Flutopedia - an Encyclopedia for the Native American Flute

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Native American Flute - Fingering Charts

Most Native American flutes (NAFs) made since the early 1980s play the pentatonic minor scale with a standard fingering pattern. You can typically run up this scale with the fingerings Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed closed Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed open Finger diagram closed closed closed closed open open Finger diagram closed closed closed open open open Finger diagram closed open closed open open open Finger diagram open open closed open open open for six-hole flutes and Five hole finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed Five hole finger diagram closed closed closed closed open Five hole finger diagram closed closed closed open open Five hole finger diagram closed closed open open open Five hole finger diagram closed open open open open Five hole finger diagram open open open open open for five-hole flutes.

However, many additional notes are possible on most Native American flutes, and the fingerings for those additional notes varies from maker to maker (and often among different flutes from the same maker).

Earlier versions of this section of Flutopedia attempted to provide the fingering charts for each maker. However, it became impossible to track all the fingerings of makers. Those earlier charts are provided below for historical reasons.

The new approach is to provide a single set of charts that show the fingerings for the notes of the chromatic scale on the Native American flute. In particular, these charts:

  • Provide fingerings for all the notes from the fundamental Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed closed note on up to the Finger diagram half-closed closed closed closed open open note in the second register (an interval of an eleventh from the fundamental).
  • Show one standard fingering for each note in black. That fingering is used in general on Flutopedia for that note.
  • Show alternate fingerings in blue, such as Finger diagram closed open open closed open open, for alternate fingerings.
  • Generally avoid the use of half-holing in the lower register, except when no other choice is possible. In those cases, the finger diagram is shown in orange: Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed half-closed.
  • Provide charts for:
  • Each fingering chart is provided with finger diagrams in two orientations: mouth-end up and mouth end down (“inverted”).

NAF Fingering Charts

The entire set of fingering charts is available in one Native American Flute Fingerings PDF file. You can also visit these specific pages:

Fujara

External Web Sites

For other woodwind instruments, some excellent resources on fingerings are:

If you know of other fingerings, or other flutes that use the fingerings show on the pages above, please contact me and I will add to this information.

Other Resources for Fingerings

This Finger Patterns Microsoft Excel Workbook was written by Brent Haines of WoodSounds Flutes. It helps clarify finger patterns for flutes in different keys. The fingering patterns are specific to Brent's flute, but the spreadsheet is modifiable and you may find it useful.

 


Historical Maker-Specific Charts

The finger diagrams in this section have been replaced by the new fingering system above. However, once I removed them from the site, I started getting requests to bring them back. So, here they are.

Note that these fingering diagrams are not maintained!

The remaining documentation on this page refers to the old maker-specific fingering chart system.

This page has links to fingering diagrams for some specific makers of Native American flutes. Each diagram shows all the notes in the chromatic scale, including notes that go into the upper register (which can be difficult to play, or may have a thin or sharp tone).

The notes in the basic pentatonic minor scale (i.e. "straight fingerings") are noted in each page as the "Root", "Minor Third", "Fourth", "Fifth", "Seventh", and "Octave". The diagrams show the full chromatic scale, including all cross-fingerings (aka "split-fingerings" or "forked-fingerings").

Even if a particular maker is not explicitly listed, it is likely that one of the finger diagrams for another maker's flutes will work on your flute.

Please note that the names I have chosen are completely arbitrary!

Six-Hole Native American Flutes

Five-Hole Native American Flutes

 
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