P.O. Box 3847, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147   •   970 264 5366   •  NighteagleFlutes@gmail.com
Please note:
Due to an injury, the production of Nighteagle Flutes is at a temporary halt. The flutes listed for sale online at this time are the whole of our inventory.
Hopefully we'll be back making flutes before long. Thanks for your patience meanwhile.

How to Play the Native American style Flute

This basic scale is the simple, natural scale of the Native American style Flute. Each vertical column of circles represents your six-hole flute.

The left hand is on top and covers the top three holes with index, middle, and ring fingers.

The right hand is on the bottom and covers the bottom three holes with index, middle, and ring fingers.

The black circles are covered, or closed, holes. The white circles are uncovered, or open, holes.

To begin at the bottom of the scale, start with the note at the left of the chart with all holes covered. Then uncover the lowest hole by raising the right hand ring finger. Slowly move up the scale as you get comfortable with each note.

You may have trouble covering all of the holes at first, and the flute may squeak if all holes aren't completely covered. In this case, begin at the right of the chart with the high note (only one hole covered), and work down the scale, slowly adding fingers as you are comfortable.

This Extended Scale chart shows the chromatic octave (and minor third below) that most Native American style flutes can play.

As with the Basic Scale chart, the lowest note is at the left, the highest at the right.

This chart may help you if you are searching for a note by ear and can't figure out how to finger it.

Basic Articulation: Tonguing is a wind player's technique that gives notes a defined beginning, and separates repeated notes. A combination of tonguing and slurring (moving from note to note without tonguing) makes for expressive playing.

To practice tonguing, say either "tu" or "du," without vocalizing, as you begin a note. To refine your tonguing, play a long note, tonguing several times as you hold the note. Only the strike of the tongue should interrupt the steady airflow; the air itself should not stop and start. When you are comfortable with this, try moving between notes, tonguing each note. Coordinating tongue and fingers may take some time and is best accomplished with slow, even practice.

Expression is the spirit of music, and perhaps its highest purpose. Technique is the mind of music. As it develops, it allows the expression of the spirit to blossom in a rich and satisfying way.

When served by a well-rounded and able technique, music is free to soar to the heights of expression. Technique as an end in itself, though, is merely an exercise.

Listening to a variety of good Native American style flute players will help you develop your own expression and technique.

Always remember, beauty can be found in even one note.