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 3, 2011

Kwang Hyun Jang : modulation slider

A recent patent from Korea (WO2011/007978). Filed July 6, 2010 and registered January 20, 2011, this patent by Kwang Hyun Jang, Seoul, Korea, exposes a "Nose Flute Instrument Capable Of Modulating The Tone Thereof".

Mr Jang invented a slider system, which allows the operator to "modulate the tone" of the produced sound.

« Disclosed is a nose pipe instrument capable of modulating the tone thereof. The
nose pipe instrument capable of modulating the tone thereof enables a
modulating plate to slide to adjust the length of a sealing path for the passage of
breath from the nose of a player. Thus, the nose pipe instrument of the present
invention can modulate the pitch of the tone to be played, thereby enabling
various notes to be played.

In Korean, for amateurs :

I have to admit I am not sure to fully understand the exact purpose of the device. If it is intended to be slided during the play, it's a nonsense regarding "bucal cavity driven" nose flutes... or will it produce a "special effect" ? A double pitch ? I doubt of that, but I may be wrong.
More likely it is featuring in order to "set" the flute before playing, in sharp or bass mode.

Sep 2, 2011

Review : what about Ebay nose flutes ?

Beside the ineluctable plastic Humanatones, one can find wooden nose flutes on Ebay. They are often the same (2 models), are said to be "ethically sourced", and cost from $8 to $12 depending on the merchant.

Those flutes are made in Vietnam. One model (the heart-shaped one) is made in rosewood and the other (classical shape) in... « fresh smelling Ethically sourced soft wood ».

What are they worth ?

Well, they play and sound quite correctly. They are not ergonomically at the top, in particular the classical one (the rosewood one has got a notch at the top which fits the base of the nose well).

The negative side is on the finishing. These pieces are made in a hurry, taking no care of the details. They surely are not made with machines, but not neither by meticulous craftsmen. The mouth hole, the duct and the labium are really not neat.

Let's say those flutes are worth their price, because there is human work on them, supposed to be "ethically paid", and that they work. But no more.
At equal price, better choose the rosewood one.

Sep 1, 2011

Silver nose flute...

In this video by "Job Te Pas", features a beautiful silver nose flute made by the goldsmith Hendrik Komen in The Hague (Netherlands). It is made from the German "Swan logo" nose flute (incorrectly called Gewa or Stölzel) template. I have no more info on this instrument, but it look like a great great one !

Aug 31, 2011

The Swedish Nose Flute Orchestra

The Sveriges Näsflöjts Orkester is a virtual orchestra of almost 40.000 members. It was created in 2006 as a tribute to David Gouthro, founder of the (now defunct) Vancouver Nose Flute Ensemble, and with his participation, with a double goal : (virtually) gather nose flute players all around Sweden and create a commercial buzz for the launching of a new nasal spray : Zycomb.

« Since we did not have the financial resources market leaders have at their disposal, we chose to try to create commitment. By using PR and the internet, we launched the Sweden Noseflute Orchestra (SNOR) with the help of David Gouthro, founder of the Vancouver Noseflute Ensemble. »

But the vision includes a part of philosophy. For Gouthro, nose flute playing is a metaphore of taking advantage and growing from a failure. David Gouthro is a consultant in management who uses the nose flute to teach his clients this philosophy. On the Vancouver Noseflute Ensemble website, he wrote :

« The Vancouver Noseflute Ensemble (VNE) is a virtual organization (or should that be 'virtually an organization'?) with a passion for encouraging anyone who wishes to learn and grow-particularly when there is a risk of making mistakes. »

« The VNE uses the Noseflute (a musical) as a physical metaphor for life! "You learn faster if you're willing to blow it" this is true of the Noseflute and any other opportunity for growth. »

Even if you are not attracted by the "serious side" of the nose flute, you'll find great videos on the site.

The Sveriges Näsflöjts Orkester website in Swedish
The Swedish Nose Flute Orchestra website translated by Google
The multimedia page, with lots of videos and music.

The Vancouver Noseflute Ensemble website
Zycomb Commercial videos featuring David Gouthro.

Aug 29, 2011

Alexander Roxburgh Grierson : a scottish flute

Alexander Roxburgh Grierson, citizen of Castle Douglas, Scotland, filed some "Improvements in Whistles" for a patent, Apr. 30, 1923 (GB214832, reg. May 1, 1924). The invention is a pure metal nose flute, enhanced with an amplification system, formed by a "chamber" covering all the front side of the instrument.

« Referring to the drawings the whistle or instrument consists essentially of two parts, a wind chamber 1, and an amplifying chamber 2. »

« The straight-down back 4 of the instrument and the upwaedly and outwardly bent lower portion 11 of the the amplifying chamber 2 constitute a pit or recess 12 into which the stream of air from the wind chamber orifice 13 rushes. The stream of air above-mentionned immediately proceeds to set up vibrations in the air contained within the amplifying chamber 2, and the opening-out formation of the said chamber amplifies the sound so that the notes originated in the wind chamber orifice or mouth 13 are made richer and fuller. »

The flute is clearly a hand-free instrument, and has been designed to be made in metal, and détails of construction are forecast.

« The pit 12 made by bending the material to the form above described may conveniently be held inside the lower lip 14 and the lower end 15 of the mouth of the amplifying chamber 2 rests upon the chin. »

« The whole instrument may be formed of three sheet-metal stampings, one constituting the front of the wind chamber 1, the back plate 4 and the bent nortions 12, 15, the other two being identical and each comprising a side plate 16 and a slightly-curved nostril plate 6 which directs the air to the aperture 3. »