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World FluteloreFolktales, Myths, and Other Stories of Magical Flute Power$
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Dale A. Olsen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037887

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037887.001.0001

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Flutes and Death

Flutes and Death

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter 10 Flutes and Death
Source:
World Flutelore
Author(s):

Dale A. Olsen

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037887.003.0010

This chapter discusses the negative aspect of how flutes and flute players are able to cast musical charms that may lead to death, including the flutists' own deaths. It discusses various theories of magic in order to contextualize some of the narratives. It describes stories such as “The Rat Catcher of Korneuburg”, where the main character charms the rats and magically causes them to follow him while playing his black, wooden transverse flute. After receiving no payment, he charms the children and magically causes them to follow him while playing a golden transverse flute. In other stories, the playing of a flute can sometimes lead to an undesirable end, such as death for the flutist, as in the Bulgarian folktale “The Shepherd and the Samodivi.”

Keywords:   flutes, flute music, flutists, flutelore, flute players, musical charms, death

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