YW kindly sent me one of his cute creations, and I asked him some questions.
Noseflute.org : Who are you, YW ?
YW : I'm from Taipei, Taiwan (R.O.C.). A small island country in Asia. My name is “Chiou, shuen-ping”(邱舜平), and I often use the nickname ”YW” on the web and signature. I am a graphic designer and I love to make crafts in spare time. Before I started playing noseflute, I often play chromatic harmonica.
When did you begin to play the nose flute ?
I started to play the noseflute in almost end of last year (November of 2010).
How did you discover this instrument ?
Some day of last year, I saw the Japanese master "Mosurin" play a kind of small noseflute in the news on TV. That was very interesting and turned me curious of it, because I love to make crafts and play harmonica. So the mini, simple and elegant musical instrument, as the noseflute is, attracted my attention.
How did you decide to make nose flutes ?
In Taiwan, the indigenous people play a traditional kind of double-barreled noseflute (when we talked about the nose flutes in Taiwan, most people usually think of the traditional double-barreled nose flute) . But almost no people play and sale this kind of small nose flute, so I have tried to hand-make some by myself.
How do you proceed to make a nose flute ?
I make the nose flutes by paper birch stick, just use one knife and quick adhesive, never use any machine nor sanding paper (I sand the flutes with the old method, using autumn leaves to grind).
My complete tool set for making nose flutes :
I staggered overlapping layers of birch paper to build noseflute (like a sandwich). With this manufacturing method, I can reserve airway, window and wedge during manufacturing process. And the airway can have the same size at every time. Because I only use one knife to make noseflute, this is a more convenient way to me.
Taiwan is a very humid place. So when I did a nose flute, I always integrate vegetable oil for a few days maintenance (usually soaked about a week). The color of nose flute becomes dark and the density gets higher.
You also made painted nose flutes : can you tell us more about them ?
I only made two painted nose flutes. It was the first two test-products.
In addition, when I saw the news of master Mosurin on TV, the news didn’t introduce the magical theory of nose flute.
So I just tried to guess the theory of nose flute, and searched for relevant information on the web (some websites about nose flute, some about ocarina, some about recorder), and anxious to find materials to test.
Then I found a small irregular wood waste near my home. Irregular wood is not good enough, has a rough surface and a low density. So, I only made two, and tried to paint them with acrylic painting and some glue, to allow smooth surface (and also let it not break easily). I painted them similar to aboriginal totem designs.
A few months later, I changed their paintings again, hardening their surface.
For those first two test-products, I used a knife to carve a single piece of wood. It was very difficult to make it, and I prefer the original texture and color of wood. Therefore, after I made the two noseflute, I found a new way to build my nose flutes, using staggered overlapping layers of birch sheets.
YW's nose flute in photos
The object is very cute and funny. This nose flute is very very small (6 x 3 cm) and has almost perfectly identical faces, the nose notch excepted, plus the color of the duct cover piece (lighter on the front side).
You can visit YW's blog here, with some pages dedicated to his nose flutes, and some thoughts about nose flutes in general.