On this page, Turtle Mound Flutes
is pleased to provide "flute-symbol" tablature for a number of
traditional songs: folk music, hymns, old show tunes, etc. A brief description
of the notation is provided at the bottom of this page.
Songs with Guitar Chords
What sets our version apart from others that are available across the Internet is
that most of the songs linked on this page contain guitar chords to allow guitar/flute duets. The flute tablature
can be played on any key (pentatonic minor tuned) Native American Flute. The
guitar chords are provided to play along with an A-minor flute, but may be
transposed to play with flutes in other keys. Use the following table to
transpose individual chords between keys. Simply find the column with the chord
from the song at the top in red, and at the intersection with the row
corresponding to the key of the flute you wish to play, find the chord to
substitute on the sheet music.
Songs annotated with an blue asterisk (*) include guitar chords.
Songs with a red asterisk (*)
include lyrics in Cherokee. The music for all
songs listed here is provided in PDF format. (If you do not have a program
that can view and print PDF documents, you can download the free Adobe
Acrobat Reader at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.)
- Amazing Grace.
(**) This song is probably the most popular tune among Native American Flute
players - almost every player has a personal version. When European
missionaries first traveled among the native peoples in this land, they
found many who readily accepted Christianity. People like the Cherokee were
already monotheistic (believed in one God, the Great Creator) and believed
in a place where their spirit went after death. They also incorporated water
in a cleansing ceremony ("going to the water") not unlike
Christian baptism, and sang songs of praise in their ceremonies. It wasn't
hard to accept the believe that the Great Spirit sent his Son to live on
earth and then sacrificed Himself for us. Amazing Grace has been translated
into the languages of many native people. Among the Cherokee it is
considered a national anthem, It is said to have been sung often along the
Trail of Tears. My version includes the words of the first two verses in
(My Country Tis of Thee).
May 25, 2011 This is a beautiful patriotic song that plays fairly
well on the Native American Flute, with only a couple brief occurrences of
the "half hole". And if you ever want to pay tribute to the
British, the melody is also the British national anthem, "God Save the
- Cherokee Morning
This song is sometimes called Wen-De-Ya-Ho. Walela
(the trio of Rita Coolidge with her sister and niece) does a beautiful
rendition of this traditional Cherokee song on their first album. [You can
hear part of this song if you follow the link above to Amazon.com and click
on the "Listen to Samples" link. It's track 7.]
- Down in the Valley.
May 25, 2011 This is an old 19th century folk tune. The original
lyrics are said to have been written by an anonymous inmate at the Raleigh
State Prison, although many variations have evolved over the years. This
song plays easily on the Native American Flute, with just a single upper
register note, but one that plays well on most flutes. This is a good song
to develop some dexterity with cross fingered notes.
of the Rising Sun. (*)
The guitar chords for this song include a "walking bass" sequence
at a couple points that provide a counterpoint melody.
(*) This old English folk love
ballad is timeless. Note that there are some higher octave notes that may
not sound well on all flutes.
- Guide Me, Oh Jehovah
(**) This is a traditional
Cherokee hymn that was sung often on the Trail of Tears. The plea for help
- Guide me, Oh Jehovah
On this path here below.
You are very strong and I am very weak.
All the time, all the time,
Help me, all the time.
- Jesus Loves Me.
This is a favorite children's hymn. It has special significance in our
family as my maternal grandmother, who must have learned it from her father
or grandfather in Cherokee, taught it to my cousin. I have included the
Cherokee words here. Be sure to overblow the "high note" that
appears several times, as a weak breath can create a lower pitch than
desired on some flutes.
Fought the Battle of Jericho. (*)-Added
May 25, 2011 This old spiritual is almost pure pentatonic minor,
with only a couple of instances of the "half hole". The story
behind this song comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua. When Moses
died, God selected Joshua to lead the Israelites, who went out to conquer
the land of Canaan. When they arrived at the walls of Jericho, the Lord gave
Joshua strange instructions. But Joshua followed the Lord's directions, as
described in the song, and the "walls came tumbin' down."
- Kum-By-Ya. (*)
This popular folk song is probably of African origin. It was a standard
among folk groups in the fifties and sixties, and is still sung by church
- Nearer My God To
Thee. (*) This
beautiful old hymn requires the dreadful "half hole" to play
traditionally. This version substitutes a trilled note to blend the
sequence. You may want try the half-hole instead of the trilled note
and the following one. Be sure to overblow the "high note" (with
the G chord) as a weak breath creates a lower pitch.
- Old Rugged Cross.
May 25, 2011 I think this is one of the most beautiful hymns ever
written. It takes a special flute to be able to play it well, as it taxes
the maker's upper register tuning and requires the "half hole"
technique to play the original melody. If you find a flute that plays this
song, don't forget which one it was if you want to play this song again!
- Peace Is Flowing Like
a River. (*)
This arrangement is for the version that we do in our church Praise Band.
- Red River Valley.
May 25, 2011 This old 19th century folk song is one of the first
ones I learned on my first guitar, over 50 years ago, and it remains one of
my favorites. It plays well on the Native American Flute, with only a couple
of "half hole" notes in one line.
- Rock of Ages.
(**) This old hymn is ageless and translates well to the Native American Flute.
This version also includes the words of the first verse in Cherokee.
- Silent Night. (*) This
Christmas favorite may sound better on some flutes than on others due to one
note in the higher octave.
- St. James Infirmary.
(*) This blues classic has been
recorded by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Janis Joplin. This song plays
on the flute extremely well.
(*) This old Gershwin tune from the musical Porgy and Bess is a natural
for the Native American Flute.
- Wayfaring Stranger.
(*) This 50+ year old Burl Ives
classic includes passages that have a natural Native American Flute sound to
them, reminding me of songs by Mary Youngblood and other top artists on
their albums. I remember playing this tune when I first learned the guitar
in the late 50s.
- What Child Is This.
(*) This old English Christmas
song uses the melody from Greensleeves.
- When the
Saints Go Marching In. (*)-Added
May 25, 2011 I was just in Louisiana on vacation (May 2011) and
we went down to New Orleans for the day. That day inspired me to work out
this traditional jazz song for the Native American Flute. It turns out to be
a natural for the flute with some cross fingering but nothing in the upper
register and no occurrences of the "half hole" note.
Check back from time to time as new songs will be added to this collection as
time permits. If you'd like to transcribe your own music, you can download a
5-page set of Blank
Flute Tab Sheets and print them out.
Also available are the following audio (MP3) files that you might like to
- Amazing Grace
- Recorded at the Pineda Presbyterian Church (Melbourne, FL) on December 10, 2006. This
version features my Native American Flute and guitar, and my lyrics in
Cherokee. Keyboard accompaniment is by Tom Taylor.
- Amazing Grace
- Recorded at the Pineda Presbyterian Church (Melbourne, FL) on June 3, 2007. This version
features the Pineda Presbyterian Praise Band.
Morning Song - Features the Pineda Presbyterian Praise Band,
recorded at the Pineda Presbyterian Church, Melbourne, FL, on August 5,
Me, Oh Jehovah & Amazing Grace Medley - I played this
flute solo at the Pineda Presbyterian Church on April 13, 2008. These two
old hymns were heard to be sung often along the Trail of Tears. I played
them to honor my ancestors who suffered on the trail.
- Peace -
I played this flute solo at the Pineda Presbyterian Church on August 3,
2008. This is an original piece.
"Flute-Symbol" Tablature Notation
The notation I have used in the provided music is intended to be very
intuitive. Even so, an explanation may prove helpful for those who do not have
formal training in reading music.
There are two primary elements to a musical note. First is the pitch (how
high or low the tone is). This is indicated by the flute symbol showing which
holes are covered (solid black circles) and which are uncovered (hollow,
unfilled circles). The symbol is oriented with the mouth piece to the bottom, as
you would look at a flute you are playing. The other element is the duration of
the note, specifying how long to play that note relative to the others. Below
each flute symbol is a number that tells how many "beats" to hold the
Set the rhythm by tapping your foot at an appropriate rate. Where the
duration below the flute symbol is "1", hold that note for one tap
(i.e., one beat). Where it is a "2", hold the note for two taps. And
so on... A "half beat" is represented by "1/2". As you tap
your foot, count the rhythm as your toe hits the floor: "1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 1
- " etc. Then and the word "and" as your foot is at the top of
the count: "1 - and - 2 - and - 3 - and - 4 - and - 1 - " etc. Play
two "half beat" notes by playing one on the full beat (when the toe
hits the floor) and the other when you say "and" as the toe is at the
top of its movement.
The "triplet" is a somewhat irregular pattern where three
notes are played in a single beat. It is depicted in the music as a curved line
under the three notes and the word "trip". An example of this is in
the song Amazing
The "trill" - In Amazing Grace
and Nearer My God to Thee I avoid the "half
hole" note that cannot be played directly on the Native American Flute by
using a trill (represented by the »
symbol next to the hole to be trilled). To trill a note, quickly cover
and uncover the hole, causing the tone to oscillate back and forth. This is a
useful technique that you will frequently hear in Native American Flute music
and can be used elsewhere in your playing.
Part of the beauty of Native American Flute music comes from the little
extras that embellish the basic melody line. One such embellishment is the grace
note (sometimes called fill notes). These are shown in the music as
smaller flute symbols between those that represent the regular melody line.
There is no timing value assigned to grace notes. They are played quickly, but
smoothly, at the start of a new note without disturbing the basic timing of the