Flutes are the earliest known identifiable musical instruments, as paleolithic examples with hand-bored holes have been found. A number of flutes dating to about 53,000 to 45,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Jura region of present-day Germany. These flutes demonstrate that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe. While the oldest flutes currently known were found in Europe, Asia, too, has a long history with the instrument that has continued into the present day. In China, a playable bone flute was discovered, dated approximately 9000 years old. The Americas also had an ancient flute culture, with instruments found in Caral, Peru, dating back 5000 years  and in Labrador dating back approximately 7500 years.
The oldest flute ever discovered may be a fragment of the femur of a juvenile cave bear, with two to four holes, found at Divje Babe in Slovenia and dated to about 43,000 years ago. However, this has been disputed. In 2008 another flute dated back to at least 35,000 years ago was discovered in Hohle Fels cave near Ulm, Germany. The five-holed flute has a V-shaped mouthpiece and is made from a vulture wing bone. The researchers involved in the discovery officially published their findings in the journal Nature, in August 2009. The discovery was also the oldest confirmed find of any musical instrument in history, until a redating of flutes found in Geißenklösterle cave revealed them to be even older with an age of 42,000 to 43,000 years.
The flute, one of several found, was found in the Hohle Fels cavern next to the Venus of Hohle Fels and a short distance from the oldest known human carving. On announcing the discovery, scientists suggested that the "finds demonstrate the presence of a well-established musical tradition at the time when modern humans colonized Europe". Scientists have also suggested that the discovery of the flute may help to explain "the probable behavioural and cognitive gulf between" Neanderthals and early modern human.
A three-holed flute, 18.7 cm long, made from a mammoth tusk (from the Geißenklösterle cave, near Ulm, in the southern German Swabian Alb and dated to 30,000 to 37,000 years ago) was discovered in 2004, and two flutes made from swan bones excavated a decade earlier (from the same cave in Germany, dated to circa 36,000 years ago) are among the oldest known musical instruments.
In its most basic form, a flute is an open tube which is blown into. After focused study and training, players use controlled air-direction to create an airstream in which the air is aimed downward into the tone hole of the flute's headjoint. There are several broad classes of flutes. With most flutes, the musician blows directly across the edge of the mouthpiece, with 1/4 of their bottom lip covering the embouchure hole. However, some flutes, such as the whistle, gemshorn, flageolet, recorder, tin whistle, tonette, fujara, and ocarina have a duct that directs the air onto the edge (an arrangement that is termed a "fipple"). These are known as fipple flutes. The fipple gives the instrument a distinct timbre which is different from non-fipple flutes and makes the instrument easier to play, but takes a degree of control away from the musician.
Usually in D, wooden transverse flutes were played in European classical music mainly in the period from the early 18th century to the early 19th century. As such, the instrument is often indicated as baroque flute. Gradually marginalized by the Western concert flute in the 19th century, baroque flutes were again played from the late 20th century as part of the historically informed performance practice.
The bamboo flute is an important instrument in Indian classical music, and developed independently of the Western flute. The Hindu God Lord Krishna is traditionally considered a master of the bamboo flute. The Indian flutes are very simple compared to the Western counterparts; they are made of bamboo and are keyless.
The Japanese flute, called the fue, 笛 (hiragana: ふえ), encompasses a large number of musical flutes from Japan, include the end-blown shakuhachi and hotchiku, as well as the transverse gakubue, komabue, ryūteki, nōkan, shinobue, kagurabue and minteki.
The sring (also called blul) is a relatively small, end-blown flute with a nasal tone quality found in the Caucasus region of Eastern Armenia. It is made of wood or cane, usually with seven finger holes and one thumb hole, producing a diatonic scale. One Armenian musicologist believes the sring to be the most characteristic of national Armenian instruments.
Indian flute music, or Indian classical flute music, is a genre of music made by playing one of two Indian flute instruments, the bamboo flute, and the metal flute. The North and Central Indian regions play on the Bansuri flute, and the South region uses the Venu/Pullanguzhal. Classical musicians over the bamboo flute generally prefer the metal flute because most feel it sounds better. Both would be categorized under the same overarching term, "Indian Classical Flutists."
So what type of music reduces stress the best? A bit surprising is that Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud. Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature sounds may also be relaxing particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical (the "largo" movement), and easy listening music. Since with music we are rarely told the beats per minute, how do you choose the relaxation music that is best for you? The answer partly rests with you: You must first like the music being played, and then it must relax you. You could start by simply exploring the music on this web page. Some may relax you, some may not. Forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that irritates you can create tension, not reduce it. If that happens, try looking for alternatives on the internet or consult with Counseling Service staff for other musical suggestions. It is important to remember that quieting your mind does not mean you will automatically feel sleepy. It means your brain and body are relaxed, and with your new calm self, you can then function at your best in many activities.
Marcos Size (Navajo)Marcos Size is a remarkably gifted Navajo (Diné) singer and multi-instrumentalist. He has studied the music of India with Ali Akbhar Khan learning to play the sarod and becoming fluent in the complex rhythmic structures known as talas and in the traditional melodic and harmonic variations known as ragas. In addition to his powerful Navajo singing and drumming in the traditional pow-wow style, he also plays classical Spanish flamenco guitar and incorporates his outstanding musical sensibilities in whatever style he performs in.
Researchers in India exposed two groups of dairy cows to a recorded tape of flute and sitar played at a moderate 40-60 (dB) decibel intensity 10 minutes before the start of milking. This continued until completion of milking. A third control group was not played any music.
When a music educator hears the words improvisation or jazz, feelings ranging from excitement to fear come to mind. For many instrumental students, improvisation is notoriously difficult. The most common type of improvisation is jazz, or pattern, improvisation, which involves creating a melody over a given chord progression or using a set of scales. Pattern improvisation requires extensive knowledge of scales, harmony, and progressions, as well as technical fluency on an instrument. This knowledge takes years to acquire, and the focus on this type of improvisation generally takes place in the senior high school years.
Although the National Standards (1) include achievement standards for improvisation for elementary school students, music teachers sometimes are reluctant to pursue improvisation study with young students. First- and second-year instrumental students, often older elementary or middle school students, may have difficulty studying improvisation because they must also focus on such fundamentals of music as melody, rhythm, and new notes, while learning the basic principles of playing an instrument, such as fingerings and bowings. As many teachers know, trying to cover all the basics with beginners is difficult, but trying to implement all the aspects of music as outlined by the nine National Standards, including improvisation (Standard 3: Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments), with these beginning students can be overwhelming.
There is a way to help students get started with improvisation that eliminates many of the difficulties just mentioned. This approach focuses on free improvisation, which is the creation of only a melody on any instrument. The Native American flute is a useful tool for teaching free improvisation, and it offers the additional benefit of providing exciting possibilities for incorporating Native American music into the instrumental music curriculum.
The ideal place to use the Native American flute is in beginning instrumental classes, as outlined in the next section. However, the Native American flute could also be used effectively in other classes and ensembles, such as a jazz ensemble where students can use the flute to explore the basics of improvisation in a jazz setting. You can also use the Native American flute in a choir or general music class to introduce students to improvisation and other concepts, such as pentatonic scales and multicultural music.
Jan Michael Looking Wolf is an enrolled Kalapuya member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon. He has produced 23 full-length albums and has been instrumental in incorporating the Native American flute into genres such as pop, blues, rock, and hip-hop/rap. He has composed arrangements for video productions and feature film and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from One World Music in 2019. One of the most honored Native American recording artists in history, Looking Wolf has received six Global Music Awards, an Indigenous Music Award, two Indian Summer Music Awards, six Native American Music Awards with 32 nominations, the OFP Peace Star Award, and two One World Music Radio Awards for Best Native American Recording. 2b1af7f3a8