Saturday, November 24, 2007

So Alike

I called up Ken Light today and ordered a Native American flute. Ruth Rhandle let me play a couple of hers at Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival and it was quite a revelation; it was like opening up a channel inside of my core. Of course, I'm just starting off with a plastic one - because it won't break the bank. I didn't realize just how much mountain dulcimers and NAFs had in common until reading this article:

Pentatonic Myth -
There are some who take a nearly religious stance on tuning, spacing, thumb holes, keys, the warble and such. The history of the NAF is long. The plains flute that we all love appears to be a recent invention, maybe 170 years ago. When one go back to the earlier NAFs, one can see many innovations or revolutions in their design. I can say I'm glad for those innovations, because they appear to have eventually led to the plains flute. But I wouldn’t want to see it evolve into the ultimately optimized silver flute. We know where that path leads.

Ain't that something? It's two co-existing pockets of folk culture, both relatively young and highly protective of the simplicity and beauty that each instrument brings.

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