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.

Feb 21, 2013

Hong Kongese video

It's rather rare to find nose flute videos coming from China. Here is one by Armoredcorelok, a singer from Hong Kong. Humanatone at the beginning and at the end.

Feb 20, 2013

7 Hanabue in Mie Prefecture

A short article from the Asahi Shimbun Digital introducing the nose flute. There is an embedded video with 7 players blowing their hanabue, in Uneme Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan. All the flutes look to be made by Mr. Takuma Ikeyama, and I guess I can recognize Misses Sanae Maekawa and Emiko Sato (President of the Ise Association), Mr. Kanetoshi Nakaya and other fellows that I don't recognize.

Here is the original article and here the Google-translate version.

Feb 19, 2013

A Great Picture of Dr. B. B. Bumstead!

Do you remember the photo expert Mark Osterman, AKA the Dr. Barnabus Barnabus Bumstead, performer of a vintage medecine show, selling his "Celebrated Lenape Liquid Show" and also the "Dr. B. B. Bumstead's Humanatone Musical Respirator". Check this post if you don't!

Here is another archive from Mark Osterman: a great picture showing the Dr. Bumstead and the "genuine faux indian" Screaming Weasel (Bill Enos), taken at Kutztown Folk festival in the early 1990's. Upper left, you can see an advertisement flag (kakemono) for the "musical Respirator".

Feb 18, 2013

Mr. Swing again!

Another great video by Hans Christian Klüver. This time, it's a crooner performance, with a gorgeous jazz nasenflöte solo in the middle (0'58"). The video is brodcast by the Weser Kurier TV channel

Feb 17, 2013

British archives

I didn't find much with the British newspaper research tools, but interesting facts and evidences for nose flute history.

The first mention I found is a classified ad recruiting two men for Humanatone demonstrations. Yes, Humanatones were apparently imported to Great Britain as soon as 1913!:

Liverpool Echo, Jan. 31, 1913:

In 1927, the Humanaphone, "all british make", was sold for 4 (old) pence and a half, as a Jazz instruent:

Hull Daily Mail, Oct. 3, 1927:

Was the Humanaphone a metal Humanatone copy, or a real Humanatone manufactured in Great Britain under license? What is sure is that it was the european nose flute the most similar to the american instrument. The differences with an early Humanatone look very tiny. Even the rivets and shape of the flap in which they are soldered are similar. Only the nose saddle edge looks a bit wider on the Humanaphone.


The North Devon Journal (05/25/1933) reported a Salvation Army musical festival, at the end of which the Captain Montgomery played his "Humanotone".

And finally, a 1938 Cheltenham advertisement selling nose flutes for an (old) sixpence the piece:

4½d in 1927 and 6d in 1938 represents a 33% increment in the price. We were surprised to notice a 25% augmentation between 1927 and 1936 in the price of the french Ocariflute (3FF to 4FF) [check the end of this post], but finally, the rise was comparable on the other side of the Channel.