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 12, 2012

Okan Khamen - Part IV: Komatsuka Nae's answer

Kanae Miyazaki / Komatsuka Nae sent me this new drawing, asking me to try again to play the small Okan-Khamen hanabue that I cannot really get a sound from. Indeed, as it was an easy pleasure for me to play the large model, which is a quite good nose flute, I had serious difficulties to get sounds from the small one : too many air leaks with my nose shape.

For sure, I tried, several times, but could not get a better result. But I want to be clear, because I do not want to have been read in a bad way.

I do not feel the small Okean-Khamen is badly done! Not at all! It just doesn't fit my nose (the only thing I could criticize about it is the air entrance, which is a bit too small).

I am not a racist, and I don't want to generalize about "face types". But I know that the base of many asian noses are softer than western ones. Mine is terrible for nose flute playing : the cartilage that separates my two nostrils goes down far under the base of my nostrils, making a "V" shape as a base of my nose. That is the reason I cannot play nose flutes which have a flat nose saddle. I can sometimes correct my nose position to fit such a nose flute : that is the case for the vietnamese type, or the On-Lak nose flutes.

The Humanatones or the Bocarinas are well adapted to that morphological aspect : they have a V-shaped nose saddle.

But other western flutes may cause the same problem. For instance, with the Pfaff Nasenpfeife I have exactly the same problem to play, than with the small Okan-Khamen : a too small air entrance, and no room for my cartilage, leading to huge air leaks.

I love the Heinrich Handler's nasenflöten very much, they are made with a great precision and produce a very quick sound. But my nose does not fit them very well and I had to modify both my Handler players (for sure, I have left untouched and virginal the ones of my collection!), filing a V for my cartilage :

That is with the same spirit than I made a V shape nose saddle when I built my Nasalette :

So, what I want to say is that, according to the fact that a nose flute is well made, its playability depends a lot on the player's face and nose morphology. Regarding the small Okan-Khamen, I can see it is very well made, the clay angles are precise, the technical dimensioning is OK (the air entrance size excepted), so it should play well with any player who... fits to it. It is not my case but the responsible is not the flute, but my stupid cartilaged nose. Anyway, as I already said, I love this beautiful clay flute, but I love it as a jewel, not as an instrument for me.


On the same topic, please visit (chronologically) :

- Komatsuka Nae, a talented Japanese artist
- Covered with gifts
- Okan-Khamen - Part I: Covered with gifts!
- Okan-Khamen - Part II: The Parrot-Pharaoh
- Okan-Khamen - Part III: The Nose Flutes
- Okan-Khamen - Part IV: Komatsuka nae's answer

Related links :

- Komatsuka Nae's (Kozakurapon) blog
- Kanae Miyazaki's Facebook page
- A page in English about Kanae's work
- Kanae Miyazaki's works on Toumoto photo website
- Opi Toutomo's Facebook page


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