Flute, Charm of the

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Flute, Charm of the

The flute is often mentioned in history as being used for the purpose of charming animals, and serpents were said to have been peculiarly delighted with its music. It was claimed that adders would swell at the sound of the flute, raising themselves up, twisting about, and keeping proper time. An early Spanish writer stated that in India he had often seen people leading enchanted serpents, making them dance to the sound of a flute, putting them around their necks, and touching them without harm, and to this day a musical instrument of this nature is used by the snake charmers of that country.

However, it is now known that serpents cannot hear music, but instead are captivated by the swaying movements of the snake charmer, although some have suggested it is possible that snakes somehow perceive musical vibrations.