Monroe Tsatoke, Kiowa; Belo Cozad, circa 1935, watercolor on paper, 11" x 8."
Monroe Tsatoke, Kiowa; Belo Cozad, circa 1935, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 8.”

The Wildhorse Mountain Flutes website has been revised. During the past 30 or so years, we have witnessed a remarkable and stunning evolution of both Native American Flute craftsmanship and the role of this simple instrument in the expanding world of music. From songs of forebears centuries ago to the concert stages of today, the Native American Flute maintains its influence amongst flute players and flute makers.

Interest by the general public in music of Native American culture probably began with the studies reported by Alice C. Fletcher in 1893, “A Study of Omaha Indian Music”. Emphasis was on songs and she describes the tremulous voice as a prominent feature. Perhaps the “warble” created by some of the old flute makers represents an extension from voice to flute. John C Fillmore in reporting on Ms. Fletcher’s study, described the Native American flute, noting its similarity to the open ‘pipe’ in a pipe organ. Subsequent study of Native American music over a period of 20 or so years, was conducted by Frances Densmore. She includes several photos of flutes in her reports. Some of those are included as black/white photos herein. A summary of her work is presented in “The American Indians and Their Music” (Reprinted by The Woman’s Press, 1976)

“The Art of the Native American Flute” by R. Carlos Nakai and James DeMars (Pub. Canyon Records), introducing the tablature concept, was a seminal event accelerating the entrance of this flute into the mainstream of musical performance including solo, small groups and full orchestras. The evolution continues and as the Native American Flute assumes an ever increasing role in the world of music, so we see it become part of music education beginning with the youngest students (visit Northern Spirit Flutes)

Not a great deal remains documented about the sounds and features of the Native American Flute from days long past but some of what remains is offered in this revised website. There are two galleries herein:

  1. A gallery of flute photos from the 19th and early 20th centuries and
  2. A gallery of selected old flute melodies

A few selections are songs to illustrate how many of the old flute melodies are based upon songs from the human voice. Several of the old flute melodies are also characterized by a rather unique sound, the “warble”, considered by some to reflect the traditional Native American flute. Some selections are traditional melodies played by contemporary musical artists.

These are ‘look and listen’ galleries for your pleasure and knowledge. Links provided on this site provide additional learning experiences relative to the sounds, craftsmanship, history, and versatility of the Native American flute.

This website is dedicated to the memory of three respected members of the Comanche Nation.

Carney Saupitty Sr.: One of the last full-blood Comanche Indians; an honored Comanche Elder; a Comanche language scholar and master craftsman of the traditional Comanche flute.

George “Woogee” and Eva Watchetaker: Spiritual leader; artist champion dancer; flute player and singer.

Again, welcome.

Oliver W. Jones