Native American flutes - design and playing

The fetish


The flutes are named after various birds of prey in North America. The artistically designed birdfetish on top of the flute lends it a symbolic connection to the respective animal and also takes on an important function for the sound formation: The secret of these flutes is that they are a kind of transverse flute, which is played like a recorder. The air moves from the mouthpiece under the bird totem. There the air is compressed and flows over the labium.
Tip: The flute should be played at a right angle to the body otherwise the opening of the bird totem collects humidity from the breath and the tune is smothered. Use normal flute cleaning pipes on both sides.



Playing techniques

For the beginner the flutes can be played intuitivly with 5 holes in a minor pentatonic - therefore an additional 6th hole is covered with a leather band. If this 6th hole is opened, a diatonic scale is available to the discerning player. This can be studied with the fingering-chart in the included booklet .

The flutes have the soft sound character of a transverse flute, but can be played as simply as a normal flute.
The high craftsmanship of the flutes as well as their demand character make it easy for the beginner to improvise.

Suggestions and tips can be found on the attached DVD and on YouTube.


Connection of sound and wood type

High Spirits mainly uses three different types of wood:
Walnut wood is hard and gives the sound of the flute a pure clarity with lots of brilliance. (The hardness of the wood also makes the instrument less sensitive to impacts and scratches)
Aromatic cedar wood is softer and produces a warm, soft tone in the depths and at the same time a clear tone in the heights.
Spanish cedar wood is soft and gives warmth to the sound.

The flutes are oiled with a natural, non-toxic oil several times and thus get this special glossy surface. With the exception of the two pocket flutes, these are oiled only once and their surface appears naturally dull.

Double and triple flutes

double flute

There is one pipe like a regular flut and the second pipe plays the ground pitch, that plays paralell. It sounds as there is a second flute playing. possible for Setup for 5 or 6 tones. The triple flute offers additional modulation possibilities.


High Spirits, notice about aromatic cedar flutes:


"A recent shipment of cedar seems to contain many more knots than usual shipments. Aromatic cedar is still by far the most popular tonal wood we offer. The challenge is that aromatic cedar is not graded because it has a lot of knots, check lines and we have a 50% loss when we make an effort to cut clean sticks for flutes. We make great efforts to use as much of the wood as possible. For us it is not just about money but we are conscious of waste and ecology. A good solution was to replace unstable knots and spots with turquoise which is a sacred stone in much of the Native American cultures. The interesting thing is that from our experience customers (even in Europe) love the turquoise accent because it makes the flute unique and is more closely related to the Native American tradition."