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 30, 2012

A Vintage Nasal Huming Bamboo Sax

Two articles with picture, depicting a "new instrument" invented by a US soldier stationed in the Philippines, Walter C. Chambers. The first one was published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on December 26, 1920, and the second in the Muscatine Journal and News tribune, on February 7, 1921.

Both look very similar... The titles are a bit different, one refering to Jazz, but the main difference lays elsewhere. The penultimate word is not the same, and according to it, changes the whole legitimacy for posting this in this blog.
We like to think the second version "mouth closed" is the right one, explaining the choice of the title for those papers. But in this case, what would be the use of the nasal blowing, since there is no fipple or reed ? The truth is however probably that the "nose cap" helps pinching the nose, and thus provides a nasalized sound when huming a tune.

The instrument described is not a "urban type" nose flute, but it does not need a fingering to be play. It works more like a kazoo or a didjeridoo. The tonality is driven not by the mouth cavity size, but by the vocal folds. Should we call it a "nasalized didjedidoo", or, according to the shape, a "nasal huming bamboo sax" ?

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