Well, Mr.Schuermans is not a 2011 newcomer in nosefluting : he began creating those instruments 4 years ago, after having read about them. As a potter, he first hand-shaped his first models, then created moulds. The first shape evolved to new models, leading to the beautiful current Bocarina™. During these years, Chris Schuermans thought also of developing a plastic production, in order to satisfy greedy mass-customers and lessen the fabrication costs.
It took Chris Schuermans around a year to achieve the final specifications of the plastic Bocarina™, using simultaneously his designing and nose flute playing skills, with the help of a 3D modelling software. It has been a very precise work to refine the fipple specs, dimensions, angles...
Finally, a first series of 2000 pieces were produced, in ABS plastics, according to 5 different colors, pure black, Delft blue, coral red, plain orange, and milky pink.
Taking the Schuermans' flute in the hand is another cool sensation. ABS is a very good quality of plastics, smooth, rather dense and solid. The Bocarina™ is thick. Nothing comparable with the other well-knowned thin polystyren instruments. The Bocarina™ is not made of a sheet of plastics curved to get the 3D shape, with rough edges. The South African flute was originally conceived as a volume, as a sculpture. Let's remember Chris Schuermans is a potter...
There are no angled edges on the Bocarina™ - excepted where needed (labium) - and even the border edges are rounded, giving a pleasant feeling in the hand or on the face, as a light and concave pebble would. And the thickness increases from the edges (~2mm) to the center (up to 4 mm).
Anyway, the fact the nose scoop is located on the so small duct cover could lead to have optional clips adapted to different nose shapes...
The mouth cap is huge, falling down to the chin, and allowing quite a wide open mouth position without air leak. With this feature, it is possible to play a wide range of notes even without touching the instrument with the mouth, which is very peculiar and surely practical for many mouth shapes.
The labium is double angled, but asymetrical, with a rather flat angle on the front, and a more open one on the inside (approx. doubling the slope). The mouth hole is quite narrow, just a bit less than 4 mm (~19 mm wide). The air duct, rounded, is as thin as 1.x mm at the air exit, while it is larger and ergonomically shaped at the entrance.
While it is a bit difficult to reach the very high notes with a regular mouth position (they can be reached by shaping the tongue in L, almost touching the palate), the Bocarina™ ability to reach bass notes with easyness is absolutely stunning.
This is clearly the flute in my possession with which I get the lowest tones, and with loudness (not an out-of-blow bass, but a frank note).
Has Mr. Schuermans reached a "plastic Grail" with the Bocarina™ ? Well, I would say this nose flute is very near perfection. Now, I have to find some flaws to show I'm honest. Indeed, there are, but very minor...
- First, we could dream of a better or easier ability to reach the very high notes without loosing the bass range.
- Then the way the duct cover is moulded leads to have a junction along the nose scoop, and the plastic artefact there is not pleasant. We would have prefered to have a nice rounded border there, for better comfort (since, I smoothed the joint line with very soft grain sanding paper).
- The Bocarin™a is not hand free, and it could be very easy to change that for the pleasure of ukulelists or fiddlers...
- The color choice is not wide enough (so easy to broaden!) and currently not well adapted to the european market.
Here are some sound samples. I made the first one (i'm not a good player, sorry...) to show the range, and particularly the easyness to get the basses. Both next ones by Birdy Kuck (they were really first Birdy's tryings with the Bocarina™) some scales or so, to show the abilities, then Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
Here is a technical doc of the Bocarina™ :
And here, a presentation video by Mr. Chris Schuermans :
And here, a video with the Bocarina™ by the great Nosefluter : --- On the same topic, you can read : Bocarina™ part I : A South African Ferrari Bocarina™ part II : The clay original Bocarina™ part III : A player's report - by Birdy K. Bocarina™ part IV : Chris Schuermans' interview Bocarina™ part V : The Ones you'll never have... Bocarina™ part VI : The Ancestors Bocarina™ part VII : Experiments 1 Bocarina™ part VII : Experiments 2 --- Where to get a Bocarina™ Brionski Ebay store Dan Moi online shop Grothmusic online shop And for larger quantities, for sure : Chris Schuermans 95 Farnham Rd. Lynnwood Manor Pretoria, 0081 RSA (South Africa) Cell phone no. +27 83 954 3224 Telephone no. +27 12 361 4659, email : chris[at]schuermans[dot]org ---