Rim Blown Flutes

The flutes that I call “rim blown” are in fact modern day interpretations of some of the ancient artifacts found in caves in the American Southwest.  The modern version looks a bit different than the antique flutes, but they play intervals that are consistent with the tuning of some of these relics. 

The original flutes are ancient instruments dating back hundreds (possibly thousands) of years. Who were the people that our modern culture calls the Anasazi? They were the ancestors of the modern Pueblo people living in New Mexico and Arizona. There never was an “Anasazi tribe”, nor did anyone ever call themselves by that name. Anasazi is originally a Navajo word that archaeologists applied to people who farmed the Four Corners area before 1300 AD. This word is currently used (and many would say “misused”) to refer to the flutes that are inspired by the work of the Pueblo people of long ago (since no one knows what they called themselves). 

As with other embouchure flutes, the player uses their mouth to direct the airflow across the rim of the flute, thus creating the tone. 

These instruments–contemporary versions in the style of the early Pueblo flutes– are considerably more difficult to play than a fipple flute (such as a whistle or a Native American style flute), and they represent one of the most satisfying challenges to the flute player. Do not expect to simply pick one up and start playing! These flutes take time and patience to master, but they are well worth the effort.

I make this style of flute in a number of different tunings that go by different names.  The standard tuning I use is a pentatonic major scale available in the keys of F#,G, Aflat, A, Bflat and B.  There is a minor tuned version called the Mojave 6 as well, only available in the key of B.

For more information on these instruments and their variations, I strongly encourage a visit to Scott August’s website.



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