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.

Jun 17, 2012

Maikel Mei's metal flutes: Brass!

The third metal nose flute Maikel Mei counts in his collection is a beautiful brass "swan" shaped one.

This instrument has got several particularities. The first one is that the flute can be disassembled, with its removable air duct cover.

« The reason for making the removable air duct cover was not only because I was naive in wanting to have an exact copy of the plastic flute, but also that we felt the need to be able to clean the instrument...! »

The other singularity is a square aluminium plate set on the bottom of the air chamber.

« Notice the 'groove' and the 'inlay' within the brass flute: (...) The extra inlaid aluminium part was done because the sound wasn't sharp enough, as the body was made from 1 piece and therefore had to be bent: this bend made the entrance to the labium too big, somehow, which was corrected by adding the aluminium bit that narrowed down the entrance. »

On the topic of this aluminium inset and the explanations provided by Maikel Mei, I must admit I'm quite perplex. I cannot understand how such an appendice could sharpen the tonality range of the flute. I thought the only way was to lessen the height of the mouth hole. Narrowing the airway exit would increase precision and power, but not work on the tonality, wouldn't it ?

[edit : I got a precision from Maikel Mei : by "sharp" he meant "precise and with some attack", not "sharp in tonality". So, my last comment is null and void.]


Once again, the result didn't reach the high standards expected by Maikel Mei, leading him later to order his silver flute.

« The only disappointment with this flute for me was that it couldn't produce any 'whisper tones', which I can with any of the plastic nose flutes. Fortunately, the silver flute can also produce them! I am sure the Bocarina also should be able to do that. In trying to reach this desired effect, the maker --against my wishes-- went a little too far in tuning the labium 1 time too many, which afterwards couldn't be restored, for otherwise the material would certainly break. The result of having overtuned slightly is that the flute lost its clarity considerably, which somehow I knew would happen: I felt at a certain point that it could not be further improved. Before it was 'overdone', it sounded just like a trumpet, which I was quite content with! I have never actually used this nor the other flute, for their lack of basic tone quality, sadly. »

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