am so glad you like the article. It is great that the flute melodies benefit you in that way. OMGosh ! To have a flute from the Six Nations will be such a wonderful thing for you. I am happy for you. You will find the song in your heart and your flute will play it. I do not have my flute yet, but soon, I hope.

      Thanks, Patty, for your visit and comment. Your comment is a nice contribution to my article.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for this article -- Native American and Korean flute melodies seem to lift any burden from me. I regret the loss of your Mother, but revel in the fact that you received such a song for your remembrances and healing. This is a supernatural blessing, I think.

      In Central Ohio, we had a magical Native North American shop that carried flutes handcrafted by a local Mohawk man. The flutes flew out of the store as soon they they were displayed in the showcase and I was on the waiting list as the store closed and moved to parts unknown. Now, I just found that the place to have these particular flutes made is within the Six Nations Reserve, from the wood growing naturally there, and I mean to go there asap.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      I so agree.

    • Sunardi profile image

      Sunardi 

      4 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes, the sound is very wonderful without any other music instruments. Natural.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Sunardi. Yes, I read about the Indonesian folk and traditional music. It is very melodious. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Sunardi profile image

      Sunardi 

      4 years ago from Indonesia

      This music tool is still used here in Indonesia by Dangdut Musician.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Phyllis,

      You are welcome. I told you when I saw your Hubs that I was interested I have just been a little busy. :-)

      Kevin

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      My apologies, Kevin - his name is Vance Pennington, not Pendleton (sorry, Vance).

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Kevin. Thank you so much -- I am so glad you like the hub. Charles Littleleaf is quite popular in the Native American flute music genre. All his music is focused on and comes from his experience of Mother Earth spirituality. His music is beautiful. I would love to get a flute made by him or Vance Pendleton. Vance has told me whenever I am ready, he will custom make mine with my totem on it. ... someday I will do this (they are expensive, but well worth the price). I so appreciate your visit and comment. Thanks again.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      This was great Phyllis, I loved it. I give it two thumbs up!! I used to play the recorder and harmonica, I thought about the flute next but I was sidetracked. I just love native Indian music. I am sure that I have heard or read the name 'Charles Littleleaf' from somewhere but I cannot remember where.

      Kevin

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      beingwell, thank you for the visit, comment and vote -- it is very much appreciated.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 

      6 years ago from Bangkok

      Great hub! I learned a lot of new things about the Native Americans. Voting up and sharing.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Pat. Thank you so much for the visit and and your lovely comment. May you walk in peace and harmony.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are so right...the sounds from the flute do take me to another place. It has always done so. It calms my soul and speaks to my spirit just as you have shared.

      Thanks for this article...it is a way for those who do not know this beautiful music to learn and enjoy.

      Sending Angels your way...:) ps

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thank you, midget, for your visit and comment. Yes, flute music is very ethereal and alluring. I appreciate your comment.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for bringing this bit of history to us, Phyllis! Flutes always produce an ethereal, alluring sound. I have heard the native American flute and will certainly say it does that! Thanks for sharing!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Ah! James, thank you for reading and listening to the music. It does my heart good to read such a wonderful comment like this. Listening to this music is very relaxing for me. I often listen to it when I am meditating on my writing. I know how much you appreciate music, so am very happy you like my hub. I will have to go and find some Andes music now. Thank you! Blessings and walk in peace and harmony.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Beautiful music! Excellent Hub. I enjoyed both videos, too. I love this soothing music. I have a CD I bought at an Art Fair from a group of musicians from the Andes who play the traditional music of their native culture, which is similar. It is quite relaxing. Thank you for this pleasure.

      James

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Rustcliving, I am so glad you like my hub. Your friend must be a peaceful person -- anyone who plays the Native American flute is in tune with peace and serenity. I love to watch the video of Charles Littleleaf and how the music soothed his soul.

      Thank you for the visit and the votes. It is much appreciated.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Liz Rayen 

      6 years ago from California

      I love Charles Littleleaf. I have a wonderful friend who is a flautest and has played for many pow wows. The peacefulness of the native American flute is so therapeutic. Beautiful hub. Love the video with Charles.

      Thumbs up and shared! Namaste.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi ahorseback. Thank you for the visit and comments. I will check out Frank Nakia, thank you for the tip. And thank you also for your fan mail, it is much appreciated.

    • profile image

      ahorseback 

      6 years ago

      Hi Phyllis , I love this and I love flute music ! I want you to check out Frank Nakia !...... An Navajo Indian flutist that moves me deaply ! Excellent Hub ! ......I must check out more of your stuff , it looks amazing !.......:-} Thank you for the fan mail !

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Greetings, Alastar. It is always good to hear from you. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. The Native Americans have played flutes for generations. When the NA peoples were put on reservations, they were not allowed even the small things they loved that defined their cultures -- one of these things was their music and musical instruments, including the flute. Vance Pennington at Waking Spirit, would know more about this. He not only makes beautiful flutes, he knows the history of them with the NA peoples. I want to find out more about these things and write about it.

      Thanks again, Alastar, for your visit.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      This is wonderful Phyllis- never knew of the Nat Amer playing flutes or the woodpecker stories!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      pstraubie, thank you so much for stopping by, reading and commenting. I can tell you have a deep love for Nature and I so admire that. Thank you for the votes.

      lrc7815, thank you so much for your visit and comments. The NA flute is very special music for me to listen to, for it does speak to the heart and soul. Thank you for your vote up.

      Eddy, thank you so much for the visit and comment. It is always wonderful to hear from you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      6 years ago from Wales

      So interesting and well informed.

      Eddy.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      6 years ago from Central Virginia

      What a beautiful hub! I have always loved the flute and have often been mesmerized by the haunting melodies. Like people, each flute has it's own personality. You captured the feeling of the flute perfectly! Voted up!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      Lovely. And the music is enchanting and takes me to another place every time I listen. My Mother was of Cherokee descent and she taught us to love the land and all things of nature.

      The story of the woodpecker poking holes in the flute and the voices of birds and animals was in it can explain why the music is so moving thank you for sharing this. Voted up and up and away.

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