Cultural Values of Native American Flute
If you are crazy about music, Native American Flute and its survival history would be fascinating for you. Firstly, Native American Flute has a distinctive sound. And, the natives play it in specific genres, owing to its origin. Secondly, in Native American culture, the flute is an indigenous musical instrument that always carried some symbolic messages. The third and most remarkable factor that makes Native American Flute unique is its great story of survival against colonialism and subsequent developments.
I would say that any culture without music is similar to a body without a soul. From time immemorial, music has played an integral role in the lives of the human race. However, the feel it offers varies from person to person. On the grounds of this notion, let’s understand the Native American Flute and its survival history.
Native American flutes reflected notions about social relationships, spiritual remarkableness, and superior community life. And most notably, the natives perceived those instruments always with great reverence. Unlike the musical instruments of other ancient cultures, Native American flute had to undergo tough times when the Indians confronted cultural depletion.
How Native Americans Perceived the Flute & Music
As evidence shows, music has been a form of entertainment as well as a medium for prayer for almost all cultures around the globe, and Native American culture was no exception. They also maintained that music could transcend the earthly life and take one to the heavenly realm. Music, one must admit, is the realization of the ‘heart’. Moreover, music accompanied by musical instruments amplifies life’s experience.
However, the experience can vary from person to person. If music calms you down, it may lead me to a deep slumber. At the same time, some others may utilize it to improve their cognition. Now think about your own culture, and you will immediately identify the level of influence music has on your ethnicity. It is in this context that Native American Flute and its survival history become a relevant topic for cultural study.
The interesting thing is that the indigenous flute had a predominant role in wooing one’s better half and achieving other personal agendas. The adult male would make a flute of his own and play a tune to attract his mate. Once the female chum responds to this tune, both get spliced up for life. Following this, the female companion breaks the flute in half to prevent the spouse from playing the theme to another female.
“The adult male would make a flute of his own and play a tune to attract his mate.”
If you look through the other facts, you will come to know that the flute held a great significance in active communication with the fellow tribes. All the same, there is also a controversial belief that certain tribes had used this flute for witchcraft (winter rabbit, Nov 19, 2010). However, the verity of these facts stands baseless due to lack of concrete evidence.
Features of Native American Flute
In brief, a Native American Flute is an aerophone with open finger holes and two chambers. One of the chambers inhales the breath of the player and the second chamber resonates with a creative sound. The remnants of these ancient flutes, the enigmatic petroglyphs, and the oral history have relayed a few known facts of these ancient flutes.
You should know how the Native American tribes remained with the primitive Stone Age permanently. The aerophone American Native Flute was the reflection of their cultural beliefs and moral values. The notable fact is that they seldom modified the flute, but instead, preserved it in its true nature and treated it with respect. It did not require anyone to possess hard mouthing techniques to play it. Apart from courting, they used it for healing, meditation, and other spiritual rituals.
“The tools they owned, the life they lived, their religious and community practices depicted a strong inclination towards Mother Nature.”
The Native American flute has a close association with the tribes’ cultural and religious beliefs. Everything in the community fell in perfect sync with nature. The natives remained close to nature and led a life of simplicity. They could not stomach the craving for evolution and so-called development. These beliefs reflected throughout their semi-nomadic lifestyle. The tools they owned, the life they lived, their religious and community practices depicted a strong inclination towards Mother Nature. Although the flute stands second best musical instrument to the drum, it still had its reinvigorating effects on the native American Indian community. The aura of mellowness kept the community together in its practices.
Challenges the Native American Flute Confronted
Even though the Native Americans belonged to a no-nonsense group, the world did not treat them with respect. At the dawn of the European Invasion, the Native Americans became infidels. The foreigners who conquered their world demolished their community, beliefs, and also pulverized their culture. The new generation of Native Americans is forced into the lifestyle of the Western World. Their ideas turned out to be cynical and comical for the foreigners. Also, their musical instruments, even the gentle flute that was a medium of solace, was considered unfashionable. The Native American Flute, the symbol of harmony and mellowness, thus became a victim to the greed for power and possession.
The Great Survival
Although the Native American flute was subsided with its culture, it was not wholly rooted out. The culture and its practices survived under concealment. Some Native Indians were successful in hiding their true identity. In the later years of twentieth-century, a motley crew of music lovers and flutists attempted to revive the Native American Flute. Eventually, the Native American Flute resurfaced along with a few native players. And thus, the world began to realize the physical and mental benefits of this musical instrument (Jones, August 2010).
What do Scholars Say about Native American Flute?
It was the archaeological researchers who revealed that Native Americans and their flute were of remarkable value. Undoubtedly, it was the ignorance of the developing nations that led to the misinterpretation of the culture. In the contemporary world, native flutes are used in Native American ceremonial practices and healing services. The world has realized it as a symbol of harmony. Today, these flutes are manufactured on a large scale for the whole world to reap benefits from it. However, the modern Native American flutes have undergone minor changes inconvenience to the modern musicians (History of the Native American Flute).
The Significance of Native American Flute Today
Today these flutes bridge gap between the diversified worlds. Along with the revival of these flutes, Native American Spirituality is catching up with today’s world. Moreover, the belief that Mother Nature, along with the vegetation and animal life, deserves respect is transforming the lives of people today. Furthermore, The creation of modern music mixed with the traditional American flute and production of books based on them is revolutionizing the spiritual realm of the world.
“The rippling effects of Native American Music promote concord, and it successfully brings people from different religious backgrounds to one common ground.”
As mentioned in the earlier lines, Native American music seems to help the contemporary American community in several respects. The community believes today that music, as a part of the natural world, has a close link to the spiritual world. Obviously, Native American Music promotes concord, and it successfully brings people from different religious backgrounds to one common ground – nurturing life. Respect, patience, acceptance of personal differences, and mutual love are catered through Native American Music. Native American music does not impose itself on any community or belief systems, but the aura of mellowness and serenity is infectious.