Flutopedia - an Encyclopedia for the Native American Flute

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Native American Flute Song Book

The Native Flute Handbook

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This section of pages make up the Flutopedia Song Book. Most of these songs are scored using Nakai Tablature with Finger diagrams.

The songs of a people furnish an entrance to their inner life, which, if we would understand them, we cannot neglect. This is especiaI1y true of a barbarous people, whose outward life is rough and forbidding. It is not enough for us┬Ěto note their uncouth dress and rude ways. Such curiosity-shop knowledge is neither complete nor just, because it is not sympathetic; being content with observing the life of habit, it does not reach the real life, the life of feeling.

Taking the truer method, we find the Dakotas to be men and women of like passions with ourselves. And they in like manner find in music and song their greatest means of emotional expression; either in the stirring songs of the chase or of war, or the p1aintive melodies of love, or the weird chants of their sacred mysteries.
— Stephen Return Riggs [Riggs 1869] Tah-koo Wah-kan or, The Gospel Among the Dakotas
Aside from its scientific value, this music possesses a charm of spontaneity that cannot fail to please those who would come near to nature and enjoy the expression of emotion untrammelled by the intellectual control of schools. These songs are like the wild flowers that have not yet come under the transforming hand of the gardener.
— Alice C. Fletcher [Fletcher 1900] Indian Story and Song from North America

There are many books of transcribed music, as well as web sites that provide sheet music – far more music than is in the Flutopedia Song Book:

Christmas Songs and Duets by Ami Sarasvati

PDF version of
Christmas Songs and Duets
by Ami Sarasvati Larger image

It's not my goal to replace these resources or duplicate their efforts. My direction is to connect the songs with their history and stories.

So, browse through these songs (you can use the Previous PageNext Page buttons on the top-right to go through the songs alphabetically) and check out some of the stories and songs. (Of course, some are still under development.)

Alternately, here are the songs loosely grouped by rough categories:

Historical and Archaeological

These songs have a history that pre-dates the written history of Western and North American indigenous cultures. They are included in Flutopedia because I have found them to be interesting from the perspective of the historical development of human musicality.

Traditional Native American Songs

These melodies are directly from or (as best I know based on documented evidence) are strongly rooted in traditional Native American melodies. These songs include some songs from the Indianist movement that have traditional roots.

The Indianist Movement

I consider these songs to be part of the Indianist Movement. Some have roots in traditional Native American melodies and were harmonized or heavily modified by the arranger, and some are original, non-traditional melodies developed by the composer.

In this category, you can also check out the transcriptions and comopositions by Thurlow Lieurance that are available in PDF format ([Lieurance 1913a] Nine Indian Songs with Descriptive Notes (song book)).

Original Compositions


These songs have roots in traditional American folk, country, or rhythm and blues.

Cultural Folk Songs

These songs are folk melodies from world cultures:

Popular Music

These songs were composed (relatively) recently:

Hymns, Carols, and Devotional Chants

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