World Flutelore: Folktales, Myths, and Other Stories of Magical Flute Power

Flutelore_CoverA global exploration of the magic of the flute.

In many places around the world, flutes and the sounds of flutes are powerful magical forces for seduction and love, protection, vegetal and human fertility, birth and death, and other aspects of human and nonhuman behavior. This book explores the cultural significance of flutes, flute playing, and flute players from around the world as interpreted from folktales, myths, and other stories–in a word, “flutelore.” A scholarly yet readable study, World Flutelore: Folktales, Myths, and Other Stories of Magical Flute Power draws upon a range of sources in folklore, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and literary analysis.

Describing and interpreting many examples of flutes as they are found in mythology, poetry, lyrics, and other narrative and literary sources from around the world, veteran ethnomusicologist Dale Olsen seeks to determine what is singularly distinct or unique about flutes, flute playing, and flute players in a global context. He shows how and why flutes are important for personal, communal, religious, spiritual, and secular expression and even, perhaps, existence. This is a book for students, scholars, and any reader interested in the cultural power of flutes.

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“This study on flutes and their lore in different global settings is engagingly readable and of genuine interest not only to ethnomusicologists and folklorists, but to all musically minded readers. Olsen unveils an almost boundless panoramic view of the flute as a powerful entity that permeates people’s aesthetic, symbolic, cultural, and mythological worlds and their inner psyches.”–A. J. Racy, author of Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab