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"When I awoke, all that was left of my life there… was the flute I'd taught myself to play."
– Jean-Luc Picard reminisces about his life experience as a Ressikan, 2369 ("Lessons")

The Ressikan flute was a small flute made of a tin-like material, native to the community of Ressik on the dead planet of Kataan.

Kamin's flute

Picard's Ressikan flute.

In 2368, Captain Jean-Luc Picard acquired a Ressikan flute through an experience he had related to a probe launched from the dead planet. The probe projected a particle beam to Picard's brain, and played out a scenario by which Picard actually experienced over 50 years in the span of only 25 actual minutes. As he lived the life of a man called Kamin, he also learned how to play the flute, a skill that he retained after the probe finished its program. The probe was brought in and examined, inside of which the flute was found and given to Picard. (TNG: "The Inner Light")

Picard considered the flute to be one of his most prized possessions. It represented, to him, an entire lifetime he lived in only 25 minutes, a life completely different from that aboard the Enterprise, with a wife, children and even a grandson. As of 2379, Picard kept the flute on his desk in his ready room aboard the USS Enterprise-E. (TNG: "Lessons"; Star Trek Nemesis)

Picard Mozart trio, Program 1 was a musical composition Picard wrote for the Ressikan flute. (TNG: "A Fistful of Datas")



Background information

The flute prop with case

The music of the Ressikan flute was not played by Patrick Stewart, but by musician Brice Martin. Stewart did receive lessons so that his fingering would be accurate. [1](X)

The tune played by Picard in "The Inner Light" was an excerpt from "Scottish Fantasy", originally composed by Max Bruch and re-composed by Jay Chattaway.

According to musician Brice Martin, the sound of the flute was provided by an Oak tin whistle in the key of D. [2](X)

The prop was sold as Lot #537 at the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction. The buyer paid $48,000 for the lot (including the buyer's premium on a bid of $40,000). The catalog estimate for the lot was 800 to 1200 dollars. [3] Prior to being sold, the flute was toured by Christie's along with the other objects from the franchise and generated massive interest. While seeing it on tour, people often requested for it to be taken out simply for them to touch it, and several of the crew of The Next Generation predicted that it would fetch one of the highest prices of any item. (TNG Season 5 Blu-ray, "The Inner Light" commentary)

The design of the Ressikan flute prop was based on various different makes of tin whistle. According to musician Brice Martin, the flute is a non-functional prop, and makes no sound when played. [4](X) In an interview, Patrick Stewart laughed, "It doesn't play; it's not a real flute." Patrick Stewart's son, however, said it "played well" for him.

In 2019, the music of a Ressikan flute could be heard at the end of the teaser trailer for Star Trek: Picard.

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