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.

Oct 22, 2011

Video : Becapella, a stunning duet

Andi Steil and Franz Fendt are two musicians from North Germany who play mainly the hang, and play it beautifully. Hang is a modern Swiss percussion instrument re-invented by PanArt, from traditional indian istruments. They are played by hitting them on different zones producing the notes of a specific scale.

But the Becapella members also play the nose flute : « The nose flute became a standard instrument in our show. Normally, we start and end up with it ».
Andi also adds « We perform everywhere it's not too noisy around the place we perform, otherwise the PA system has to be strong ».

Here, they play the Ode to Joy by Beethoven, with their hangs and wooden nose flutes.

There is also another version here, more ...funky.

Oct 20, 2011

Review : Sommer Musik nose flutes

I ordered and received two Nasenflöten by Martina Sommer, at Martin and Martina Sommer are wood instruments makers, located in Berlin, Germany. Their workshop is the one you can see in the video here.

I ordered the 2 models, adult and children sized, and was pleasantly surprised to receive the hand-free nose flutes, nicely packed and already mounted with a matching color leather cord.

I just asked Martina a dark flute and a light one, and to choose nice pieces of wood. I'm very pleased with Martina's choices : I got a dark brown adult flute, with quite angular and convex shape, made of nicely grained walnut and elm. And the smaller one, with rounded design, concave front side, light and colored (mapple and cherry).

The flutes are quite small (5.4 x 3.8 cm for the bigger one, and 5x4 cm for the children size), but are made with care and attention, nice assemblings and beveled edges. The rear is comfortable for the nose rest as for the upper lip contact zone.

The rear side is also drilled of two holes sized in order to fit the cord knot, and are coninued by a lateral hole, of the diameter of the leather lace. This is really well done and conceived, thus avoiding the ungracious rise of the knot above the surface.

The technical choices and dimensions are a bit surprising, but lead to a good result. The air duct has a quarter-rounded section as thick as 3 millimeters at its largest. The mouth hole is a perfect circular hole with a 10 mm diameter, broadening in an elliptic cone at the rear, up to 20 mm at its largest. The distance between the air duct exit and the lowest part of the (circular) labium is 12 mm, which is a very large dimension compared to other nose flutes (for instance, on a plastic Humanatone, this distance is 6.5 mm).

On the "down" side, the "mouth cone" of my child size flute is not perfectly centered, leading to a disgracious encroachment on the side. This is a detail, only known by the player (me:), since that is not visible from the outside.

However, those two flutes work pretty fine and produce a good woody sound, clear and loud. The basses are easy to get, thanks to the mouth cone, adding some "free" room to the mouth

Here is a short sound sample (Lully, the Night ballet !) :

Martin and Martina Sommer website is here.
And here is a video in which Martin Sommer plays the Nasenflöte.

Downloadable template

I've been asked to provide the "new" template. Here it is. Click on it to get it full size, save it, and print it on a A4 format cardboard (200g/m2 minimum). The assembling manual is here.

Oct 17, 2011

Nose flute workshop debriefing - part 3

I made a video during the workshop. It is a bit long (12 mn) but gives a real idea of what it was. Big thanks to Fräulein Birdy K. for having allowed us to use some of her WIP recordings as soundtrack.

Oct 16, 2011

Nose flute workshop debriefing - part 2

An excerpt of the local newspaper, with some lines dedicated to the workshop : reading the article, we could believe that I am the inventor of all nose flutes in the world. Hmm. Rather confusing...

Nose flute workshop debriefing - part 1

My nose flute workshop at the Architecture school of Nancy (France) was a great success! Yesterday, between 10AM and 17PM, 200 cardboard nose flutes (100 adult size + 100 children size) were built from the templates by the visitors (mostly) and my assitants. Parallely, we taught all the visitors how to play them (almost everybody succeded). Great fun!

Here are some pictures of the workshop :
(click here for a bigger size)