Dirt & Bones: A Little Pipe Music

The above “Native Flute” is my newest musical instrument. I have a long way to go to really be able to play it, but I love its haunting sound. Like a clarinet, it’s played vertically. This particular version is a “G” instrument and by moving a leather band in the middle to cover or uncover a fingerhole, the instrument can be played as a five-hole flute in a minor key or six-hole flute in a major key.

In my current manuscript HORSES OF THE WEST SUN (formerly BONE FIRE), set circa 5700 B.C., one of the major characters, Rolf, plays a flute carved from bone. I based his instrument on a five-hole flute carved from a vulture bone and discovered at a dig site in Hohle Fels, Germany. That flute is estimated to be 40,000 years old! Proof that the flute is one of the first musical instruments ever developed.

Think of all the flute-type instruments that gradually evolved from those first bird bone flutes: clarinets, saxophones, picolos, recorders, even bagpipes.

Have you or do you play any flute-like instrument?

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