New Perspectives on Sapawe Flutes and Whistles

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 09:00
, Rachel - Southern Methodist University

Bone flutes and whistles recovered from archaeological sites of the Chama Valley are recognized widely as markers of the ceremonial elaboration that accompanied aggregation into ancestral Pueblo settlements and set the Pueblo IV period (AD 1275-1600) apart from earlier occupations. Yet we know little about how these instruments were played and even less about their socio-cultural contexts and relationships to sound generation for performance or perhaps avian husbandry. Using perspectives derived from Music Archaeology, faunal analysis, and acoustic modeling, this paper challenges existing conventions that flutes were produced strictly from turkey bone and reconsiders the functional differences in the utilization of flutes with multiple tone holes versus whistles assumed to be bird calls. It will also consider Sapawe as a potential production center and the performance aspects of playing instruments that in turn may have influenced not just the dynamics of sound production but also those of supply and demand.