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.

Jul 15, 2016

Intergalactic Nose Flute

Just the mention of a nose flute, flagged by our friend UkeVal, in a Sci-Fi book. But not any book: Space Opera by Jack Vance, in 1965. The story deals with an intergalactic orchestra performing operas on different planets.

Chapter VII:


« … banjo, harmonica, washboard, kazoo, tub-bass, jug, and occasionally a nose-flute.»

This list of instruments played in the Tough Luck Jug Band sounds like a depiction of Jack Vance & friends own arsenal! Indeed, Jack Vance was famous for strumming the banjo, the ukulele and humming the kazoo. Was he also an "occasional" noseflautist ?



Jack Vance with his friend Terry Dowling, another Sci-Fi famous author!:



The french translator for 'Press Pocket' publishing, Mrs. Ariette Rosenblum, wrote a rather stupid comment in the foot notes:



« … the nose flute: blown through the nostrils of the nose regarded as an instrument »

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But I found other occurences of a nose flute in Jack Vance's work. In 1969, in Servants of the Wankh, then renamed The Wannek beacause the original title was very comical for British people, the nose flute may be a traditional one...



… but this passage of Ecce and the Old Earth (1991) clearly depicts a modern nose flute, as we cannot imagine playing bagpipes along with a traditional nose flute (unless you have four arms, which is rather uncommon, even in Sci-Fi novels :) :



The nose flute appearing in Night Lamp (1996) may also be from a urban type: isn't the "bat vampire look" a clue for it?



Here is what can be read in the SF Encyclopedia (entry 'Music'):




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To be noted: In Dr. Bloodmoney or How We Got Along After the Bomb (1965), Philip K. Dick invented a mutant rat playing the (tradi.) nose flute!

From the blog Death Robots from Mars:


Excerpt from the Philip K. Dick book:


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Addendum by Don Luis (from the comments):

« Sandra McDonald mentions nose flutes in a short novel: Fleet - A Transgender Sci Fi story »

But I guess those are traditional ones, since the story deals with Philippines speaking the Tagalog:


12 comments:

  1. One of my favorite heroic fantasy author !

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    Replies
    1. I must admit I don't know him well ... Bises!

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    2. Seems you found other truffles... ;-)

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  2. Surely! Wow, another big name. Even though he died at a ripe old age, he left us just too soon to ask. Again...

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    Replies
    1. Well, we don't know about nose flute... just a supposition...

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  3. Sandra McDonald (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_McDonald)

    Mentions nose flutes in a short story:

    Fleet - A Transgender Sci Fi story

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24467981-fleet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually.I guess I should say a short novel, not a short story.

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  4. Big reveal. Uillean pipes? Hands free anyway :-)

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    Replies
    1. Yep, hands free, thus mouth driven :)

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  5. Thank you Don Luis! I've added your comment at the end of the article. Anyway, the story deals with Philippine traditional nose flutes... Cheers!

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