Published on June 8, 2014 by Carol
R. Carlos Nakai, the famous Native American (Navajo/Ute) flutist has made many flute music albums. He describes the Native American cedar flute, “as a sound sculpture, a piece of art that also creates sound.”
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Nakai, who like most Native American flute players, handcrafts his own flutes discovered over the years that cedar wood is the best type of wood for making flutes. Nakai also found that there are no specific dimensions the Native American wooden flute must have. The dimensions of the holes and air column of a cedar flute is based on the size of the players hand and fingers. This is why each flute has a unique pitch and sound, making the tonality of each instrument different from all the others.
Another famous flute player of mixed Cherokee descent, Carlos Reynosa, recently explained the Native American philosophy concerning flute music. He told an audience eagar to learn about Native flute music: “Indians listened to natural sounds because they lived in a natural place.”
“And did you know? Some Native Americans believe that if you’re so quiet, you can hear the Earth’s heart beating.”
“Each flute is a prayer. It’s a prayer when you play it, and a prayer when you make it.”
“That’s when we know we’re alive – when we can feel things,” said Reynosa.