This paper is a study of the vertical whistle flute with external block and its music. This type of flute is found in the Algonkian, Iroquoian, Southeast, Plains, Plateau, Basin and Northwest Coast areas.
The origin and traditional functions of the flute are discussed. Aspects of construction of flutes from museums and private collections are compared with the literary references and with transcriptions of flute melodies from the Algonkian, Plains and Basin areas. The musical analysis identifies similarities and differences of flute melodies from various areas and compares them to their vocal counterparts and the musical style of the region.
The documents on which the study is based are:
1) a compilation of the literature,
2) extensive documentation collected by the author from museums and private collections,
3) transcriptions from early twentieth century recordings and recently recorded material and
4) personal communication with Amerindian flute players and makers.