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date: 23 January 2020

Wa:pk kuikuḍlocked

  • Mary Riemer-Weller
  • , revised by J. Richard Haefer


End-blown flute of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. It consists of two internode sections of wa:pk (‘river cane’, Phragmites communis) and about 4 cm of each adjoining section for a total length of 48 to 55 cm and 2.5 to 4 cm diameter. The two end nodes are perforated, but the centre node is left intact and is bridged by a rectangular hole cut in the side of the instrument and covered with a piece of cloth or leather. Three fingerholes are cut in the lower portion of the flute. The index finger of the left hand is placed over the cloth or leather to help direct the air over the internal partition, thus creating a flue for the passage of air, and allowing for minor adjustments in the airstream. The fingerholes are controlled by the right hand.

One does not ‘play’ the flute but rather ‘sings’ it. Although the cane flute may have been used as a courting instrument and in the ...

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