How to Use Tablature

Music for the NAF is commonly written in what is known as ‘Nakai Tablature’ – modern musical notation with a few additional features, often accompanied by finger diagrams below the notes. The tablature provided on my site is presented simply as finger diagrams, as I’m not yet confident in my ability to produce accurate Nakai tab.

All the tab on this site is for the 6-hole pentatonic Native American style flute; players of 5-hole flutes will likely find they’re unable to reach all the notes required in some of the pieces as a lot use cross-fingering.

Each is laid out with diagrams representing each note played in the piece. The diagrams show the flute from above, with the mouth piece at the top. Black holes represent closed holes, and white holes represent open ones. For example:

(images to be added soon)

Those used to modern musical notation or Nakai tab will find finger diagram tablature very basic indeed – there is no indication of timing or any ornamentation required – but simply listening to the song a few times will give you a feel for how the piece should sound. A link to a YouTube video of each piece of music is presented at the bottom of each page for easy reference.

Despite the lack of detail in finger diagram tablature, I have made an effort to present each in a way that ‘makes sense’ – each phrase of the piece is on it’s own line and spaced accordingly so the larger the gap between notes, the longer you should leave between playing them. Notes places immediately next to each other with no space are to be played in swift succession. As previously mentioned, there is no note of any ornamentation within each piece i.e. trilling, grace notes, popping, sliding etc. so add them into your playing as you see fit.