Many years ago, when I co-owned and co-operated Awe-Struck E-Books, one of the first ebook publishers on the Net, we eventually were publishing more than 400 titles by more than 100 authors. It was a lot of work, but it was also great fun. We were selling ebooks like crazy from 1999 to 2009. But we finally wore ourselves out with it and have since sold it to another entrepreneur. During that 10 years of enjoyable madness I was writing my own books and publishing them through our company. Even though I had my own books published prior to the formation of my own publishing company, I seized the opportunity to publish myself through Awe-Struck. I must say it was a heck of a lot easier than trying to get my books published by strangers! It also gave me the opportunity to write whatever I pleased. The privilege of experimenting is a mighty gift! When you publish your own books you needn’t worry about having your books rejected! And so, in great earnest, I began writing books on how to play the Native American flute, of all things. I didn’t expect anyone to be interested enough in the NAF to actually buy a book. But I’ve since written quite a few how-to books on this very subject. It’s a wonder because my first flute book had crudely laid out tablatures; I hadn’t found music composition software yet. In fact, I don’t think the software I finally settled on, Tab|Edit, was even available when I wrote my first flute book. I had to settle with pecking out the fingering configurations in the Courier font, a monospaced font that made it easy to line characters up vertically, something absolutely necessary when writing any type of tablature. Eventually, though, I found Tab|Edit, learned how to use it, and overnight my tablatures took on a professional look. I redid all my flute books using this new tablature, and before I knew it I was selling a ton of flute books. I had no idea people were so hungry for how to make music on the Native American flute.
Most of my flute books are available as a PDF ebook. These can be read on your laptop or your tablet. It can also be printed on your home printer, or by your copy shop. I have since put to print the first flute book I’ve ever written titled, “Celebrate the Native American Flute.” It’s quite comprehensive and is immensely popular. But my most comprehensive book, by far, is the flute book titled, “Earth Flute.” It’s currently available in PDF, but I’m working on the print version as I write this blog article. There is so much music in the NAF, and I know that many musicians don’t realize this. And so as I was putting together the 50 music samples to show this, those 50 free samples that will be part of the book, I decided I would write a convincing demonstration of the flute and its little known chromatic scale. It’s a 5-minute demonstration that you might like to listen to. I’ve posted it here— key change demonstration
Scroll down until you see “key change demonstration“ where I play the most basic scale, the pentatonic scale. Then I play the extended pentatonic scale. Then I play the chromatic scale, a scale that includes the “black” keys as well as the “white” keys, (think of a piano keyboard). And finally I play the first section of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, (a top forty hit 🙂 ), in six different keys, all six keys on just one 6-hole flute! Most players aren’t aware this is even possible on the Native American flute. But it is. This humble tube with just six holes varying the pitch will give you any melody you might want from it. We tend to forget that the sophisticated and more familiar metal-keyed flute is a fairly new development in our musical history. In fact, metal keys on the closed end transverse flute first appeared in the 1800s. The Native American flute has no metal keys. The flute without metal keys first appeared thousands of years ago with the first flute appearing as far back as 45,000 years! Those early flutes were made from bird bones with two to four holes drilled into them, and the flute was the first wind instrument to appear in our history. (For more fascinating info on this, go to Wikipedia.org and type in “flute.”) Here’s the question: what kind of mind figured out that first flute? The wheel was far easier to develop than a device you blow into and get sound. A log rolling down a hill would help man make the leap to a wheel. But what kind of mind would devise a thing that would allow a human to make organized sound…? Wooo-eeeee-ooooooooo…. J
The 6-hole NAF is an extremely powerful instrument. You can get just about any note you might want from it. You can stick with the very simple pentatonic scale, the root scale of every culture on this planet. Or you can reach out and explore. Do you remember that iconic scene in the movie, 2001, where the ape throws up a bone and the bone turns into a starship? Your flute is like that bone. Reach out with it, and before you realize it your flute will turn into a starship and you’ll be the commander! Beam me up, baby!
NOTE: I’m hard at work getting my book, Earth Flute, into print. When I release it, along with the 50 free audio samples from the book, I will let you know. You can learn all about my music books on this website under the MUSIC BOOKS menu tab.