Eastern Red Cedar Native American style flute







Introduction
The Second Voice flute series described here are based on the Native American (NA) instruments made traditionally by the indigenous peoples who once populated the plains, woodlands and remote areas of the Americas. However, the tradition of NAF flutemaking had diminished by the mid 20thC, to a point where the secrets and techniques for making these instruments were left to only a handful of master flute-makers and players, one of whom was Xavier Quijas Yxayotl. One of his apprentices, Guillermo Martinez, has since become a legend over the past twenty years in the flute-making, recording and performing world. His generosity in passing on this almost-lost knowledge through his gift for teaching, added to the invaluable help and inspiration of renowned concert and recording artists Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer, has led to the NA flute series, and the extensive English wood series, which I now design and make in England at Second Voice. All of my flutes are individually hand-crafted; I do not make flutes in bulk, and while I may have one or two ready-to-go flutes, over 99% of my flutes are built to customers requirements. This is a much better way of ensuring that the player gets the flute that is exactly right for them. In addition, the hole spacings on each flute are made to fit the player's hand, regardless of shape and size, and I also make for those with problems such as arthritis and DuPuytrens contracture.

On a personal note, I came to flutemaking after a near fatal attack of meningitis left me with neurological, memory and physical problems which ended my 20 years as an Environmental Sciences lecturer at London University. Making flutes has given my brain the chance to at least partly re-wire from an academic to a more practical life path, so from the outset this was, and still is, a very necessary therapy for me. Financial profit was never, and still is not, the reason for what I do now. I make these flutes simply for the love of making a beautiful instrument and passing it on to its rightful owner. It is more important to me to create instruments which give pleasure, peace, relaxation and, I hope, healing. However, I can only work slowly, so it can take me quite some time to make a flute. The Universe has given me a second chance and I thank it each day for that.


Over the years I have developed and learned how to make the many different types of flutes which people seek. These range from the basic NA flutes for those who wish to learn a simple but beautiful instrument, through to concert quality flutes for recording artists and pro players, ceremonial flutes for those wishing to call privately or in sacred spaces to other realms, loud wind-stable flutes to play outside at gatherings, journeying flutes to help people cross the edges of this World, and healing flutes for personal use, Reiki and Sound Healing practioners. Getting the correct woods, energies, keys and voices (and the NA flute is capable of many different ones) is something the Universe has been very generous in showing me; and while I might like to think the time I have spent and continue to spend developing these flutes is of my own calling, I know that each development has been the result of my Guides and Spirit bringing people with particular wishes to my door and giving me the challenge to create the perfect flute for them. Like all flutemakers I serve an apprenticeship...it just happens to last a lifetime! Each flute I make is a partnership between myself and the player; that said, I am only the flutemaker...someone who takes the energies of the wood and the four elements, works with them and then passes the result on to the player for them to use on their Path whatever that may be.

eastern red cedar flute in E



INTRODUCTION
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Home  g
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Introduction  g
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The Flutes  g
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Hear the Flutes  g
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Blocks and Artwork  g
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Workshop  g
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Contact & Ordering  g
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Thanks & Links  g
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All Second Voice flutes are hand-made using the finest woods from Britain, the US and around the world; many of the woods used are collected, hand-cut, laid down, dried and prepared in my own workshop. If you want to learn more about the woods I use click here to go to the Woods page of the Workshop section. The NA series are made from traditional woods such as cedars (Western Red, Yellow, White Port Orford and the wonderfully dense and fragrant Eastern Red), Oak, Cherry and Maple. The English series use native hard and softwoods including Oak, Ash, Cherry, Walnut, Lacewood, Elm, Holly, Silver Birch, Yew, Lime, Alder, Elder, Beech, Rippled Sycamore and Rowan, with some flutes made from intact branches complete with bark. The flutes are finished using non-toxic oils and waxes to seal the wood and provide the required finish, in accordance with the demands likely to be placed on the instrument.

hummingbird flute (see Custom flute page)

Flutes can be plain (usually if the graining and patterning is exceptional) or decorated by pyrography (burning), painting and/or inlay work. The flutes can be voiced anywhere between mellow or buzzing, smooth or edgy, quiet or loud, as required, and using different blocks can give a single flute a wide tonal range. The most important thing, though, is that all SVF flutes respond to the gentlest breath, even the bass flutes, so you can relax fully while playing. And regardless of how beautiful a flute looks, it is the sound of the flute that is of primary importance; I take as much care on a beginner flute as on a professional flute to make sure the flute sounds the way it is meant to.

low B cherry flute

The Galleriespage shows the various types of SVF flutes. The Little Owl series flutes are mainly five-hole for ease of playing, particularly by children. The English Series comprise both 6 and 7 hole instruments and have a look, feel and sound to them which is very different to cedar flutes; their scale range is also fuller and very suited to the songs of this land. NA flutes are invariably tuned to a pentatonic minor scale. However, unusual scalings, such as Greek/Arabic Hitzaz scales, Celtic scales (pentatonic mode 5) and Major scales are also easily accommodated; the Hear the Flutes page will help decide on keys and scales. Custom needs relating to any and all aspects of flute design or build have become a major feature of SVF flutes over the years. These often centre around the player's intended purpose for the flute (e.g. sound healing, reiki assistance, journeying or meditation to name but a few) and can include things like putting crystals in the upper chamber to give specific Healing or Journeying flutes, or tuning to keys associated with particular Chakras. All the flutes I make are individually tailored to the player's own hand, a simple but vital thing to do for learners and professional players alike to make playing comfortable and easy. Nowadays, I find myself doing all manner of paintings of birds, flowers etc on the flute barrels, and also carving and painting blocks of badgers, seals, eagles, crows and many other totem creatures. The Custom flutes page shows many of these, and the Blocks and Artwork page is dedicated to this aspect of the flutes. All this I love, but it takes time, particularly as my medical issues can stop me doing this for days on end, and I have to ask for patience from the clients, I refuse to rush a flutemaking...they have to come in their own time.






Oak Air Spirit flute with Woodpecker block and pyrographed vines
flute totem blocks


Making these easy-to-play, beautiful-sounding flutes is a deeply spiritual experience in itself. I claim no native American heritage or special wisdom, other than the nagging feeling that there is somewhere in me a barely-remembered path back to another life. I do have Spirit Guides who help me as I make each flute, and each is made in the spirit of the Native American tradition, but my resonance is very strongly here with Our Land, which is why many of my flutes are made of indigenous British woods and sing of our ancestors and past times.

Each flute I make is totally unique, and ALL Second Voice flutes are maker-marked, certificated and sequentially numbered. As a final acknowledgement of thanks to the Spirits which guide the creation of each flute, and to honour the trees whose wood has given it life, each Second Voice flute is blessed using sage and cedar smoke (a traditional way of purifying space and elements) to celebrate the birth of a new voice in the world. Where necessary, I also do energy alignments, particularly for Healing and Journeying flutes.

Finally, I must also thank my Spirit Guides for giving me the inspiration to design and build this website. The images are compressed to speed loading but please be patient if you are on a slow internet connection - some pages may still take a little longer than normal. Almost all images can be enlarged into a new pop-up window by clicking on them. Please note: The copyright for ALL the images on this website is held by Second Voice Flutes.


I hope you enjoy the site. The flute series themselves are described and shown on The Flutes pages. The Workshop pages give you a look at how I make the flutes, and might be of interest to those who make these beautiful instruments -they look so simple, but as any maker will tell you, it's a long, sometimes skilful, sometimes intuitive, often lucky, path to making one that sounds and feels just right! The Contact page gets us to talk, and if you want, ask if I will make you a flute. Finally, and most importantly, the Thanks and Links page honours the many people who have (and still do) help and inspire me on my path, some without even knowing it!
 The Owlhouse • Milford • Surrey • UK • dc@secondvoiceflutes.co.uk

© Second Voice Flutes 2005 on