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.

Dec 16, 2014

L. Mozart (well, no) Toy Symphony

Our friend Herman Vandecauter just released a new video in which he plays the Leopold Mozart's Toy Symphony (Kindersinfonie). In fact, « Recent research on a newly found manuscript suggests the Austrian benedictine monk Edmund Angerer (1740–1794) to be the author. » (wiki).
In this video, Herman made a nice arrangement for tenor ukulele, nose flute, canary whistle, chinese xu, tambourine and water whistle!

Dec 14, 2014

Topps Nose Flute (Humanatone)

Two years and a half after having discovered its existence, we finally found and got one: the rare Topps Nose Flute, with its great packaging!

We will not repeat what we already wrote there about the Topps company and cheap toys. Let just say — contrarywise to what we stated in 2012 — that this flute is a *real* Humanatone, branded by Gretsch, and not a Topps dedicated version Humanatone. It dates of the second half of the 1960s.

Mine is a beautiful monochromatic mid-blue sample, and is similar at any point to the regular Gretsch Humies that were sold in cardboard boxes. I carefully removed the stapples to take pictures, and then repacked this collector for another long sleep.

As we said, the difference lays in the great packaging offered to the Topps flute. The young player looks totally enchanted by the whistlings he produces, the colors are rather flashy, and the typographics are funny.

A user manual is included with the Humanatone, with no particular surprise, but showing a strip of three boxes, drawn like a triptych by Roy Lichtenstein :)

A good addition in the collection!

Dec 1, 2014

Yoshihiro Sawada's new templates

Inspired by our flat nose flute, Mr. Yoshihiro Sawada (aka RON) (check this post ) has solved the « fixing the airway to the body » problem in a very elegant way: cutting two slits in the main shield in order to insert the two ends of a prolongated airway. Very clever!!

Nov 28, 2014

Dadaistic Funeral March and Christmas Song

"Marschner Jürgen" aka Jogi - is a multi talented and very creative musician from Berlin. Jogi composes and plays what I dare to call a very typical Berliner music, kind of very creative light-electronic-dadaistic melodies with a serious/dramatic counterpoint (low percussions or a bass distorted voice...). He plays the out-of-tune ukulele as well as Casio keyboards, samplepad, percussions, and... Nasenflöte!

Here is the Nosepipe-Ukulele Funeral March he sent me the link to. I couldn't resist laughing before his mastering of the delicate shifts to the out-of-tune world. Great work!

Jogi seems to have been very inspired by Christmas this last week, and produced no less than four videos on the theme. « I missed a Noseflute Christmas Song in the archive », he wrote me, and added in the video description « I think it's worldwide the first Nosepipe Christmas Song ». Well, there already were (check our here for instance), but this one is my prefered one:

There are many other little treasures that you should watch and listen to on Marschner Jürgen Youtube channel.

Nov 24, 2014

The Pop-up Nose Flute : Major Improvement on the WINF!

The Wallet Instant Nose Flute (WINF) encountered a nice critical success, but some readers asked me OK, but why don't you glue the 2 parts together? Well, for sure I tried sereval ways to glue the small piece to the big one, for more comfort in the handling. The problem was kind of structural: when glued, the air exit bulged too much to create a very thin air flow. The two only obvious ways to act upon this problem would have been 1) either to make a much less broad air exit (bad solution: the flute wouldn't whistle anymore) or 2) not to bulge the nose flute itself so much (bad solution too: it has to be bent a lot in order to provide hermeticity)

But... I found a solution: make a double air exit, in order to flatten its two openings, and provide the required very thin air flow.

For that, I added a little flap on the small piece, folded it (the plastic quality has to stand with repeated foldings). This little flap is glued above the mouth hole: it keeps the airway cover at the right place and also saves the "flatability" of the nose flute.

For the rest, nothing hs changed, but it is easier now to show how this pop-up nose flute (2.5D!) works:

Here is the new template:

And the video!:


Nov 23, 2014

A Reader tests the Wallet Instant Nose Flute

A reader of this blog — our friend UkeVal/LuthVal — has decided to test the Wallet Instant Nose flute, and succeeded well! I guess he used a rather thin plastic and cut a fipple a bit to high ([edit: template has been corrected] on my template, the "7 mm" refers to the height *including* the bevel. The hole itself is only 5 or 6 mm high). So, his sound is a bit too much windy. But UkeVal got the move and sound! Congratulations!

And his second test, with another WINF made with a bevel and a narrower mouth hole:

Nov 18, 2014

The Wallet Instant Nose Flute

It is sometimes pretty annoying to carry a nose flute in your pocket, particularly if you wear an elegant suit and don't want to get your pockets deformed. You would need a flat nose flute! Here is one, which is so simple to make that it could have been named the Poor Man's Nose Flute. Well, I chose to call it, contrarywise, the Wallet Instant Nose Flute.

I took a piece of soft plastic coming from a ring binder cover, and cut 2 parts: a circular one and a trapezoid one. Then, I made a rectangular cut in the round piece, and made a bevel on its lower edge, as a fipple.

Here is the template of the 2 pieces I cut:

So, I got two plastic parts and... and that's all. No glue, no adhesive tape, nothing, and the Wallet Instant Nose Flute is ready! You don't believe me? Just watch the video below.

You just have to place the smallest part (the back side of the airway) over the circular piece and, holding the ensemble like on the picture above, put your nose at the right place. There is a little knack to get not to move the small piece away from the fipple, but when you have gotten it, every attempt is a success.

Well, I deliberately chose a translucent plastic because I'm a freak, but you're not obliged to show off your nostrils like I do :)

And now, the video, for your greatest pleasure:

Nov 16, 2014

Another vintage Humanatone with box

I recently found another old Humanatone with its box. It's a tin model, Style O (one day, I would like to know what correspond those styles 0, 20 and 30 to...). It was provided with its original box, rather crumbled with one missing flap. Since the glued flap was... unglued, it was easy for me to moisten the cardboard a bit, iron it, then reglue the flap.

The box is printed on the four main sides, but nothing appears on the opening ones. It is printed in black on a natural (not colored) cardboard:

The printing is very similar to the red box I already own: the opening sides differ, being printed there with a "Open on this end" advice. The texts are the same, the fonts are different. Also, the "concert" illustration has been inserted between the children on the red version, with an addition of "Made in USA" at the bottom.
The cardboard cutting is different (the small flaps are rounded on the beige one), and the glued flap was manually cut (irregular cut). Another difference is obviously the fact that the red box is negative-printed (it is the background which is inked, the scriptures being let unprinted).

All in all, simpler in the printings and in the text, the beige box is undoubtedly older than the red one.

The nose flute itself is very typical, in good condition, with visible solderings and clear but rather soft stampings.

On the back, above the lip rest, and also inside the air collector, there are still some remnants of a chrome plating. So, the "style O" didn't designate a non-plated flute... Was the "style" only dedicated to the packaging quality? (check a Style 20 box here)

The lateral flaps are of the "bolster" type. And this causes me to revise the previous opinion I exposed there: the boldster type should be posterior to the "ice cream stick" type (but yet prior the "pear shape").

I am not able to date with precision this version of the Humanatone of the Stivers era, but I guess it should have been issued between the early 1910's and the early 1920's. A nice find, anyway!

Nov 10, 2014

Oji ~i and the Nose Flute Angels

Mr. Makoto Yorokobi Nozaki (眞歓野崎) is the founder and president of the group 天使の鼻笛 スマフル笑会 ("The Nose Flute Angels"), also called スマフル笑会, which is read Sumafuru Emi-kai: Sumafuru is the Japanese reading of the english word "Smileful", and Emi-kai means "smile". The Facebook group gathers already 110 members after just a few month of existence.

The Nose Flute Angels logo and its president "おじぃ" (Oji ~i : "Uncle"):

This video is the 3rd "Smileful nose flute" journey, and Makoto Yorokobi Nozaki plays 坊がつる賛歌 (BougatsuruSanka). Before it, the "Smileful noseflutist" had recorded the 1st and 2nd journeys, available here and here.

But Oji ~i is not only a nose flute player and group leader, he also spends lot of time in teaching hanabue playing to adults, but also and mostly to Japanese children, in children clubs. The following video is really great:

Nov 8, 2014

Working with a Pocket Knife

We already posted (here) a video provided as a supplement of a book dealing with making toys and instruments with a pocket knife. But now, we've go the book.

Werken mit dem Taschenmesser
("Working with a Pocket Knife") is a Swiss book, published by AT Verlag and apparently sponsored by Victorinox, the famous Swiss army pocket knife company. The idea of the author Felix Immler is to make many (twenty six) objects from wood found in the forrest and worked only with a (multi-tool) pocket knife. After a part dedicated to learning the different knife tools usage, the tutorials, range from "beginner" to "expert". This last section features a Nasenflöte.

Seven pages are dedicated to the nose flute making, but I obviously cannot publish them "full size", for copyright reasons. However, let's take the risk to show some pictures, as advertising samples.

As you can see, the tutorial is fully illustrated, with explicit pictures. The texts also are clear and precise, as far as you read German or, as I did, scan them, pass the result through an OCR tool, then stuff Google translation with. The description of the work is precise, providing dimensions etc.

Even if you don't feel the need to rush in the woods with your pocket knife with the irrepressible need to carve a nose flute, the method provided by Felix Immler can be very useful for those of you who would like to take the time to build their own wooden nose flute, in the comfort of a workshop and with the help of precise tools.

You can buy
Werken mit dem Taschenmesser
directly from the publisher (here) or cheaper from Amazon (new or used), particulary the German one.

Here is the video supplied in complement of the book: