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.

Aug 22, 2011

Aurion V. Chevers : the climax of compacity

In 1909, Mr. Aurion Vila Chevers, citizen of Providence, Rhode Island, files its third musical instrument patent (US951801, filed Mar. 29, 1909 and registered Mar. 15, 1910).
It is a complex musical pipe :

« This invention has for its object to produce a novel pipe, adapted for use as a musical instrument and capable for adaptation to use as a tobacco pipe. »

The object is not primarily a nose flute, but has interesting features and is planned to be mounted with nostril adapters :

« Fig. 7 is a plan view of the pipe with a bifurcated stem for two users. »

« X (Figs. 3, 4 and 11) is a terminal piece on the stem, adapted for application to a nostril, and having a flange formed to bear on the margin of the nostril to form an air tight joint. »

But Chevers won't stop in such a good way, and during ten years, will work on a new device, and this time, it is a real nose flute. He files a patent for a "Musical Instrument or Vocal Flute" on Feb. 24, 1916, and the patent US1228532 is registered on June 5, 1917.

« My invention consists of a novel form of musical instrument or vocal flute adapted to be played by application to the nostrils and mouth of the operator. The object of the invention is to provide an instrument for producing a musical sound from a current of air expelled from the lungs through the nose and directed across the open mouth, with the tone capable of variation in accordance with the form of vocal cavity in the same manner that the tones of the voice are varied in singing. »

The design is exceptionally compact, and it seems that in spite of elementary hygienic requirements, the air directly flows from the nose to the mouth.

« The pipe is very easily manipulated to adapt the mouth to act as a variable resonator and the effect produced is exceptionally pleasing and harmonious, very closely simulating the soft notes of a flute or other reed instrument. »

The vocal flute is intended to be made in hard rubber, wood, clay or metal, although this last material would provide a "metallic sound".

« The device may be constructed from any suitable material, the preferred method being to mold it from hard rubber having a smooth, polished exterior. Other varieties of material such as wood, celluloid, porcelain, clay, fiber or metal might be employed in its construction, but metal is perhaps the least suitable for the purpose since it tends to render the tone of the device metallic. »

Aurion Chevers' design includes several declinations :

« ... in order to simplify its method of operation and provide for its fullest capacity I have improved its form somewhat as shown in Figs. 5 and 6 to adapt it to be operated from both nostrils. »

For our biggest pleasure, the portraict of the inventor playing his instrument has been published in Popular Science Monthly (March 1918).

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