The Elderberry, A Branch that Makes Music

This is a Native American-Style flute made from an Elderberry
branch that 
I found while on a hike in my area.

The Native Americans used to make flutes out of Elderberry stalks. (branches) They would hollow out the stems and remove the pith from the inside of the stalk. Setting aside the pith for later and used it as tinder to start fires. In the old days, everything that the Creator gave the native people was used

Once the branch was hollowed-out they could blow on one end to get a sound, kind of like blowing into an empty bottle. Next, they carefully bore evenly-spaced holes in the branch. By placing their fingers on the holes along the branch they could play a melody. Removing their fingers one at a time they learned to play different notes. It was said that whistles were made the same way, as well as ceremonial pipes. They also used the sticks to make a beat that was used to dance or sing by clapping them together.

Elderberry Stalks

The Elderberry was considered a sacred tree by the Cherokee and many of the native tribes. Every part of the elderberry was used: the stem, the pith, the bark, the leaves, the flowers, and the berries! A tea could be made by drying the flowers. Elderberry Syrup was made from the berries and is still used today by many to treat and shorten the duration of colds and the flu. Some people even make wine and jelly from the berries.

Elderberries

I’m always in awe of nature and find it amazing that I can go on a hike near my house and find a bush or tree with so many incredible uses. Making flutes and music from Elderberry branches is my new favorite way to create. The branches make a beautiful looking flute that also happens to have a gorgeous voice.


Elderberry Bush 

I also just this week read that Prince Harry and his fiance, Meghan Markle are planning on having a Lemon and Elderflower Wedding Cake!!!  YUM! 

If you are interested in purchasing an Elderberry Flute from me, click this direct link to my Shop page!

Different Woods Have Different Tones

You may have heard some folks talk about flutes made of softwood having a different sound than those made of hardwood. Softwood is a type of wood that comes from a coniferous tree, such as cedar, redwood, or pine. Hardwoods come from a deciduous tree, such as an oak or maple. The softwoods are less dense than the hardwoods. You may have also heard that a  medium-toned flute made of a softwood, such as cedar pine or redwood, will have a softer more mellow tone than a hardwood flute.The placement of the sound hole, the location of the finger holes, and the wall thickness will probably have more influence on the tone than the type of wood used. 

An additional factor is whether the flute is tuned to 440 Hz or 432 Hz. A flute tuned in a 432 Hz will have a softer and more relaxing sound than a flute tuned in a 440 Hz. The 432 Hz flute will make the “Sound of Nature.” Even flutes made with the same specifications and the same wood can have a  significant variation in tone. There may be subtle differences between different woods in respect to their tones, but the biggest influence is in how the flute is made. There are a number of natural stocks that have hollow centers, that are used to make flutes. Bamboo, sawgrass, elderberry, sunflower stalks, corn stocks are used to make beautiful natural flutes. Many of the past flutes were made of these materials. These flutes vary in texture and hardness.

If you want to play your flute with another instrument, the flute tuned in 440 Hz would probably be the flute of choice. If you want a flute that will play with the sounds of nature then the 432 Hz-tuned flute would be your best choice. All of the animals and birds seem to gravitate to the 432 Hz flute. 

Another Walking Staff Flute!

This special flute is made of Ebonized Oak.
It plays in the Key of F and is tuned to 432 Hertz. 

About Walking Staff Flutes: I make a flute that doubles as a Walking Staff. I use this kind of flute while hiking in the woods and hills near my home. This style of flute can be used to help with balance or for relaxing and playing a song. The flute is made of solid Oak, designed as a long staff. It can also be used for protection. I was a Karate and Jiu Jitsu instructor for many years and I used to give lessons on how to protect yourself with a staff approximately this same size. We called it a Bo Staff.  The only difference is that the Bo Staff wouldn’t make music!

To purchase this special flute please visit my Shop! 

Oak Walking Staff Flute

Update: This Flute is now SOLD!

I make a flute that doubles as a Walking Staff. I use this kind of flute while hiking in the woods and hills near my home. This style of flute can be used to help with balance or for relaxing and playing a song. The flute is made of solid Oak, designed as a long staff. It can also be used for protection. I was a Karate and Jiu Jitsu instructor for many years and I used to give lessons on how to protect yourself with a staff approximately this same size. We called it a Bo Staff.  The only difference is that the Bo Staff wouldn’t make music!

I’ve marked this beautiful, oak Walking Staff Flute down this week! Here’s the link: Walking Staff Flutes 

This Week’s Feature: Bass-Toned, Bamboo Flutes!

Bamboo is considered an exotic wood, although it can be found in the United States. My bamboo flutes are a great and affordable way to start on your flute-playing adventure. While they sound beautiful, (some of my favorite personal flutes are bamboo) they are less expensive than my other exotic woods, as well as the hard wood flutes.

This week I am featuring two bamboo flutes. They are both bass-toned flutes. This red bamboo flute plays in the key of G, and the brown flute plays in the key of F.

To purchase, or for other bamboo options, please visit Bamboo River Cane in my Shop. To see all of my flutes, please simply click on Shop. Thank you!

How to Choose Which Flute is Right for You

The sound quality of a flute is influenced by the pitch of the flute, and the size of the flute, as well as the type of wood. Focusing on the pitch, you can choose a flute from the following ranges.

HIGH TONE (SOPRANO) FLUTES

Soprano (small size) flutes play with a high pitch. They come in the keys of A, G, and D minor. These are the highest pitch flutes.

MEDIUM TONE (TENOR FLUTES)

Tenor flutes (medium size) and are the most versatile. These are often called ‘Love Flutes.’ They come in the keys of A, G, F#, and E minor pentatonic.

LOW TONE (BASS) FLUTES

Bass flutes (large size) are deep-toned and produce a soft, haunting voice. These are often called ‘Grandfather Flutes’ and they come in the keys of D, C, B, and A minor pentatonic
(D minor flutes are highest pitched flute in this range)

DRONE FLUTES

Drone flutes are two-flutes-in-one. In the alto/tenor range, you can play a continuous drone through the left chamber, while playing the melody on the right. Or, you can play the melody on the right chamber independently as a solo flute. Drone Flutes come in the keys A, G, and F# minor pentatonic .

FLUTE SIZES

Suncrow Flutes are made in various sizes and keys. Each flute has a specific finger-hole spacing. The key of the flute relates not only to its pitch, but also to its physical size.

The small size flute is easy for a child or an adult with smaller hands to play. This flute is very popular with people who want to carry their flute in their pocket.

The medium size flute (Love Flute) is ideal for the average person to play. The finger- hole spacing is within reach of any adult.

The large flutes (Bass Flutes)  are better with someone with larger hands because of the distance between the  holes. The deeper the tone of the flute the farther apart are the finger holes, thus a little harder for a person with small hands to play.

Walking Staff  Flutes are Bass Flutes and are keyed in deeper tones.

Drone flutes, being two-flutes-in-one, will take a little time to comfortably play. They are wider and take a little more breath to play both chambers at the same time.

For more information and or help choosing a flute, please contact Howard via Email at suncrowflutes@gmail.com

Visit my Shop to see all of my flutes!

Sale! Medium-Toned Poplar Native American Flute

Update: This flute is SOLD! 


This beautiful, six hole, poplar flute, tuned in the key of C is on sale! The regular price is $125. I have marked it down to $95. Purchase Here 

For more marked down flutes visit my Specials page!

Some of My New Exotic Wood Flutes

pile_of_flutes_med

These flutes are some of my new favorites! They are made from the exotic woods, Purple Heart and Padauk Orange. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they all have beautiful voices. It is such a pleasure to work with these gorgeous, natural woods!

My Thoughts: The Spirit of the Flute, A Song of the Heart

Today, while walking in the woods and playing my flute, I realized how much the voice of the flute was like my own voice.  The song comes from my heart and moves through the wood as a form of a prayer. The outside beauty of the flute has little to do with its voice. Just like people, what is on the outside, or how they look, should have nothing to do with what is on the inside.

We need to learn to look for beauty from within. What a person says and does shows through their actions, and often their actions are show their true spirit.

As an artist, I endeavor to make each flute beautiful. However, it is the sound of the flute that is truly important. Each flute that I create has a special voice – no two are exactly alike. Each kind of wood produces a different vibration, and the voice is never the same. In addition, the person playing the flute makes it sound different! Each flute is truly unique. The wood comes from mother earth, and all of her children are unique.

Why do the animals and birds like the voice of the flutes?  Why do we feel calm and at peace when we hear that voice? Different sounds give us different feelings. What a pleasure to play an instrument that has been played on this earth for thousands of years.

 

A Look at the Different Woods Used in My Flute Making

For many years I have been making flutes out of cedar. Cedar is a soft wood that has a beautiful voice. These days I have been able to find many different woods that also sound great! Many of them are considered to be hardwoods. Some are exotic woods. (From countries other than the U.S.) I have learned that every wood has its own, special voice and they all sound beautiful.  I like to call the Native American flute “The wood that sings!”

 Soft Woods

  • Aromatic Cedar (Western)
  • Red Cedar (Eastern)
  • White Cedar
  • Cherry
  • Redwood

Hard Woods

  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Birch
  • Poplar
  • Maple

Exotic Woods

  • Padauk (orange)
  • Purple heart (purple)
  • Yellow heart (yellow)
  • Zebra

For photos and prices see my Shop!