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.

Sep 8, 2014

Steven Parkes - New Nose Flutes

I received some news from our friend Steven Parkes (please check this post). Steven continues to build and improve his wooden nose flutes, and sent me pictures of his last productions.

« I've been busy since I last posted you about my first, home-made noseflute. I have begun making models for each of my four, grownup children in turn. I found a local joinery business who were able to let me have some nice, hardwood offcuts for a couple of pounds (GBP) - in Sapele (a nice, red wood) and Beech.»

All pictures of this article were shot and are copyrighted by Steven Parkes.
All Rights Reserved.

The No.2:

« I used Sapele for the main body, and a thinner piece of Beech for the front fipple plate.  It ended up a little longer and slimmer than my prototype, as you can see from my comparison photos attached.  »

Here are his prototype called No.1 with the beautiful nose flute No.2, and some No.2 details:
But Steven Parkes didn't stop there. He also built the No.3 and No.4, on the same global shaping, but with their own personalities (and a great talent!). Steve sent me a bunch of pictures showing the making of those babies. Very interesting, and really a great work!

The No.3:

« For this one, I used a lovely piece of Sapele with a tapering section, left-over from a window-sill, for the body, and the same Beech for the front fipple-plate. The varnish I use, by the way, is a linseed-oil based gunstock varnish called Tru-Oil, as I believe it to be not-toxic. »

Then smoothing, sanding, painting a birdie, varnishing, and finally the beautiful result:

The No.4:

The Parkes No.4 is really impressive and funny at the same time. It is a sculpture that whistles, more than a nose flute.

« This one is, obviously, more complicated because of the wood-carving of the face.   I used two pieces cut from the same length of Sapele for the body and the front fipple-plate, with crossed grain again.  The front was thicker because of the carving I knew I would have to do for the face.  The eyes are not glued in place - they are a tight fit into their sockets. If, by some chance, they ever got scratched or damaged, it would be possible to easily replace them by pushing them out from the back, using the small, ejector-holes, with a steel knitting-needle or something similar. »

The No.4 was started like the No.3, then:

And the great No.4 finished:

One last word, by Steven:

« I will be starting to make number 5 soon»

We are really curious of it!!


  1. Beautiful workmanship on a wonderful type of wood. I find the "Green Man" portrait very cleverly done.

  2. Great stuff! I love the number 4! I wonder how those babies will sound, though... I have tested quite a lot of wooden noseflutes by now and I must say that the ones that convinced me most (maybe the only ones- though there are many nicely done noseflutes like Zycha, Sommer etc.) were the ones by Heinrich Handler. The ones with the round hole at the bottom were mostly not sounding so good. But I do not know much about physics and the effects of shapes for the sound. I am just a stupid player, ignorant to any "scientific" facts about the instrument.

    1. Dear Diva, I agree that the round hole doesn't sound the best, but it is mainly the diameter of this hole that has an impact. Too large and the flute sounds too windy.

  3. Thanks for your answer and info, I will add it to my modest noseflute physics knowlede :)

  4. I based my round hole on the ones made by Sommermusik - the sound of which impressed me greatly! Also, it was so much easier for me to make my experimental prototype like that, as a 10mm flat drill was, for me, far easier to use than a sharp chisel. The sound produced was as good as I wanted it to be, so I made my others in the same way!