Bark is an essential aspect of any tree, protecting the delicate flow of life up and down the thin cambium layer that lies just under it, between the bark and the wood. A branch flute aught to honor and include that important aspect of the tree, if it can. In this Arroyo Willow (Salix lasiolepis) branch flute, measuring 24 3/8" in length, most of the bark has been left on, though well sealed to prevent detachment from the wood. Tuned to a sweet, mid-range F minor pentatonic scale, modes 1 & 4, it plays two upper octave notes and has 4 tuning holes that allow the branch to extend an additional 4 1/4" beyond the fundamental. A few bark fissures and any knot holes have been inlaid with turquoise. Elk lacing with turquoise and horn bone beads holds the bird to the nest, the bird fitted with a redwood shoe to aid against wetout. The branch for this flute was gathered sustainably, with love, respect and gratitude, along San Marcos Creek, in San Diego County, CA amongst a wild grove of native Arroyo Willow trees. California Indians found many uses for the wonderful willow tree, including bows, baskets, shelters, clothing, fish traps and medicines derived from salicin in the willow's bark, the original aspirin.
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