What's new...

2016.12.31 I came home to find someone singing My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean to our dog, Bonnie, a Scottish border Terrier. Like many classic folk songs, their range translates well to the flute. This will be the last song to be added this year. Happy New Years from all of us at the FluteTree Foundation.

2016.12.30 Thanks to Gail Kapusnick for contributing The Holly and the Ivy to the songbook. She shared it with everyone on FluteTree Foundation's Facebook page right before Christmas. Now its part of the FluteTree songbook.

2016.12.29 You may now customize the FluteTree songbook to show Number TAB instead of flute pictures. Number TAB is a much requested approach promoted by Scott August. Some have found it to be a stepping stone to learning Nakai TAB without depending on finger pictures.

Over the years, we have seen different approaches to numbering the finger positions. Most of these only address the basic flute scale. Many of the FluteTree songbook melodies depend on the ability to express the extended flute scale. So this is the first Number TAB that could support our songbook with a little tweaking, we added a number to express half-holing the furthest finger hole. Since the first edition of this songbook, it has come a long way since then, when it only supported piano roll notation.

2016.12.25 You may now rotate the flute pictures in the songbook. This is a long requested feature. By default the songbook illustrates the finger hole pictures with the flute's mouth pointed up. This resembles watching others play the flute or seeing yourself play in a mirror. Some players prefer seeing the finger pictures as it looks when they sight down the flute to their fingers, so the far finger holes are at the top of the illustration. We understand this is a personal preference that is shaped by how one initially learns to play, and we want to support everyone, so we added a button on the fingering selection page to rotate the flute.

If you are fluent in Nakai Tablature and don't need the finger pictures, or you want to practice learning Nakai Tablature without the finger pictures, you can once again turn off the finger pictures. From the drop-down list of flute makers, just pick "Disabled". This has an added advantage that you can get twice as much music on a single sheet of paper.

If you want to start memorizing the finger patterns of Nakai Tablature, you can use the songbook to create some pencil and paper exercises. From the drop-down list of flute makers, there are two extra options "Blank 5 hole", and "Blank 6 hole". This format simply draws all the finger holes open, and you can take your Number 2 pencil and fill in the closed holes.

We are starting to hear more requests for supporting a Number Tablature, instead of just the finger pictures. Scott August has been promoting one numbering system in recent years and it has been gathering a following. It differs from many of the earlier attempts which typically only covered the basic scale by counting either the number of holes closed or holes open. Scott's approach is based on music theory. In practice, it can be learned without understanding why all holes closed is a "1", why opening just the furthest finger hole is a "3", and why "2" was skipped. If you understand music theory, these questions are easy to explain. If you do not, this system quickly becomes memorizing this number for this fingering.

There are other folk instruments that use their own unique Number TAB and have sizable following, such as mountain dulcimer. If you are using a Number TAB, we would love to hear from you. We want to know what works, what doesn't, do you support the extended (chromatic) scale or find you don't need it, and do you have a way to indicate rhythm?

2016.12.17 Thanks to Joan Johannes for contributing another Christmas melody to the songbook. It is one of her favorites and a duet: Carol of the Birds. Because neither flute play at the same time, Joan sent me the sheet music where both flute parts were highlighted in a different color on a single musical staff. This format is easier to read for some folks that focus on the finger pictures and not the two part TAB. Since the wonderful software behind the songbook supports color-coded notes, it is relatively easy to offer this format. With that said, here are four formats, something for everyone:

In the future, the songbook will provide separate harmony and melody parts for all the duet pieces.

2016.12.11 Added O Little Town Of Bethlehem to the songbook. The fingering of this arrangement is a bit easier that other versions that we've played.

2016.12.08 Last weekend, we attended the Christmas party of the Houston flute circle and tried out a number of new Christmas duets. They have now been added to the Flutetree songbook: Silent Night with a new harmony part by Julia, and Angels We Have Heard On High.

Yesterday, a special request came in from Meri Canary, who had a few hours before Christmas gig with a harpist. So in the spirit of the season and quick teamwork, we tabbed out In The Bleak Midwinter, an old English carol.

Happy holidays to everyone.

2016.11.13 Added We Wish You a Merry Christmas to the songbook. It can be played solo or as a duet.

2016.11.09 Added Ode to Joy to the songbook, just in time for the holiday season.

2016.11.07 Enhanced the songbook's finger pictures to better indicate trilled notes. For individuals that may not recognized the trill ( tr ) above the musical staff as something special, we suggest a finger hole to trill (open and close repeatedly) with a wavy line next to it.

2016.10.28 Added On the Bridge of Avignon to the songbook. Thanks to RC for mentioning this melody. He was just back from France and their music was on his mind.

2016.10.18 Added Brahms' Lullaby, and Toutouig.

2016.10.03 Added a duet versions of Silent Night to the songbook. Thanks to Joan Johannes for this contribution.

2016.09.25 Added a duet versions of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence to the songbook. Thanks to Joan Johannes for this contribution. Over the last decade, she has shared many of her duets. Because of limitations in the old songbook, we could not share them here. But this has changed with the new songbook which allows melody and harmony parts to be presented side by side. So we begin with Joan's earliest submission, and will follow it with many more.

2016.09.20 Added Skye Boat Song to the songbook. Some will recognize the melody as the Outlander Theme. Thanks to Juan Saldania for pointing out this traditional Scottish tune and for the discussion on its scale and variations.

2016.09.11 Added a new version of Ave Maria to the songbook. Thanks to Keith Davis for this contribution. You can hear him performing Ave Maria on YouTube, along with many other instructional videos.

2016.09.03 Added Just As I Am to the songbook. Thanks to Sara Duvall for this contribution.

2016.09.02 Added an early written account from 1606 of flute playing by Saco indians in Maine. Thanks to Carmen Halagahu for finding the original French text and providing an initial translation. Because of ambiguities in the original 400 year old French text, there has been a discussion about proper translation. The biggest questions was if these flageolets were nose flutes, a type of flute not know to North America at this time, or were they just showing off by playing the flute through their nose. Not answering that question, we provide a 1911 translation of the text that states "they whistled through their noses".

2016.08.20 Released the new songbook for the contemporary Native American flute. It has been completely re-typeset with improved musical notation. The songbook's index has been reorganized into categories that make it easier to find melodies. This is in preparation of doubling the songbook's size in the coming couple of years. Also these changes are paving the way for adding duets, flute choir, children songs and guitar/piano accompaniment.

Also the entire website has been refurbished to simplify our future efforts to support a modern range of handheld to desktop devices. This required changing over 400 web pages, mostly by hand. In the process of this, quite a few of the essays were edited to bring them up to date. Initially you will see more colorful graphics, easier to read fonts, and higher quality graphics. In the long term, these changes will show off foundation's community projects.

2016.08.10 Added New logo to website, Facebook, and Twitter. Finished the conversion of the website to FluteTree.org. The month of July was spent on re-typesetting the old songbook. Numerous corrections and additions have been made. It is currently in the hands of our proofreader. If all goes smoothly, the new songbook will be up in about two weeks.

2016.06.16 Revised Mission statement and list of personnel.

2016.05.31 The Board of Directors of the FluteTree Foundation will be meeting June 14 - June 16, 2016 to create strategic business plans, programs, and projects for the foundation.

In preparation for that meeting, we want to hear from YOU how we can best support the flute community.

Please take this short survey so that we may better meet your needs.

Thank you for your participation!

2016.05.28 The "Renaissance of the Native American Flute Foundation, Inc." has renamed itself to the FluteTree Foundation and has become the new steward of the FluteTree website. FluteTree Foundation plans to continue the fourteen year tradition of providing free and useful content to the flute community.

In the past there has been some confusion in the names of two organizations: RNAFF, the non-profit foundation with its bi-annual convention, and the independent RNAF (that's with one F) workshops that are held annually in Montana for over 20 years. To avoid such future confusion, RNAFF board of directors in cooperation with FluteTree's original steward, who is also on the board, have legally renamed RNAFF to FluteTree Foundation. The newly revised flutetree.org site will continue to exist even though we are a non-profit, because so many websites point to it. A flutetree.org site will appear shortly with the same content. At the same time, we are harmonizing these changes with facebook and twitter.

If you like what we are doing here, please feel free to donate the FluteTree Foundation. It is tax deductible.

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