American Indian Flute Music from Smithsonian Folkways

The flute, blown either from an end or from the side, is one of the few indigenous instruments that has survived in American Indian traditional music. As American Indian musicians adapted more and more European influences into their music, including the violin, the snare drum, and even beer can rattles, the flute faded to the background. However, the 1970s brought a revival in flute music, due in part to Doc Tate Nevaquaya. He played traditional songs but also wrote his own compositions and expanded the flute’s repertoire and playing technique. The flute has since then become a symbol of indigenous music and is an important sound in American Indian musics throughout the Americas.