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.

Aug 1, 2014

RON, an Ergonomic Approach - Part II

Sequel of the post RON, an Ergonomic Approach - Part I

Let's follow on the unpacking of the collection that Mr. Sawada sent to me!

4 - Wooden Hanabue No. 209

When I wanted to choose one among the available wooden nose flutes, Mr. Sawada sent me a picture showing a 21 hanabue (7x3) disposal: 7 colors (7 woods), each in 3 available sizes. The size was measured between the nose air entrance and then fipple: 18, 21 or 24 mm. Once again: the ergonomic approach!

So, I measured the gap between the base of my nose and my mouth, and choose the 21 mm in sophora wood, the « Pagoda tree » (エンジュ - Enju). This "No. 209" s a pure geometric beauty. The wooden nose flutes made by RON are totally different from the cardboard or the clay ones: they are little geometric sculptures. The outside look is perfectly squared with right angles (well, they are smoothed on the edges, for sure), while the inside is designed with geometric round curves, in order to fit closely the shapes of our face.

The air entrance is a narrow slot very precisely made in a concave conic section, and the fiplle is... tiny. Indeed, it is very narrow (10mm) and the mouth hole is incredibly small (3mm high), definitely orienting the tone range to the trebles. The angle of the labium is rather sharp (somehow 23°), and the fipple itself is also very precisely done.

This model is supplied with a small ring to be hung by a cord around the neck, but has no piercings to pass a rubber for handsfree playing.

The flute has been lightly varnished with a satiny coat which raises up the beauty of the sophora wood and reveals some iridescence (the tint turns from light to dark when you change the incidence of the light)

5 - Clay Hanabue No. 508 and L004

These two nose flutes, which look rather similar, are the RON "signature". Indeed, it is with such tile-shaped clay hanabue, with their very recognizable pair of black eyes, that Yoshihiro Sawada began his production and became renowned.

These nose flutes are very simple, yet nicely made, with a rounded front and a contoured inside. But they are not just "cut from a cylinder": there is a very slight counter-curve on the longitudinal axis, making them more a light "hyperbolic paraboloïd".

The inside contours show two parts, the nose saddle, which is wide and comfortable, and the mouth shield with its oval fipple hole.

Both the fipples a very small — trebles oriented — but one is even smaller (No. 508), particularly in its width, which is 1/3 less long than the L004 one. These fipple are nicely made, and knowing they are so small, it is really appreciable. On the front side, the labium angles appear to be slightly different.

Both these flutes are made with a thin clay plate. They are light and elegant.

Some details :


To be continued!



  1. Great skill. To me, the 'tile'-shaped nose flutes seem to have been inspired by (a section of) bamboo, which I love.