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Ebook Information

World Flutelore

Folktales, Myths, and Other Stories of Magical Flute Power

A 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.


"Any reader interested in world culture, music, ethnography, or ethnomusicology will enjoy Olsen's work. Recommended."--Choice

"World Flutelore breathlessly succeeds in establishing a foothold for flutes as a subject worthy of study, and inspires organological curiosity even among those uninitiated to flues and flutelore."--Journal of American Folklore

"Olsen commands a thorough knowledge of his subject matter. . . . This book will be a valuable addition to the institutions of learning as well as to all who love music and folklore. . . . It offers an opportunity to discover how the cultures of the world have cherished the magical process we practice and love--the direct transformation of our breath into music--and incorporated it into their views of the world."--Journal of Folklore Research

"World Flutelore has lasting value for scholars and musicians--and general readers. After decades of research, fieldwork, performing, and collecting flutes throughout the world, Olsen has shared his life's passion with a book that is informative and lively--a fine mix of wisdom and enthusiasm."-Western Folklore

"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


A lifelong flutist performing classical, jazz, and many types of world flute music, Dale A. Olsen is a professor emeritus of ethnomusicology at Florida State University. His many books include Music of the Warao of Venezuela: Song People of the Rain Forest and Popular Music of Vietnam: The Politics of Remembering, the Economics of Forgetting.

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