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.

Apr 28, 2012

Another metal Humanatone...

I found this Humanatone. Well, unfortunately not the baby itself, but just the pictures.
We already knew 2 models of metal Humanatone (see this post), and this one belongs to the first type, with rectangular flaps and rounded air duct cover (even though it is dramatically dented here).
What is interesting in this flute are the stampings : « HUMANATONE - TRADE MARK - THE NEW MUSICAL WONDER », and precisely there are no Patent numbers. Since it corresponds to the early shape, I'm inclined in thinking we have here a very early Humanatone (since the stampings on both other known Humanatone include the patents : see this post).


About metal Humanatones, check :

- Humanatone - part I : the metallic era
- New Humanatone ads
- The Two metal Humanatones
- Another metal Humanatone
- Humanatone boxes
- Another Humanatone box
- Humanatone: A very early user manual
- The Magic (Nose) Flute: only questions... .
- A Humanatone and clones chronology
- A Humanatone in 1892 ?
- Humanatone: Early promotional demos
- Another Humanatone archive
- Huma... something
- Rectification: Humanatone appearance date
- Great paper from 1903
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part IV
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part V
- A Humanatone as a scientific tool
- Two other Humanatone Ads

And on later Humanatones :

- Humanatone - Part II : the Gretsch plastic era
- Humanatone - Part III : the Gretsch metal era


Apr 27, 2012

Another documentary about The Grindchor

A 3 years old documentary about Das Original Oberkreuzberger Nasenflötenorchester (Der Grindchor), made by Xe.Non, a non-commercial TV belonging to the Brandenburg Media Authorities in Berlin (DE).


About The Grindchor, you may read the previous posts :

> Music : The delirious Grindchor
> Der Grindchor new CD : Blasphemia

External links :

Der Grindchor official website
Der Grindchor on MySpace

Apr 26, 2012

Enhance your flute - Part III : The Bocarina

Well... this is almost a joke. Nothing to do to improve the sound quality on a Bocarina since it has been so well designed. You may prefer a wooden nose flute, or an instrument priorly dedicated to very sharp tones, but in its range, everybody agree to declare that the South African nose flute is at the top.

So? So, in this case "enhancing" means "pimping"! You may want to customize your Bocarina, to get a new color, and so.

Here is a example of custom "Boc" I especially made for the Ukoliv Concert, and particularly to play my "great success" (!!) I Like Bananas.
I used a blue Bocarina, sprayed it with golden painting, then worked it with lemon oil, and then sprayed it again with a glossy varnish that interacted (melt) the painting layer. Finally, I used talcum powder to lessen the glossy look. I got a bronze nose flute!
(the only trick is to be careful to spray as few as possible on the labium, not to deteriorate the sound quality)


On the same topic, please visit :

- Enhance your flute - Part I : The Humanatone
- Enhance your flute - Part II : The Swan flute


Apr 25, 2012

Enhance your flute - Part II : The Swan flute

One doesn't need a magnifier to observe how the plastic « Swan logo » flute is badly finished. Edges not leveled, glue traces, bubbles and smears, and worst of the worst, the labium is crappy and uneven, at the point that it is not even parallel to the end of the air duct, it is oblique!

So, I decided to check if this nose flute is improvable.
First, I sanded it all, to erase all the marks and flaws, and totally removed the labium.

And then, I prepared a new labium, cut in a 2mm thick aluminium plate. I filed it rather sharp, and sanded it.

I beveled the labium frame in order to get a larger gluing surface, and used bi-component epoxy to settle my new aluminium blade.

I could have sanded more finely the flute and stop there. But I do not like much the colors provided by the Swan company, and prefered to try to paint it into a kind-of-metallic color.
So, I put some cellotape on the blade to protect it, sanded a bit more evenly the flute, drilled the lace holes and sprayed with paint.

I stupidly chose a silver spray dedicated to paint Christmas accessories...
On one hand, it was very difficult to get a regular layer (either you get an uneven layer if you spray from too far, either you quickly get smears... and the right distance and quantity varies with the level of product still in the bottle...). So I had to re-begin several times (wait for a complete drying, then sand completely the flute, then spray again:).
On the other hand, I discovered afterwards how fragile this "interior" painting was. A very light hit of a nail was able to scratch the very fragile and thin shiny silver coat...

I wish It could have stayed like that...

... but I would have had to never touch it again, even less play it!

So... So, I scraped the mix of painting and cellotape from the labium, and applied lemon oil. I had tried varnish, but it had totally melt the painting, and I had have to redo the whole process again (Sanding, painting:). I don't know why I chose lemon oil, but I have to admit this intuition was... rather inspired:). Lemon oil is generally used to maintain wooden fretboards, so there was no reason to used it there.
The fact is the coat of lemon oil removed the very shiny painting coat, melted just a little bit the painting, just enough to get it even and smooth. Then, put it on the heater, and some 20 minutes later, the shiny came back, hard and dry, and the color had turned to a medium-dark metallized shade. Certainly not looking as silver, but beautiful too!

Well, the result is not « perfect », but quite enjoyable.

And now, let's compare with the original :

On the sound side, there is also a huge improvement. The new sound is more precise, clear and loud.

Here is a sound comparison. The first musical phrase was recorded with an original Swan nose flute, and the second with the enhanced one. I did my best to blow the same way and with the same strength, at the same distance of the recorder, and with the same settings.


On the same topic, please visit :

- Enhance your flute - Part I : The Humanatone
- Enhance your flute - Part III : The Bocarina


Apr 24, 2012

Good news from/for Japan!

Mr. Tetsuyuki Sudare, owner of the shop Temiruya and very good nose flute player (we published his last video there) just announced he will sell the Bocarina. This is a very good news for Japanese players, who had difficulties to get them easily.

Here is Mr. Tetsuyuki Sudare's post on Facebook (you may copy the text and paste it here for an approximative translation)

南アフリカのChris Schuermansが近年発表した鼻笛です。

世界楽器てみる屋は鼻笛の専門店ではありませんから、今以上にバリエーションを増やしてどうするのか、と販売を見送っていたのですが。Chris Schuermans本人から「売ってくれないか」と直接メールが来ました。向こうからわざわざ声をかけてくれたのに、蹴る理由はありません。二つ返事で取引することになりました。今、代金の支払い方法など取引条件を確認しています。

Chris Schuermansが日本の鼻笛職人たちと大きく異なるところは、彼は工業デザイナーだ、ということです。彼は自分の作品を作品としてでなく、大量生産品として完成させることに徹底的でした。3次元CADを使って形状を設計し、精密な金型を起こしました。金型って、小さな物でも数十万~百万円くらいしますよ。彼が自分の作品を世界中に広めるためにどのくらい本気か、ということが分かるってものでしょう。

今後において日本の鼻笛市場は激変する予感です。粗悪なベトナムの鼻笛はもう論外、完全に他の鼻笛の引き立て役です。バカ安のトイノーズフルートは別格ですが…もっと値下がりするんじゃないかな。埼玉の鼻笛 vs あだち区の華笛 vs 南アフリカの鼻笛の三つどもえが目を離せません。お互いにどう差別化を図り生き残るかが重要な争点になります。潰し合わせることなくみんなそれぞれ引き立てて共存できるように考慮することは、私たち商人の責任でしょう。それにしても、日本の鼻笛職人たちは新参の外国勢力に対してどう対抗していくつもりなのでしょうか。

既に売っているお店もあるのに、私だけ頑固になって乗り遅れるのも嫌だし。私はシステムエンジニアですから、個人的にはChris Schuermansのあり方はすっごい好きなのです。私は私の態度を決めなければなりません。とりあえず南アフリカからサンプル品が届いてからの話。

Just for fun : nose flute and... bucket

A video showing a lonely man, full of joy and self-confidence.

Apr 23, 2012

Kentucky T. Dutchersmith CD reviews

We already posted here a famous video in which Kentucky T. Dutchersmith plays cello, nose flute and percussions, accompanied by the Maple City Chamber Orchestra (see this post).

In 2004 and 2006, Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and The Rubber Band (auto)published 2 CDs, Mama don't allow no nose flute playin' 'round here and If You're Not Goin' Far.

Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and The Rubber Band is a "christian familial humoristic country folk rock" ensemble, composed by three core families, all from Indiana :

The Dutchersmiths:
-Kentucky T. "Kent" Dutchersmith (lead vocals, bass, nose flute)
-Teresa Dutchersmith (vocals, melodica, percussion)

The Harley-Kruschwitzs:
- Brian Kruschwitz (vocals, guitars, banjo, congas)
- LuAnne Harley (vocals)
- Harley (vocals and spoons) and Owen (chief roadie) Kruschwitz.

The Brill Bergstressers:
- Deron (drums, congas)
- Annette (sound, photographer, CD designer)
- Alina (toddler proofing consultant) and Marta.

« Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and The Rubber Band is a fun, high-energy, family-oriented band. Their music has been described as creative, bluesy folk-rock, socially conscious, humorous, eclectic and original. Kent, being a musician, a father and an elementary school teacher who was sick and tired of children’s music that kids loved but drove parents crazy, had a dream of producing music that would appeal to both children and adults. His songs focus on everyday situations, such as Sunday morning waffles, a bad hair day, and what to do when you're feeling bored. »

From The KTD website :
« Kent was given his first nose flute by a girl friend in 1992. Having received the nose flute in the mail and having never seen or heard one before, he didn't know what to make of it and couldn't get a sound out of it. Months later, at a Mennonite Voluntary Service retreat, he finally got a sound out of it and fell in love with the sound (and fell in love with his future wife, Teresa). His (somewhat limited) popularity as a nose flautist grew after he performed his own Medley in C For Cello and Nose Flute For One Person at the 1997 Mennonite Youth Convention in Orlando, Florida in front of a crowd of 5,000 high schoolers, where he was honored with a rousing standing ovation. Kent founded the San Antonio Mennonite Church Marching Nose Flute Chorus, which became a fixture of the King William Parade in San Antonio, Texas. Kent has been featured as a nose flautist on the Fox 28 morning show and in the Elkhart Truth. His greatest honor as a nose flautist to date was performing Concerto Pomposo (the "Nose Flute Concerto") by Jean-Marie Hottetotte at Goshen College's Sauder Concert Hall two times―September 27, 2003 and October 14, 2007. The 2003 performance was notable because it was believed to be the North American debut for this piece and it was played on a common plastic nose flute. The 2007 Concerto Pomposo performance featured Kent on his hand-made wooden nose flute crafted by the great German nose flute maker, Maximillian H. Zycha, which Kent received Christmas 2004 from his loving wife, Teresa. ».


Well, first thing to say to nose flute lovers is that, contrarywise to what you may have thought after viewing the KTD's videos on YouTube, only 5 songs, among the 31 songs composing the 2 CDs, include a nose flute track. They are :

CD Mama don't allow no nose flute playin' 'round here :
01·Mama Don't Allow No Nose Flute Playin' 'round Here
09·Nose Flute Blues
13·Nose Flute Advice

CD If You're Not Goin' Far :
04·The Nose Song
15·Oh Susanna (Don't You Blow My Nose)

So, let's dare to say that the nose flute is essentially a condiment here, not a lead instrument.

Most of the songs are soft folk or country rock. There are also some bluesy pieces, some funk ones, and 7 songs are a capella (or with voices just accompanied with percussions). Most of the songs are partly sung by one or several children, and also include onomatopoeias and/or noises.


A general criticism that one can immediately formulate about both the CDs, is that the production is a bit weak. When I write "production", I do not speak about the playing and arrangement, but the sound recording and mixing quality. Only the electric instruments (guitar, bass..) sound round and full, but the acoustic tracks are a bit "weak", probably because the recording tracks were left untouched and dry. A hint of reverb, for instance, would have been very welcome on the nose flute. A mixing with some panoramic stereo also, placing the instruments in different places of the "sonorous space".

Thus, on the nose flute parts, any small mistake in the playing is easily identifiable, and there are. This may have been a deliberate choice for "musical truth", but it harms the listening comfort.

Contrarywise, the arrangements are generally well thought, not very original yet, but with fun.

The nose flute songs

Mama Don't Allow No Nose Flute Playin' 'round Here is a scat/hillbilly funny song in which the nose flute plays the first solo and then is dispatched by hints.

Nose Flute Blues, as you can imagine, is a classic blues. The nose flute plays a continuous accompaniment solo. To my taste, it is not very well played, sounding more like a asthmatic bird... (why no reverb on that?!?)

Nose Flute Advice is a gentle ballad which lyrics are dedicated to the nose flute :

If you want to play the nose flute, I have some advice for you.
If you want to play the nose flute, I have some advice for you.
If you want to play the nose flute, make sure that you first blow your nose
If you don't blow your nose first, stuff from your nose may flows.
If you want to play the nose flute, and another instrument at the same time,
You can rubber band it to your face, but it won't look very nice.
If you want to play the nose flute, don't play really really really long notes,
If you play really really really really really long notes, you just might pass out.

The Nose Song is a reggae song. Here again, the nose flute is used as a condiment, and is almost bothersome, like an obnoxious bird following you in all your moves and singing "tüt-tüt" in your ear.

Oh Susanna (Don't You Blow My Nose)
: In this standard, played at the banjo and percussions, the nose flute has a much better role, whistling the melody. The lyrics are funnily revisited :
« Oh Susanna, now don't you blow my nose, when coming from Indiana with a nose flute on my nose »

You can hear excerpts of the songs here and here :

CD Mama Don't Allow No Nose Flute Playin' 'round Here
CD You're Not Goin' Far


Here is another video by Kentucky T. Dutchersmith, quite funny and well played, with the Zycha flute and the Maple City Chamber Orchestra.

Apr 22, 2012

Archive : Felice Pantone on TV

An old (!!!) TV program dating of...2009, in which the italian musician and comedian Felice Pantone plays When The Saints Go Marching In on his nose flute and on an impressive percussions-washboard gear. The program was "Parla con me", on Rai-Tre.
The flute is held by his invention : the Reggi-Flauto.


About Felice Pantone, you may read those posts :

> Ugo e Casimiro, an extravagant duo
> Felice Pantone, Musician and Inventor (interview)
> A nose flute accessory : the Reggi-Flauto

External links :

> Il Grillo Web
> The Casimiro/Alberto Bertolino's Youtube channel
> Spicchio di Luna : an mp3 song to buy on Amazon

And to contact Ugo & Casimiro : felipan[at] or info[at] with replacing [at] by @, for sure.