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 8, 2011

Video : Sanshin and Hanabue !

Too short video ... we would have loved to have more. For non Japanese people : the instrument is a sanshin, precursor of the shamisen, and played in the Okinawa region. I personally love the music by Noborikawa Seijin, well known singer and sanshin player.

Oct 7, 2011

Cardboard workshop again...

Yesterday, a (very good) friend of mine, who is a professional printer, proposed me to print my templates on cardboard, for... free. And today, he told me they were already printed ! Done on a heavy cardboard (300g/m2), and on both sides... So, since after folding, some parts are stuck reverse-side on the front side, the flutes will be two colored. I should receive the printings in the middle of next week. To be continued...

Oct 6, 2011

Workshop : "La Folle Journée de l'Architecture"

Each year, in the School of Architecture where I teach, we organize a special day with many workshops called "La Folle Journée de l'Architecture" which means "The Crazy Architecture Day"), and invite the public to come and produce lots of things. This year I've proposed to lead a nose flute workshop, in which everybody will receive a cardboard template, tools and advices, to build a functional nose flute.
Then, I will teach how to play, and we all will try to play a song all together ...

If you are in the neighborhood of Nancy (Lorraine region, France), please come and visit us!

Oct 4, 2011

Video : Carl Maria von Weber

Waltz from Preciosa, by Carl Maria von Weber, played by with a wooden nose flute and a keyboard, by two austrian musicians : Ukulele4Aukekulia.
Please note how the vibrato is produced.

Oct 3, 2011

Carl J. Aarlaht : an Estonian-Canadian nose flute

Carl Johannes Aarlaht was born in Vaivara, Estonia on 5th of May, 1924 (†04/25/1989). He emigrated to Canada and settled down in Hamilton. He was a Master Scout, member of the Estonian Society of Friends of Scout Canada (Hamiltoni Eesti Skaudisõprade Selts) and decorated of the Northern Star.

Carl J. Aarlaht registered two patents. The first one, in 1958 (US2989719), was for « Convertible Attachment Plugs » and was referenced later by numerous patents regarding similar devices.

The second one, of a better interest for us, is a nose flute. The patent (CA684140) for a « Musical Whistle » was registered on 14th of April, 1964.

« Generally the present invention consists of a simple musical instrument of the wind type which may be simply made of flat material such as metal, plastic material or the like. »

Apart of a nice angular shape design, the nose flute offers no innovation in comparison to old metal Humanatones. The only difference regards the lip rest, which is surprinsingly under the mouth hole, thus providing a rest to the lower lip.

Oct 2, 2011

Review : a Hungarian wooden nose flute

I ordered a hungarian nose flute ("orrfuvola") from Béres kézmúves Mühely (Béres handicraft workshop). Attila Béres produces lots of wooden items since 1995 : kitchenware, furniture, buckskin shirts, soaps, massage accessories, wooden toys, elements of decoration, and ... musical instruments.
And among the instruments : Agogos, bird whistles, castagnets, drums, flappers, Guiro, kalimbas, maracas, nut rumblers, rakataks, shakers, sistrums, tambourines, shekere, and... nose flutes.

« I founded my family enterprise in 1995. The direction of my activity came natural to me as I had played percussion and loved working with wood. Our musical instruments can be easily used in musical education and music therapy and they are popular among professional musicians as well. We make not only basic percussion instruments but widen the scale with several egzotic pieces, too. We think it is our responsibility what relationship the generation just growing up has to nature and to traditional values. Our instruments and other handicraft products are made of natural materials as wood, fruits, seeds, reed, leather, brass, coconut and so on. During procedures we use old handicraft techniques. All our products are qualified by the Hungarian Department of Fine Arts. We hope we can greet you soon as a satisfied customer. »

So, I received a nose flute I paid 8 euros, hand-made, in wood. And I was rather dispointed, because of the low quality of fabrication.
The labium is a mess, the details are not clean, there is long slit between the body and the air duct cap, glue smears ...

Each flute is stamped with Mr. Béres logo :

Well it works, and it's a easy-player instrument. But because of a so unclean labium, the sound is very dull, without a good definition...

Here are some sound samples to compare with hi-class wooden nose flutes providing a clean sound (well separated harmonics) :

Attila Béres' nose flute :

Max Zycha's nose flute :

Heinrich Handler's nose flute :

Well, those flutes aren't worth the same price. But at equivalent one, there are the "no name Ebay nose flutes" which are a bit cleaner...

Attila Béres website :