Making a "Native american"

courting flute


     The most unusual features of the Native American Courting Flute are in the two piece construction of the flute itself, the dual air chambers and the sliding tone assembly, used for optim sound quality.      I imagine the two halves of the original flutes were sealed with pitch or tar to make them air tight, and then bound together with raw hide thongs.  The sliding air director was usually attached with sinew, and once adjusted for the best  sounding tone, no longer needed to be moved.  If you are interested in seeing what some really fine instruments look like, check out the Coyote Old Man site on the web.  These guys make some really beautiful instruments.  I just fool around for my own amusement.

    

    This is one of three i have made so far.  This one is my favorite and the only one that i modeled in three dimensional solds before i actually built it for real with wood.  As this is my third, i had made many changes to the original design.  For one thing i did not like the delicate status of the sliding tone piece, being only tied on with sinew, it is prone to unwanted accidental movement and consequently would need adjustments frequetly.  I am trying to make it more permanent, experimenting with different designs for the sound producing area of the flute.
   I am striving for a good sounding instrument with no protruding parts at all, yet still utilizing the dual air chamber and split construction characteristics of the original design.   Constructing the flute in this fashion lifts the limitation on the length of the instrument.  The only limitation is the length of the arms of the player.  How far away do you want the finger holes?  As far as the other end of the flute goes, it can be 6 feet long if you want it to and it will not matter to the sound of the instrument very much at all.  In the above shot you can see clearly the split construction used in the construction.  The top and bottom halves are put together after the air chambers are routed.

Please excuse the unfinshed status of this page. I will complete it when i get time to build a new one and document the entire process.

 

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