This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Jun 27, 2016

Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV

This post is the sequel of Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III


6.- Stories

This last section is the most interesting, also the most moving, because the samples generally directly involve Jean Shepherd's story himself, but also sometimes other people, other times, other places.

The first one is almost out of topic. It's a small quizz:


The first of those two clips is very long (30') and is a large part of a broadcasting called 'Jew's harp and Nose flutes'. Both tell the Shep's story with nose flutes and Jew"s harps:


This is long (10') clip, about getting scary by playing the cuckoo... But I'm not 100% sure the sounds were made with a nose flute... (with reverb!)



In 1965, Jean Shepherd went to Amazon (Peru side) and met native tribes. He had brought a kazoo, a Jew's harp and a nose flute with him...

The first clip is part of a radio show (09/16), the second one too (09/17), but the excerpt was recorded in Peru, and the last one is a part of a public conference (09/18). They are great archives...





For having promoted the nose flute in many of his radio shows, played and taught our noble instrument to people of Amazon, Jean Shepherd is inducted to the Nose Flute Hall of Fame, in the "Promoters" section, with the Honorary Degree!

Related links :

- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV


Jun 25, 2016

Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III

This post is the sequel of Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II


This time, no hesitation, it is a Jew's harp and other funny gizmos on the desk:


5.- Commercials

This is probably the funniest part of this series of posts: Jean Shepherd playing along real commercials. And very often, his playing sounds like a comment turning the message into derision. How could the advertisers have accepted that? Incredible. Well, this funny practice stopped in 1966. The main targets were cigarettes and beers, but there were a few other victims.

Ballantine's Beer...






... but also Rheingold and Miller Highlife beers...



Winston cigarettes...





... but also Camel:


And '200X' engine protection product...


...and General Tyres:


Great, no?

>> Access Part IV


Related links :

- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV


Jun 23, 2016

Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II

This post is the sequel of Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I


What's laying on the papers? is it a Jew's harp, a Humanatone or something else?:


3.- Compositions

What I mean by 'Compositions' are kind of improvisations Jean Shepherd generally played on several instruments (playing along over his own recordings, sometimes re-using the same). Most of the time, you can recognize percussions, kazoo, nose flute...





4.- Experiments

Those musical experiments are very interesting, even though Jean Shepherd didn't hesitate to play them again and again. At the beginning, I wondered what was the very sharp instrument Shep used for the melody: was it a tin whistle? No, there were slidings... Was it a syringe flute? No, too fast and too precise. Then I understood it was a nose flute. A pre-recorded nose flute that was accelerated! (I made a test slowing and pitching it down, and I confirmed the nose flute). Then Jean Shepherd either played along live nose flute on it, or even read the commercials...

... Mozart...







... Rossini...



... but also on a March:




>> Access Part III


Related links :

- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV


Jun 21, 2016

Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I

On Wikipedia, on Jean Shepherd's page, it is written:

« On some of his broadcasts he played parts of recordings of such novelty songs as "The Bear Missed the Train" (a parody of the Yiddish ballad "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen") and "The Sheik of Araby". Sometimes Shepherd would accompany the recordings by playing the Jew's harp, nose flute, or kazoo, and occasionally even by thumping his knuckles on his head. »

I already posted about the famous radio storyteller Jean Shepherd (see here), but I wanted to go further. I'm not going to deal with his life and career (better check the numerous pages about him), but to focus, as you can imagine, on the nose flute side of his work. Many of his programs were available on the Net, but I was a bit reluctant before the mountain to be climbed...

But we did it, I sacrificed myself for you! I downloaded the 1,236 files I found (from,, and Just take a look at Year 1972 on, and you will understand what it could be to check all programs available from 1959 to 1977. I wrote 'available', because has done a census of 3,076 of them...

Most of the files I downloaded are 45' long (kind of 900 hours of broadcasting), and I couldn't spend such time in listening all of them. So I did the craziest job possible (I mean a job that really turns you mad, enters your dreams at night, etc.): I 'scanned' the 1,236 files. That is, I listened to a very short sound signal every 20 sec. It took me about 20 hours staying concentrated in order to detect any nose flute playing while clicking like a woodpecker (I calculated: some 120,000 clicks and some headaches:). Crazy work, but the crop is there!

For sure I have probably missed some short nose flute appearances... Yes. Is it a problem ? No. In the table I made, the figures are probably not exact, but I think they are correct relatively to each other: they draw a global picture. So, was Jean Shepherd a 'Jew's harp, nose flute, and kazoo' player ?

As you can see, Jean Shepherd began playing the nose flute in the 1959 shows, and that's only in 1964 and 1965 that the kazoo and jew's harp appeared. But in the whole picture, the kazoo was played in more broacasts (170) than the Jew's harp (114), and much more than the nose flute (47)! So, 'Shep' was mostly a kazoo player!

Anyway, I was able to sort the 'nose flute files' in several categories:

1.- Solos (short melodies or gimmicks played on the nose flute alone)
2.- Plays along (solos or melodies played over a music record)
3.- Compositions (J.S. own compositions or improvisations)
4.- Experiments (application of miscellanous effects)
5.- Commercials (solos or 'musical comments' played over a commercial)
6.- Stories (storytelling involving a nose flute)

OK. Let's go! Time for Jean Shepherd!


1.- Solos

This is not the funniest category, but as you can hear, the last (1966) clip show the use of reverb. The first clip, from 1959, should really be the first one with nose flute, since Shep introduces it:






2.- Plays along

Playing along a record was an amusement that seems to have pleased a lot Jean Shepherd. Mostly Jazz (News Orleans, Jug bands, Ragtime...)…









…, this standard ('That's My Weakness Now') …


…, but also Marches (military fanfares)…



…, and even a classical theme ('Bahn frei by Eduard Strauss, the Shepherd show theme)


>> Access Part II


Related links :

- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV


Jun 20, 2016

Nose Flute Quartet at Tsurugashima

A nice video made by a joyful quartet at Tsurugashima Nose Flute Exhibition! The musicians are members of the "Nerima Nose Flute Friends" association ('日本鼻笛協会 練馬友の会'). Their YT channel is here.

Jun 15, 2016

Vintage Marbled Gretsch Humanatone

Today, relax, just a few pictures of an vintage marbled Gretsch Humanatone just added to the collection.

Jun 14, 2016

5th International & Interspecies Nose Flute Day!

Here, at, we regard the Nose Flute day as the perfect moment to spread nosefluting, and particularly to initiate someone to our noble art. That's the reason we decided to make a specific little nose flute for our C.E.O., my cat Patafix.

I also wanted to test a new device I received (I intend to use it at School of Architecture): it is an extrusion pen. You plug it on USB, stuff it with a ABS plastic wire, and the pen melts the wire while extruding the plastic. With it, one can build (literally 'draw') small (and fragile) little structures.

So, I wanted to see if it was possible to build a small nose flute for Patafix. I chose 'glow in the dark' ABS wire to do so, and began to draw a basic shape, then to fill it. It is rather difficult to master the pen and I was not able to produce a regular shape. I felt like drawing with a pastry bag disgorging custard.

Then I created the inner airway (very uggly, uh?), and a nose hood adapted to Patafix' snout:

Finally, I sharpened the labium and sanded the flute as I could to smooth the surfaces, added an elastic cord with 2 pink beads (Patafix is a girl, don't forget it!):

Yoohooh! It glows in the night!

At first, the moustachioed C.E.O. of was a bit reluctant in trying the instrument...

But after a while, Patafix adopted the nose flute and played a beautiful music piece (unfortunately, I hadn't my recorder with me at this moment...). Anyway, she will mostly use it as a bird call…

Jun 13, 2016

What are you going to do for INFD?

14th of June — tomorrow – is the International Nose Flute Day. The date was chosen as an homage to William G. Carter, inventor of the mordern and urban nose flute, which patent was registered Jun. 14, 1892.
Each year, on the 14th of June, united nosefluters around the world do something special to honor the little instrument. And you, what will you do for the International Nose Flute Day?

Our friend Don Luis, from Mexico, just realized a video in which he plays the nose flute, juggles with a pair of tennis balls (Juggling Day stands on 18th!), and read a book by James Joyce (Bloomsday on the 16th!). Hahaha! very creative!


On his side, sensei Mosurin organizes an nose flute exhibition in Saitama (Japan), that will stand from 14th to 19th of June. During five days, the work of 13 hanabue makers will be exposed. On the 19th, a concert will close the event (we wish we could be there, with a thick wallet:).

2016/6/14 (Tue) to 19 (Sun)
open from 11:30 to 16:00
Community Restaurant, Saitama Prefecture Tsurugashima Gomiketani 230-3
Parking available. TEL: 049-287-1792


And you, what will you do for the International Nose Flute Day?

Jun 11, 2016

4 Hanabue by Tida (Nobuyuki Takaba)

'太陽(てぃだ)'('Tida':'The Sun' in Okinawan dialect) is a little workshop in Tsu (Mie Prefecture), Japan, held by Mr. Takaba Nobuyuki, who began producing nose flutes December 2014.

Takaba-san has already handcrafted about 80 hanabue, and will present his work at the Saitama Nose Flute Exhibition (June 14 to 19).

M. Nobuyuki Takaba also makes interesting devices dedicated to fasten a nose flute to a mike stand:


I ordered four Tida hanabue. All Nobuyuki's 'Solar Nose Flutes' are crafted with much care in the choice of the woods. They are generally made with 3 pieces of wood, although early ones were composed of 4. They all are individually numbered and finished either with beeswax or a mixture of beeswax and rapeseed oil.

#23: Rosewood (cypress airway) - Oil finish

This early model was made with 4 pieces of wood. Indeed, a thin cypress shim goes along the airway and forms its inner wall on the rear side. It is a small flute (4.4 x 6.2cm), very smooth and well finished, unless the nose cavity (see below), which a bit coarse. All in all, this is a nice little nose flute, very agreable to play, sharp oriented and loud.

#32: Ebony - Oil finish

This darky is a super small baby (4.8 x 5.0cm) and is very funny. The air intake – at the bottom of the nose bowl – is a very thin cut line (less than 1 mm!!). Since the nose bowl, which is far better finished than on #23, collects the breath, the is no problem to align nostrils and intake. However, the flute is lightly squeaky in the very sharp notes.

#37: Zelkova - Oil finish

A small instrument again (5.0x5.5cm), with a slightly more woody sound. The intake is less wide, but also just a bit less thin (1mm). No squeaking problems noticed, and a rather wide tone range.

#67: Jirikote - Beeswax finish

This flute is the most recent among the four. It certainly dates of 2016, and I can notice a real improvement in the finishings. The nose bowl has now a peanut shape and is smooth and regular. It measures 4.9x5.6cm, but is a bit thicker that the other ones. The two-colored Jirikote wood is stunning, and the flute is a real little wooden jewel in the hand. Without any doubt, Takaba-san evolved in his craft, and the flute is loud, precise, quick...


Each Solar Nose Flute is provided with a plastic cord, with a pair of chromed beads, and an unscrewable fastener, that allows to remove quickly the cord from the flute. Any of the Tifa hanabue is numbered, and a little wooden label is mounted on the cord, with the number engraved. Each flute comes also with its identity card, detailing the woods used, the finishing, and the serial number.

As said before, a great care is applied to the choice of the woods. Here are some details of my #67, made in a beautiful piece of Jirikote. Please notice the 'peanut' shape of the nose bowl, and its nice and smooth finish (last pic.):


Whether there is (always) a place for improvement – in a total perfect finishing and sound purity –, the Tida nose flutes have really quickly evolved in a good way, reaching now a good fair level of quality and playability. The woods used are beautiful and the details (cord, beads, label with sn#, id. card) make them desirable instruments.

Here is a short sound sample, please excuse my unsecure playing, it was 5:30 in the morning :)

We wish Mr. Takaba Nobuyuki a good success at Saitama Nose Flute Fair next week, and to continue to produce great and beautiful Solar hanabue!