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.

Dec 3, 2012

Review: Flapi!

Do you remember Froby, the fluorescent perspex nose flute from Piet Visser's collection? Here comes Flapi!

I got Flapi from Blanca Celestino, a lady from Donostia/San Sebastián, in the Basque region of Spain. She originally told me that she knew the factory where the Froby and Flapi were made, since a defunct good friend of her was from the makers' family. Finally, she sent me the little treasure: Flapi! Thank you a lot, Blanca!

Blanca especially made a funny box to protect and transport the nose flute:

And finally, the naked baby:

Flapi exactly follows the design of the ES 1,004,918 U patent, filed Mar. 7, 1988 and registered Oct. 10, 1988. The applicants were Uriarte Urbina and Antonia Maria, inventors, for the account of Papelaria Informal S.A., Donostia-San Sebastián.

Flapi was probably produced before Froby, because its design follows the patent (there is a subtle difference in the height of the "wings" though). However, Flapi and Froby are very close one to the other. The main difference lays in the large "wings" that grew on the sides of Froby's airway, providing its futuristic look. The other difference is that a huge injection point appeared on Froby's mouth shield, whilst Flapi featured 2 small and flat ones under the base of the "wings", plus a central one.

Flapi is a rather compact and functional nose flute, according to the fact that the "elephant ears" wings have been designed in order to provide a good grip. Flapi is a beautiful plastic nose flute, already modern comparing to the Schwan which was a plastic version of the antique tin Nasenflöten, but still "shy" when sit besides the Froby.

IMHO, he typo is the only choice that is debatable. It's really bizarre to find this Art Nouveau / 1970's Chewing gum typo on a rather technical product of the very end of the 1980's. More, it has not been typed with a professional font, but designed by hand, and looks really... lame.

The nose shield is a simple concave square with a rectangle hole. It is surprinsingly comfortable and efficient. The "elephant ears" are really ergonomic and provide a good grip for the thumb and the forefinger.

The mouth hole is very wide (2cm) and the labium is kind of rounded, with a "double bevel" made by the succession of 2 angles.

Those technical features are very efficient, as already noticed by Mr. Maikel Mei while trying Piet Visser's Froby. Indeed, the Flapi produces a very powerful sound, a great attack and response. Thanks to the nice ergonomics, there is no air leaking.
The tonality range is mid-bass oriented, and trying to reach very sharp notes entails unpleasant ultra-sharp parasitic whistlings. But in the mediums, Flapi is a very good nose flute.

Here is a sound sample. Notice the problem in the high sharps:


  1. "Here comes Flapi..." :-D!!!!!That really sounds as if it's a rabbit or a dog, and indeed the case is very much like a "doggy bag"! I do wonder where they got these names from,"Froby" & "Flapi"!!! "What's in a name..." Also, why would they have changed to name?

    How much time would have been inbetween production of these two nose flutes? It seems to me that several modifications were made in one go, which would seriously have taken time, most particularly the change in injecting.

    This is such a revelation well as yet another mystery... the original version according to the 1988 patent! Much obliged to Sra. Celestino!

    It would be interesting to learn if the thickness and the colour of the two versions are still the same. Are the bodies identical? Are the "wings" on the Froby simply glued on?

  2. Hello Maikel!

    Yep, Flapi and Froby sound like pet names!

    How much time in between the 2 flutes, I don't know, but I guess not much.

    Yes, the bodies seem identical, the only parts that changed are the 2 wings, which go all the way down to the end of the airway. the air‹ay cap is glued between the wings.