Books detailing the history, mythology, and crafting of the Native American flute.
Interest in crafting the Native American flute has grown steadily since the 1980s, but reliable, specific crafting instruction has been as scarce to come by as reliable accounts of the flute’s history and development. Now there’s Native American Flute Craft, a fully-illustrated manual for crafting Native American flutes, perfect for beginner and pro alike.
In 2012, Cooperative Ink published C.S. Fuqua’s The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, which explores the instrument’s true history and mythology while also providing a section on crafting, geared primarily to experienced woodworkers. In response to suggestions from readers, Fuqua produced Native American Flute Craft, an in-depth manual for crafters of all levels to build the Native American flute, including the ancient Anasazi flute, modern two-chamber flute, drone, contrabass, and more. Easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions provide thorough direction to crafting personalized instruments from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo, and PVC.
Native American Flute Craft is now available in print and electronic formats.
Now available through most bookstores, The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft explores the flute’s rich mythology and history to provide a better understanding of the instrument’s true place and function in ancient and modern cultures. The book’s final section provides crafting instructions appropriate for intermediate to advanced crafters.
The Native American flute is popularly known as a “love” flute, an instrument used by males in courting, but it is much more and has been played throughout history by children, women, and men. The commonly accepted mythology of the native flute does nothing but reinforce the negative view of native women as subservient to the male. Take, for example, entries on various internet sites that claim that only men played the flute—no matter the culture or tribe—that its power is completely destroyed by the slightest touch of a woman. Such stories are strictly chauvinistic myth and not accurate history. While hunting and courtship were, indeed, associated with the flute, its uses were more diverse in intent—from celebrations, fertility rites, entertainment—and certainly not restricted to the male.
Discover the true history and mythology of the Native American flute and learn to make your own, including the ancient and modern versions.
Music now available in CD and digital download
Besides his work as a professional author, C.S. Fuqua is also a multi-instrumentalist and craftsman of Native American flutes. His custom flutes are available in wood, bamboo, and PVC and are played by musicians around the world. Contact him for more information if you’re interested in purchasing a custom flute. Scroll to the bottom for a price list and an instructional video to make your own F# Native American flute in PVC.
Ancestors ~ WindPoem IV ~ Native American Flute Meditations available
Ancestors ~ WindPoem IV ~ Native American Flute Meditations is now available through Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and others. It will soon be streamable through internet music services, including Pandora, Deezer, Spotify and others. The album features nine Native American flute instrumentals—53 minutes of music—perfect for meditation and relaxation. Preview the entire album at Bandcamp.
Ancestors instrumentals feature Tegan Fuqua on percussion and C.S. Fuqua on wooden and bamboo Native American flutes, both single-barrel and double-barrel (drone) flutes custom-crafted by C.S. Fuqua. In keeping with tradition, some tunes incorporate nature and other ambient background sounds. “Grandfather” also features a Hang tank drum. Several cuts include contrabass flute that may not be rendered adequately through laptop speakers and some earbuds due to speaker low frequency limitations.
Ancestors is available from Createspace and Amazon.com in CD format for $10.95 plus shipping and Kunaki for $5 plus shipping. If you want the best CD price, Kunaki is the place to go—the total cost is less than the Amazon and Createspace base price before shipping!
Spread the word!
Popular mythology portrays the primary historical use of the Native American flute as a courting instrument used by men, but the courting aspect was only one of the flute’s functions, much like a guitar or any other instrument, and it certainly was not an instrument limited to use strictly by men. Men and women played the native flute for entertainment, in fertility rites, during celebrations and mourning rituals, and simply as a distraction. WindPoem albums celebrate the flute’s rich and inclusive heritage.
For more information on the history, mythology, and crafting of the instrument, check out Chris’s books, The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft and Native American Flute Craft, available through most local and online bookstores.
WindPoem III was slated to be final album in the WindPoem series to feature strictly native flute meditations. Plans obviously changed.
Chris is available for musical and historical presentations regarding the Native American flute. For more more information, please contact him by clicking the email icon.
New EP: Sinner’s Suite, a musical metaphor of life
Announcing release of Sinner’s Suite, a work encompassing five instrumentals that symbolize the stages of a lifetime by combining elements of jazz, New Age, meditative, progressive, Americana, and indigenous styles, utilizing guitar, Native American flute, bass, percussion, and synthesizer.
Thanks to Tegan R. Fuqua for the cover image. Full preview of songs and purchase available now at BandCamp. Also available from iTunes, Amazon.com, and GooglePlay, and streamable through Pandora and other music streaming services.
WindPoem I, II, III, IV ~ Native American Flute Meditations
WindPoem I, II, III, and IV are now available. WindPoem instrumentals, perfect for meditation and relaxation, feature wood and bamboo Native American flutes accompanied by Hang drum, traditional drum, and nature sounds. WindPoem V is in pre-production. Chris’s music can be licensed directly from him or through Pond5.
WindPoem Flutes ~ Simplicity for the Musician’s Sake
C. S. Fuqua has been researching, playing, and crafting Native American flutes for nearly three decades, penning two books—The Native American Flute ~ Myth, History, Craft and Native American Flute Craft—and marketing his bamboo, wood, and PVC flutes under the WindPoem banner. Flutes are custom-handcrafted from naturally-downed bamboo, budget-priced PVC pipe, and sustainable wood. WindPoem flutes are available in a variety of keys.
Though the origin of the Native American flute is shrouded in mystery, flutes were common to Native American nations and played by women and men in various activities. Unlike ancient native flutes, crafted and tuned uniquely by the craftsman, modern Native American flutes are tuned in the standard pentatonic scale. The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft and Native American Flute Craft, available through most bookstores and online book dealers, provide a detailed account of the Native American flute’s history and include complete instructions for crafting both ancient and modern versions of the flute.
Chris concentrates first and foremost on sound quality. Most of his flutes are functional in design, but he will craft specially requested artistic flutes with custom-carved fetishes if desired. Although specially-carved fetishes will increase the cost of the flute considerably, the sound quality will prove no better than the sound of a standard flute with a simple fetish.
WindPoem Multi-Barrel Flute System
After years of making Native American flutes, Chris wondered if a system of interchangeable flute barrels utilizing one head would offer a quicker, more cost-effective method for Native American flutes crafted with PVC. The PVC system he developed utilizes a single head for two or more interchangeable barrels of different keys. The system provides key versatility while cutting costs and time expended on the more tedious construction of a fipple/fetish/head for each flute. The system he crafts includes the keys of E, F, F#, and G. With early models, he crafted a slide-on PVC fetish like that pictured in the graphic below, but he prefers a conventional tie-on fetish for a cleaner, stronger sound. The system pictured above is typical of those he now crafts. Many thanks to good friend, writer, and musician Dick Claassen for creating the flute system chart below.
Sample Flutes & Sounds
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PVC Flute System
High D Bamboo
Low D Bamboo
E Wooden Drone
Low D# Bamboo
Low B Bamboo
Custom fetishes add to the cost considerably, in many instances doubling it. The sound quality is the most important factor in all flutes. Fluteswith a basic fetish sound as good as flutes with a custom-carved fetish. The goal is to craft instruments that sound their best, whether they are basic or ornate in design.
Wooden flutes available in the keys of E, F, F#, G, G#, and A. Prices begin at $125 plus shipping for basic design flute and fetish.
Bamboo: I am now located in New Mexico, no longer have direct access to a bamboo grove to select bamboo appropriate for flute crafting, and have, at least for now, depleted my stock of bamboo. I will again offer flutes in bamboo when I establish a relationship with a reliable supplier of appropriate quality bamboo. Standard prices for past bamboo flutes ranged from $45 to $175, plus shipping. Please inquire on availability to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PVC standard flute in E, F, F#, G, A—$45 plus shipping
PVC Low C#, D, D#—$50 plus shipping
PVC single head/multi-barrel system—available barrel keys E, F, F#, and G:
- 2-barrel system: $70 plus shipping
- 3-barrel system: $102 plus shipping
- 4-barrel system: $135 plus shipping
Orders & Inquiries
To inquire about flute availability or to place an order, contact me. I do not accept pre-payment. Flutes are made to order. Upon completion, sound and image files will be provided. If you’re happy with what you see and hear, payment is then accepted and the flute shipped.
Make your own flute!
For those who want to make their own instrument, please check out the video below, providing complete instruction for crafting an F# PVC Native American flute. Please note that the sound hole placement listed in the video is incorrect. Sound hole placement should be 14 centimeters from the blowing end, not 40 centimeters as listed. I apologize for the typographical error.