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.

Oct 1, 2011

Addendum to "The Nose whistle gourd"

Addendum to our previous post "Theatrical contraption : the nose whistle gourd"


I wanted to know more... and asked the seller of this theatrical gourd nose flute. The fact is the seller is the inventor-creator, the Pipe Major Norwood Baybridge, FSA Scot, Regional Commander of the Scottish American Military Society... nothing less.

The best I can do is just pasting the story the Pipe-Major told me, since it is so well-written and full of humour :

« This instrument was made about twenty years ago just as the last freezing and canning for the winter supply was finishing. At that time, in the late 1980's, the turbo-jet-powered, supersonic passenger jet, "ConCorde", was still flying; however, the owners of the organically grown gourd were poor people and couldn't afford a ticket. So they transported the gourd to a local furniture shop via motorized, wheeled transport. Though my memory is growing dim, I believe it was a Buick.

At the furniture shop, the gourd was cleaned, interestingly, by several of the employees who were listening to a record that teaches individuals the sounds of the instruments of an orchestra. Following this cleaning, a small hole was drilled into the gourd and a  self-hardening foam was pumped into it. This was to give the gourd additional strength; as well as to protect it from being later infested with the vermin that normally accompany some musicians.

Using modern, industrial machinery, an insertion point was power-chisled into the gourd for the insertion of the HumanaTone nose whistle; and, the finger holes were painstakingly drilled into the sides. It was an endeavor that put all of your senses to work, leaving men exhausted, but enthralled.

It may be stated from personal experience that the manufacture of this gourd nose whistle was much more difficult than cutting one's own hair for an important engagement.

The gourd nose whistle was played on many occasions at various fairs and country music get-togethers in makeshift bands usually composed of vagabond folk artists armed with an array of fiddles, jaw harps, tamborines, guitars, gamboozees and autoharps. »

The Pipe Major Baybridge may play for your special events, from wedding to ... funerals. You should visit his web page,, full of beautiful and incredible pictures.

Sep 30, 2011

Sep 29, 2011

Theatrical contraption : the nose whistle gourd

I found this very special instrument on Ebay : a « nose whistle flute gourd ». I'm not sure his inventor filed a patent for it, but it is surely a collector's must.

The instrument is made with a vintage metal nose flute stuck to a kind of gourd ocarina. I write "kind of", because this is a theatrical instrument, meaning that the gourd is not functional, purely decorative. But the flute, indeed, works.
It is a old Humanatone, as the stamp on the mouth cap identifies it, rather dented, and coverd by thick layer of painting, black on the internal side, golden on the outside, to match the gourd color.

« It is a stage instrument and show stopper, used for variety value. It has finger holes for a person to pretend he or she is playing it mechanically; but when held up to the mouth no one can see that the musician is just using the nose whistle which has been set inside of the back of the gourd. »

The description offered by the seller was not deprived of humour :

« Traveling? It fits right in any suitcase or hamster cage. »

or better :

« Let others pull out their fiddles; their mandolins, harmonicas and washboards. They can dig through their instrument inventory for a hundred years and never pull out a nose whistle gourd. And that's because no one else has
class. Those are just hardscrabble musicians who can't think beyond lemon-sesame sauce for grilled vegetables.
As an expressive musical performing artist, you will have them beat by a mile with this, caffeine free, world-leader, nose whistle flute gourd.
This is better than homemade pea soup in a Des Moines restaurant. »

Please read the sequel to this post.

Sep 27, 2011

Video : The french anthem on a japanese stage

« La Marseillaise » by Rouget de Lisle, performed by a french student with a wooden nose flute, during a student exchange, in Kyōto.

Sep 26, 2011

The Swiss patent of a Lithuanian diplomat

A Swiss patent (CH253732), filed on 12th of March, 1947, and registered on 31st of March, 1948, for a « Fischietto Nasale » (nose whistle). The author is Mr. Narcizas Prielaida, from Geneva.

« Fischietto, caratterizzato da una parte applicabile al naso e da une parte applicabile alla bocca, in modo che il naso funziona da datore di fiato, mentre che variando l'apertura della bocca e la posizione della lingua si fa variare l'altezza del suono. »

The object doesn't show any improvement upon the nose flutes from the beginning of the century. It's a metal 2-parts nose flute, with a lip rest. However, it features a very long and elegant mouth-cap, we should say a « mouth-cape ».

I don't know if the Prielaida's flute was produced, and have no further info about it. But I found a lot of data on the inventor himself, quite interesting.
[Edit : Since, I received an answer form Mrs. Prielaida, who told me the flute was never commercialized.]

Narcizas Prielaida was born on 20th of January, 1920 in Akstafoje, Azerbaijan, but was a Lithuanian citizen. His family lived in Klaipeda (Lt) where Narcizas dreamed of becoming a sailor. The family moved then to Siauliai and Narcizas began arts studies. Under the Soviet occupation, the Prielaidas moved to Switzerland.
From 1945 to 1949, Narcizas studied at Geneva Art School, became a graduated teacher, but was not allowed to work because of his nationality. So, he studied maritime law and worked in various insurance companies. He became the chairman of the Lithuanian community in Switzerland, and was appointed, in 1980, as World Lithuanian Community Board representative at the Human Rights Committee, United Nations.
In 1992, he became the first Lithuanian representative to the United Nations in Geneva, and in 2007, was awarded of the Officer's Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania (Ordinas Už Nuopelnus Lietuvai).

So, at the time of his patent, Narcizas was a student in Arts, not yet a diplomat. But his nose flute is definitely a diplomat's invention. It is a shame that his Wikipedia page does not mention his nose flute patent ! (If a Lithuanian reader might update it ...)

Sep 25, 2011

New Humanatone ads

I found new Humanatone advertisements and will add them to the relative post.

The first one was published in the 1908 J. W. Jenkins' Sons Music Co (still in the Jenkins catalog in 1929) :

The second one in the 1928 Johnson Smith catalog, with a 2.5 times decreased price :

The third one comes from the 1931 Chicago Musical Instrument catalog (back to a 2.5 increased price per dozen, after 1929 crash) :


About metal Humanatones, check :

- Humanatone - part I : the metallic era
- New Humanatone ads
- The Two metal Humanatones
- Another metal Humanatone
- Humanatone boxes
- Another Humanatone box
- Humanatone: A very early user manual
- The Magic (Nose) Flute: only questions... .
- A Humanatone and clones chronology
- A Humanatone in 1892 ?
- Humanatone: Early promotional demos
- Another Humanatone archive
- Huma... something
- Rectification: Humanatone appearance date
- Great paper from 1903
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part IV
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part V
- A Humanatone as a scientific tool
- Two other Humanatone Ads

And on later Humanatones :

- Humanatone - Part II : the Gretsch plastic era
- Humanatone - Part III : the Gretsch metal era