ATTENTION: This tutorial assumes you know how to do a few artsyfartsycraftsythings. I will not walk through bake times for clay, the ups and downs of de-fleshing bones... etc. This entry was written after a flicker comment with Ms. Graveyard Dirt.
Additional Note: If you're going to whinge about my blog's content, I'm gonna delete it. If you don't like what's here, clearly it's not intended for you. Find another place that better suits your fancy.
How Flutes and Whistles Work.I am not a professor, nor a professional in the manufacture of instruments. However, I'm someone who has got an understanding that's amateur enough to share it with others without too much fuss.
Flutes work by cutting air. Simple as that. You want it to make a sound? The air needs to be sliced. It's the same reason that air will buzz through tall grass, or make that hollow "wooo" sound over pipes.
|This Bone looks vaguely like a boner. Yes, I went there.|
1: You will need a bone that is hollow. Bird bones work exceptionally well.(see above).
2: Ream out the interior so that there are no structures, or debris.
3: Fabricate a voicing.
4: Building the mouth piece.
I am a finicky, fiddly, sorta person about "germs". Unless that bone came from a domestic food animal, and has been bleached... I'm just not keen about getting down on it. So, for the mouth-piece on the majority of these "spur of the moment" flutes... I've used Oven-bake clay and/or wax. Yeah. That's right.
Here's a handy little MS Paint drawing showing what they generally look like. The Mouth-piece (reddishbrownish parts) is formed out of Super Sculpey or Fimo. I mold it on the bone (gray and tan part), then carefully slide it off and bake it (usually setting on it's "butt", the end near the yellow). Then I use hot bee's wax (yellow bits) to secure it to the bone after baking. In order to form the airway, I usually use a coffee stirring stick, popsicle stick, or something else narrow and flat (with a bit of thickness). You'll note that the air passage here is cut directly in half by the bone. This is what you want.
5: Drill a few holes (if there's room) for the ability to play "notes".
I ... there are no words that can explain how to do this and get "true" notes. There's just not. There's a mathematical equation out there that I've used a grand total of once... before going "Not. Damned. Worth. It."
Generally, I use an electronic tuner on my computer to figure out the base note of the flute, mark out regular intervals along it's length, and start with tiny pinpoint holes... slowly widening to get it into "tune". It'll only ever be in tune to itself, rather than a concert tuning... but well, ritual instruments don't really need to be ready for a pub gig.
6: Finishing, decoration, consecration.
If you make your mouthpiece out of sculpey, you can put designs into that, even small stones/curios. The bone itself can be painted, or reddened with blood (personal favorite).
Consecrating...I generally face in the direction of the prevailing winds, and blow a single "open" (no fingers) note into the wind. I put the breath of life through it, and bathe it in smoke. Sometimes I stroke the length of it with a feather (as though "magnetizing" it). I generally use mine to summon spirits, and so I have to get them associating the blowing of the flute with coming forward (especially with animal spirits).
Other, Quick, Interesting, Flute methods.
1: Take a pencil, roll it tightly in electrical tape, or something else slick.
2: Take a sheet of paper, saturate it with glue-water. (Sigilized?!)
3: Roll paper around pencil. Allow to partially dry before disentangling the pencil.
4: Make the voicing/mouthpiece described above. Attach to paper tube.
5: Drill sounding holes.
6: Bamf, flute.