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Magical Flutist

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A character that is notable for having a flute or some other kind of wind instrument, playing tunes with it that give a feeling of mystery or magic, and for being quite mysterious themselves. Bonus points if this character is a representation of nature or has the power of mind control, summoning, or teleportation. The flute itself might be an Instrument of Murder, and the flutist might be a Musical Assassin, but not always.

A Snake Charmer is a subtrope. See also: Elemental Powers, Friend to All Living Things, Magic Music, Wandering Minstrel.



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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Smurfs and the Magic Flute and its 2008 prequel The Flute Smurfers. See also Western Animation.
  • In The Courageous Princess, Irgerat usurped his brother's throne via a magic flute, that turns out to be able to summon literally any magic effect the player wants. The protagonist, after using it to defeat him and the dragon pursuing her, ends up breaking it in half since it's too powerful an Infinity +1 Sword for anyone to possess.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin: The titular character is hired by the citizens of the German town of Hamelin to get rid of their rat plague problem by using his flute to hypnotize every rat in town and lead them into a river. However, the ungrateful townsfolk go back on the deal after the fact, so the pied piper returns and uses his flute to hypnotize their children as well, leading them out of town and into a cave which he then seals shut. Depending on the tone of the version being told, he'll either return the children after the people apologize to him or leaves them to die to teach their parents a lesson.

    Films — Animated 
  • Shrek Forever After: The Pied Piper is a bounty hunter, his flute adjustable to whatever creature he wanted to hypnotize (in this case, ogres).
  • "Sahara" note : Omar, the Big Bad of the movie, possesses a magic flute carved from the bones of an ancient snake deity. When he plays it, the music allows him to control snakes. He can use it to make them dance for his snake-charming performance, or keep them from escaping him (as demonstrated when Eva tries to leave). Later, Ajar steals the flute to keep it out of Omar's hands, and at some point, breaks it during a struggle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Crystal: Jen's split flute comes in handy for identifying the true shard and in a bonding scene with fellow Gelfling Kira.
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975): Tony plays a harmonica to increase his telekinetic powers.
  • Kill Bill: Bill plays a wooden flute which lends to his mysteriousness.
  • Live and Let Die: One of James Bond's opponents is a man who plays the role of the voodoo loa Baron Samedi. Bond once encounters him while he's playing a flute. After apparently being killed by venomous snakes, at the end he appears riding the front of a train, indicating that he may be the real Baron Samedi.
  • In the Wuxia film The Magic Crane, Pak Wan-fai is frequently seen playing her bamboo flute, which is used to summon and control the titular magic crane.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Mr. Wonka uses a flute key to summon the Oompa-Loompas when he needs to issue a command to them.
  • 7 Faces of Dr. Lao: Pan uses his pipes on Angela as the audible equivalent of a Love Potion (though he ultimately points her towards her local would-be suitor rather than himself.)

  • Edgar Pangborn: His short story "Tiger Boy" might count. The eponymous youth plays a set of pan pipes, runs wild and naked, and has a fully-grown tiger as a companion. The pipes attract a mute teenage village boy to Tiger Boy's side (possible echoes of the Pied Piper). However, he's not actually magical - it's a feudal, post-holocaust world. (He's certainly not immortal either.)
  • The Elenium: A young girl, the Goddess Aphrael, who seemingly doesn't talk but does play the flute is named Flute by our heroes.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The faun Mr. Tumnus (the first Narnian we meet) plays a flute lullaby to Lucy on her first trip to Narnia.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Grover the Satyr often uses flutes (all versions of them, in fact) to cast nature-based spells. Among them include one that causes a Titan to assimilate into an enormous oak tree during the final battle with Kronos. That's what we'd call a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Xanth: Chester Centaur's magical talent is to manifest and play a magical flute.
  • The Rat Piper in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (the real one, not the stupid-looking kid) works very hard at maintaining this image. Maurice and Keith trade on his reputation.
  • The Blind Idiot God Azathoth in the Cthulhu Mythos enjoys himself some flute music, which would undoubtably be at least extremely unpleasant to human listeners. The sound of his flutists is what keeps him from waking up and destroying the universe.
  • The Piper of Keys to the Kingdom, who is based on The Pied Piper of Hamelin, uses his pipes to control children and rats.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, playing the flute in the woods is what led to Tom's capture by The Fair Folk.
  • In Rachel Griffin, Rachel initially uses a flute to cast spells, as per the trope. However, it turns out that just whistling can do as well.
  • Pact has Johannes Lillegard, a sorcerer who wields a set of pipes which are said to have originated with the original Pied Piper. He uses them to control rats, dogs, and the copies of children whose suffering he sells to supernatural creatures for power.
  • Virginia Dare in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel apparently plays her flute for a living. She also uses it to cast spells.
  • At one point in the story of This Immortal, the group of protagonists encounters some satyrs in the forest, prompting Conrad to produce shepherd's pipes out of nowhere and causing a dancing frenzy among the satyrs with his music. At the end of the book, Myshtigo theorises that Conrad may be the god Pan in disguise when recalling that incident.
  • In the Felix Castor series of novels, the titular character favored medium of channeling his ability to bind ghosts is by playing tunes on a tin whistle that reflects the ghost's nature.
  • In the Bedlam's Bard series by Mercedes Lackey, the main character Eric Banyon is a Bard whose primary instrument is the flute.
  • In the Elemental Masters series, Air Master Nigel Barrett uses a flute for such spells as summoning the sylphs. He started out with a metal one, but when it didn't feel quite right, he had a glassblower make him a glass one instead.
  • In Robert Rankin's novels, mysterious guru's guru Hugo Rune has many titles, among which is the Reinventor of the Ocarina. It's revealed in The Book of Ultimate Truths that the reinvented ocarina allows travel to the Forbidden Zones.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Classical Mythology: The Greek god Pan could induce fear and panic with his pipes.
  • Native American US Southwest: Kokopelli is this, mixed with the fertility role, thus giving a new meaning to his flute.
  • Hindu Mythology: Krishna was one in his childhood.


  • The Magnus Archives:
    • The war poet Wifred Owen has an encounter on the battlefield with a strange being he calls the Piper.
    • The title of the episode "Boatswain's Call" refers to the old-fashioned whistle the mate carries. The narrator soon learns that it's no ordinary call.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! spellcaster monster Mystic Piper lets you draw a card and if it's a level 1 monster card an extra one, once.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Satyrs have pipes that they can use to create magical effects.
  • The iconic Pathfinder bard, Lem, wields a silver flute as his primary instrument and casts powerful magic with it.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade: The Wandering Minstrel Nils plays the flute, allowing one character to make an extra move, and later in the game, providing status buffs. By contrast, his older sister Ninian does the same with a Magic Dance.
  • The Legend of Zelda series: Link, although he himself is not very mysterious since he's the player-character. His instrument also varies from game to game: recorders, ocarinas, pan pipes, etc. Sometimes, though, such as in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link gets his flute from a character who plays this trope straight.
  • Mushihime Sama BUG PANIC!: A mysterious girl who appears in the cutscenes named Sora
  • NiGHTS into Dreams...: The eponymous character himself/herself plays the invisible flute.
  • Ōkami: Waka, who provides the page image, is named after a form of Japanese poetry. His appearance is always announced by the sound of a flute, and he tells cryptic, yet accurate prophecies.
    • Then from the sequel, Ōkamiden, there's Kurow, who not only bears an uncanny resemblance to Waka, but in the same vain as him plays a flute. Fittingly, he is a doll copy of Waka in the first place, down to a similar Weapon of Choice.
  • Onmyōji: Ōtengu uses his flute to cast a hypnotic spell over unsuspecting yōkai.
    • Mannen-dake is the only flutist in the game who actually uses the instrument as a weapon.
  • Trials of Mana: A magic flute summons a big goggles-wearing turtle at beaches.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3: A magic whistle can be used to skip whole worlds.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Zhen Ji's primary weapon is a magic flute that she also uses to hit people over the head.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Eiko, a white mage and summoner, can use flutes as weapons.
  • Wario Land 3: At one point, Wario must play on a flute to summon the Fire Snakes from their pots so they can be used as platforms.
  • Illusion of Gaia: Will uses a flute both to play magical songs and as a blugeoning device.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Kakuya's presence is identifiable by the flute that she plays, which can be heard from a large distance by those that she's cursed. In contrast to the horrific hauntings that she inflicts on her victims, her flute's song is serene.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes: A few shorts have parodied The Pied Piper:
    • Porky Pig played the Piper in a couple of cartoons. In one he has to contend with a cat angry with him for ridding Hamelin of rats.
    • Sylvester tried to make a flute to capture Speedy Gonzalez and friends. Also, Sylvester Jr. found that he could attract different animals by adding holes to the flute.
  • The Smurfs and the Magic Flute: Peewit stumbles upon the magic flute of the Smurfs that makes whoever listens to it dance to its tune. It ends up in the possession of a thief named Matthew McCreep, who uses it to make people pass out from the dancing so he can rob them.
  • In Thunder Cats 2011, Wileykit can send people into a trance by playing a sort of ring-shaped ocarina.
  • The Pixie & Dixie short "Pied Piper Pipe" has Mr. Jinks, inspired by the Pied Piper story, create a flute to torture the meeces with. They get back at him by placing a dog whistle in the flute so Jinks can get beaten up a nearby bulldog.
  • The 1930 Screen Songs short "In the Good Old Summer Time" has a gag where a hippo's flue brings inanimate objects to life and follow him. Even a stereotypical Jewish pig's clothes fly off of him to follow the sound.
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots has the Piper Maliflua, who can control animals with her flute like the Pied Piper, but only one kind of animal at a time; she uses a different flute for each animal.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 132, Mr. Cat somehow gets hold of a magic flute and tries to use it to lead a bunch of sheep into a trap.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Volpina uses her flute to conjure hyperrealistic illusions. The real holder of the Fox Miraculous, Rena Rouge (aka Alya) also has this power.
  • Samurai Jack has the bounty hunter Scaramouche, who (as part of his Magic Music powers) can play a magical flute that allows him to create and control a giant golem out of surrounding stone rubble through telekinesis.

    Real Life 
  • The Japanese shakuhachi is strongly associated with the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism, who used the instrument as part of their meditative process. When the Meiji government cracked down on the previous bakufu and all associated religions, they specifically attacked the practice of playing the shakuhachi.

Alternative Title(s): Magical Flautist


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