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.

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:



Nov 5, 2014

My Neighbor Totoro - Udon817



A still video (including a very nice drawing of a Humanatone) by Udon817. The soundtrack is played with one ukulele and two nose flute tracks (actually Humanatone). The music is My Neighbor Totoro theme, a famous Japanese animated movie by Hayao Miyazaki.Sweet and nice playing!

Nov 3, 2014

The End (The Doors) by the Nosy Diva at Jim Morrison's grave

Noseflute.org had the opportunity to guide the Nosy Diva in her sightseeing visit in Paris. The Diva wanted to play a little homage to Jim Morrison and we went to the Père Lachaise cemetery, where is buried the Doors' leader. It was a piece of luck to be able to shoot the video in rather quiet conditions, since tourists buses pour out a constant flow of international visitors, greedy to hail the poet's memory.

The Diva played The End (1967) with her mini uke (iuke) and a Handler noseflute.



For sure, it is not the only place that the Diva visited, and here are some pictures of the Noseflute.org tour, among many other places and monuments she went to.

At the Tampographe Sardon's workshop:


At the Chocolate Factory (exhibition by artist Paul McCarthy):

At the Fondation Louis Vuitton by architect Frank Gehry), and in front of the Moulin Rouge:

And in Pigalle! oohlalah!

Nov 1, 2014

New Nose Flutes by Martina Sommer

I recently received two Nasenflöten by Martina Sommer, and it is the right opportunity to make an update. Indeed, we have already made a review of Martina Sommer's nose flutes (check this 2011 post please), but her instruments have a bit elvolved and the the way to get them has changed: no more at sommer-musik.de, which page is dedicated to Martin Sommer's music, but on de.dawanda.com or by direct contact ( musik-zeit[at]gmx[dot]de ).

In fact, few things have changed: Martina's nose flutes are hand made with nice woods, and each instrument is unique in its shape and wood combinations. But it seems that Mrs Sommer experiments with more complex shapes, including asymmetrical ones.



I got two nose flutes of rather elaborate shapes, one symmetric using curves, and one asymmetric only made of angles. They were provided with an user manual, a cardboard box and equipped with a leather neck cord.

The first one is made of hornbeam and robinia, and shows lateral edges taht have been filed into a watermelon slice shape. On the airway cover, a central depression has also been filed: those cuts are an help to grip the nose flute and press it under the nose, either with 2 fingers, or with adding one in the middle.

The second one (cherry + walnut wood)is even more interesting, with its asymmetrical shape. It definitively has a great look, very angular, like a stealth F117 airplane.

As expected with Martina Sommer's production, the craftsmanship is precise and neat. However, a soft sanding on the fipple would be nice for a perfect finish.



Unfortunately, the "technical parts" have stayed the same since our first review. The airway (which is not rectangular but rounded) is far too thick to provide a real "air blade": it measures up to 3 mm at the maximum of the rounded canal. Then, the mouth hole, which is a perfect circular hole, is also far too big in heigth (1 cm of diameter, while we know that .6 or .7 are the max: Heinrich Handler's Nasenflöten have a 3 mm high mouth hole and works like in paradise!).

So, all in all, a thick airway plus a too high mouth hole make the Sommer's nose flutes sound weak and windy. You have too blow strongly in them, and get a rather medium quality of sound. Schade, sehr schade. Yes, alas, because those nose flutes are beautiful and made with care, for a decent price (20€).