Scott August Signature Flute

The 2015 Signature Flute
from Cedar Mesa Music and Earth Tone Flutes


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~ The Painted Chaco Canyon Flute~

In 1902, decades before Earl Morris made his discoveries of ancient Pueblo flutes, George Pepper, along with Richard Wetherill, found eight flutes among the richest assemblage of exotic goods ever found in the pre Hispanic southwest.

Their excavation, funded by the heirs to a soap fortune, known as the Hyde Exploring Expedition, began in 1896 after Richard Wetherill, the Anglo discover of Cliff Palace and other pueblos in Mesa Verde, convinced the Hyde brothers that here was more to be discovered in Chaco Canyon in the remote San Juan basin of New Mexico

They began by excavating the largest ruin in the canyon, Pueblo Bonito (Beautiful Town). At its height Pueblo Bonito was over four stories high and had approximately 800 rooms, but then Pepper and Wetherill started digging most of the upper floors and walls had long since crumbled, leaving only a pock-marked mound to show that there had once been a building on the site. This meant that they were digging in the lowest level and in some of the oldest rooms of the pueblo. Building had started in 850 AD and lasted several hundred years. The section they were digging in is now known as "Old Bonito"

Crawling on his stomach, Pepper entered the dark room he had labeled "Room 33" by candle light. Choking on dust he found a mass of grave goods among the 14 bodies he claimed to be there. (Recent research has revised this number down.) There in the dark were 300 ceremonial sticks, 8 flutes, tens of thousands of pieces of turquoise (the most ever found) and rare pottery. Two of the bodies Pepper claimed were persons of great importance. Stephen Leakson calls them kings.)

Of the eight flutes, only one was found intact, but the most impressive was a flute that had been painted black with designs of cloud terraces and circles in orange and green. Pepper labeled this flute H-4563 in his catalog. This flute, along with several others, had been buried in sand into which water had intruded. The water caused severe damage, warping the wood and rotting away the ends. The flutes that had not been completely damaged all had four stops (holes) but any measurements were compromised by the poor condition of the flutes.

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Illustration of H-4563 from Pepper's report

When Geoffrey Ellis and I were looking for ideas for our 2015 Signature flute I was very inspired by my most recent trip to Canyon Canyon. We wanted to make a replica of H-4563 but given the damaged condition of the flute an accurate replica was impossible. Also we wanted to keep the flute within the tuning system of other modern Pueblo Style flutes. Therefore we decided to make the flute a six holed Pueblo Style flute, with a major pentatonic tuning, but feature the design of H-4563. Our 2015 Signature flute is based in the key of Bb (the key of the Broken Flute Cave replicas) and has a deep rich tone. Its beauty is not just skin deep. It is a delight to play and has become one of my favorite Pueblo Style flutes.

If you are interested in purchasing a Chaco Canyon Painted Flute please contact Geoffrey Ellis

Ellis flutes is currently taking pre-orders. You can place your order by e-mailing Earth Tone flutes at ellisflutes@gmail.comt or by phone (707) 839-5199

Price: $475

© 2015 Cedar Mesa Music All rights reserved.








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