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.

Jun 30, 2012

Alpaca neusfluit by Piet Visser

As stated in Maikel Mei's 3-parts great article about Piet Visser's whistles, the collector is a retired goldsmith and still continues to practice his art. After Mr. Mei's visit — and I suppose a gentle suggestion by him – Mr. Visser made a nose flute in Alpaca.

The nose flute on progress

Alpaca is an alloy of copper, nickel and occasionally other metals. It is often called alpaca silver, nickel silver, German silver, new silver or Paktong. « Because of its visual similarity to sterling silver, Alpaca silver is frequently used in jewelery as a less expensive alternative to true silver »

The neusfluit completed and shiny!

It took over 20 hours to Piet Visser to make the flute, plus 5 more for the chain, in alpaca too. The shape is obviously coming from Swan-logo, which airway cover Mr. Visser ornated with a four-leaf clover. A beautiful neusfluit!

« Piet Visser said that he doesn't really have the right tools: as a goldsmith he was used to make smaller stuff and the metal he used, 8/10 alpaca was slightly too thick for him to burn and bend. He would try 7/10 or even 6/10.

He made a shamrock, or a lucky clover, with 4 leaves on the spot where the swan logo sits, because he always liked the silver hangers of a lucky clover that people used to wear around their necks.
» [from Maikel Mei]

A cannibal hands-free holder

If you play the nose flute, you probably met someone one day who told you that you looked like Hannibal Lecter with such a device on your nose. Indeed, the Silent of the Lambs hero should be a kind of iconic model for any noseflutist.

IanReentrant, ukulelist and Phil Doleman's music partner in The Re-entrants, wanted to mock at his friend who recently bought a Bocarina and just published a video with it. On that purpose, he made the following video (and also this other one:) :

Great idea! Yes, I had the same :) [following the idea we had here] Pfff! Once again, the rug was pulled from under my feet, like with the "Noseless nose flute"! I had ordered a Hannibal Lecter's mask some weeks ago (there are witnesses!) but had no time yet to make a video with it. I bow down, Ian, you were the first.

The fact is that the mask is a very easy and comfortable nose flute holder, yet very elegant, and it helps much the communication with children.

Great performances by Mr. Kato Hideo!

Mr. Kato Hideo (see this post) is a multi-talented musician. He notably plays the musical saw and the nose flute. In this video, which is a cutting of several performances, Mr. Hideo shows the extent of his talents. Particularly in his nose flute playing, ranging from perfect tuned and sweet Japanese melodies, to funnier usages of the instrument. Always with a great mastering of the instrument. Really a "must see":

Jun 29, 2012

NFHoF new entry

The Nose Flute Hall of Fame is glad to welcome its first female full member, in the person of Esther Averill, for her book Jenny's Moonlight Adventure, 1949 (check this post).

Newcomer on nose flute, not on the uke!

Phil Doleman is a great ukulele player (just check this or that) and he received yesterday a black Bocarina from Brionski. No time lost: he just published his first ukie/snoutie video!
Very promising...!

A Persian nose flute

Jenny is a young black cat, and she prepares to celebrate Halloween with her friends, and to watch the witches sliding from the mountains of the moon. Jenny's Moonlight Adventure is an illustrated book by Esther Averill, first published in 1949. Thanks to YW to have made me known its existence.

So, the cats make a party, and the diva Madame Butterfly, a persian cat, will perform a nose flute concert! Well, she would have, because while going to the party, she had an accident, and lost her nose flute...

Well, if you want to know how the story continues and if there is a happy ending... you just need to buy the book and, by the way, support quality publications!

No, let's see this Persian cristal nose flute...

The persian nose flute has a very original shape, totally designed for a cat usage. It's a short cylinder of crystal with 2 nose plugs in order to avoid air leaks. One can see 3 little holes on it, which could indicate that it is not totally paws-free (Or are they a triple mouth hole?)

What is very interesting, is that kittens encounter the same ergonomical problem that we do, regarding the nose flute shapes. We know that instruments perfectly fitting Asian noses physionomy do not fit well European noses, and vice-versa.
Cats are not spared by such ethnic singularities, it seems, which occur between western and eastern world...

This book is a must have for any nose flute lover!

Jun 28, 2012

Brigitte Bardot - Rated nose flute video

Well... some archive images from the FIUL 2012 (Festival International d'Ukulélé de Lerrain), in which you can see Brigitte Bardot herself playing "30 Millions d'Amis" (which was the main music of a French TV program for pet lovers), accompanied by whole a zoo, personified by the Nosy Diva herself. The sound is very bad, but the topic is historic :) Thanks to Stoerungsdienst for having shot with a camcorder and not a gun rifle.

Nose flute and Piano in 1902

In the Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette, Newbury Herald, and Berks County Paper (UK), dated Feb. 15, 1902, one could read :

And here the full article :

So, on Thursday, February 6, 1902, the high society of Hartley Wintney, a village (around 1,500 inh. at this time) of North-East Hampshire, enjoyed the delights of nose flute and piano, both played by Mr. Ivor Smith.
We can assume it was not a Humanatone, since the brand was first used in 1903. But was it a US nose flute or a British one ? In the United States, as we posted few ago, nose flutes were available at the Chicago World Fair of 1893. But was there any of those instruments in UK at this time ? Yes, probably imported from USA.

What is important to notice, is that as early as 1902, there was at least one musician playing a hands-free nose flute, together with piano playing. Great!

An early metal nose flute

Gift from Mr. Mei, who traded it off with Mr. Piet Visser, here is an american or a german tin flute from the 1920s. The red painting has been restaured by Mr. Visser, as it was originally.

Besides its color, the other particularity of this flute is its square mouth shield, leading to a very typical design, and to a look misleadingly tinier than the tin Humanatone. Following the same "shape spirit", the two wings of the "nose fender" show the same kind of cutting, comparing to the round endings of a Humanatone.

The "technical parts" are quite the same as the Humanatone, and the red flute has a lip rest, as almost all its contemporaries.

It is stamped with no brand or patent numbers, which is singular since the model uses all prior inventions, but it is yet possible that fine stampings have disappeared with time, rust, gentle sanding and red paint coating.

Jun 27, 2012

Mike Pride : Free Jazz nose flute

Mike Pride is a drummer, singer and composer based in New York City. He has played with many many bands. While drumming, he sometimes also plays the nose flute : « YES, at least once a week, in concert ». Mike began with the nose flute when he was 16 or 17 years old.

« Swan, Red & Green from Gewa Nasenflöte. I also used to play a plastic Human-a-tone, but I broke it ». Now, he also owns a Bocarina : « This is great! Has amazing low and mids! ».

« I just played at the Moers Festival in Germany, in May with a trio called I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues - primarily as a drummer, but I also play nose flute in the trio, as well. I used my Swan nose flute. No one could figure out what I was playing and some thought the red nose flute was blood streaming from my nose- which is really really cool and hilarious.
I frequently use the nose flute to reach feedback level pitches and to create microtonal pitch modulations. I used play a lot of slide flute, but I find the nose whistle - specifically the Swan - to be a more natural extension of my voice, but with greater range in the upper register.

Indeed, Mike's playing is as "free" (Free Jazz?) as the music he performs, and with very rhythmic usage. Here is a video with Mick Barr at the tar, in which you can see hear Mike Pride playing drums and Swan, from 2'07", squeaking and whistling like with a bird call :


- visit Mike Pride's website

- Mike Pride's MySpace

- check Mike Pride's Facebook


Jun 26, 2012

A video by Noseflutejob

Noseflutejob is the new channel of a Dutch noseflutist, well known on Youtube, who apparently decided to erase his former channel with all of its content... But he has already re-posted one old video, so we may expect to find back soon some other ones.
Anyway, here is his "first" nose flute video, and it is very nicely played.

Noseless nose flute...

Mcraiglow loves to create, modify, electrify simple or very complex instruments. Yesterday, he posted this video in which he made a funny "noseless nose flute". I feel a bit bizarre, since I'm working on the same concept, with several declinations but had not yet the time to make the videos...

here is my version with a balloon :

A radical nose flute stand

After Mosurin's well-known stand, the definitive one worked one by FloydBlue, the Reggi-Flauto by Felice Pantone and this high end orthodontical one, here is a new system!

Mr. Takuma Ikeyama, the japanese carpenter who makes those great wooden nose flutes for the ISE association, has found a radical system to hold his hanabue while he's playing the guitar. Here with Mr. Kouichi Nishioka :

Jun 25, 2012

Video : the masked hanabuist!

A newcomer on Youtube, Hanabuemask, plays what seems to be an On-lak nose flute, sprayed with blue painting. Is wearing a mask fashionable these days??

FIUL - debrief!

This week-end, we were at the FIUL : International Ukulele Festival of Lerrain. Lerrain is a very small village in the Vosges region, France, and very near (80 km!). It was the second edition, and all the musicians that came last year were back there, plus a good bunch of newbies, coming from all Europe, plus a few from America.

Patrick and Juliette

The Nosy Diva and Ukeheidi invited to play with them by Gus and Fin.

Three days of non stop music (from 10AM to midnight), with an "open stage" where everybody can come and play. But after the stage sessions, life didn't stop... and in the "camp" for musicians, we had jam sessions until... 8 in the morning!!

He is a video in which you can see Gus, of the famous Gus and Fin duo, and Uncle Emile, playing their Bocarinas along with the Nosy Diva : it was the very first time they played the nose flute. A real European orchestra! (Scotland, Germany, France) :

Jun 24, 2012

Some info about the shape

To me, it was like a "rumor" to state that the "urban" shape (compact and bucal cavity driven) nose flute was used for ages by the Guarani people (check this post). They could have begun producing it for commercial reason (difficult for them to survive, nowadays) for several years only. Contrarywise, what about Vietnam? Same (or so) shapes are massively produced in Vietnam : has it been a traditional shape for long there ?

So I asked a famous ethnomusicologist, specialized in traditional flutes, Mr. Randy Raine Reusch (Ethnomusicologist, composer, musician and world-music consultant), who answered gently and quickly...

After having told me that I should not call our "urban" nose flutes "nose flutes" but "nose whistles" (I agree, but the habit has been adopted by all players...), Mr. Raine-Reusch wrote :

« The instrument that you play is originally from the Guaranis people used for calling birds, to my knowledge it was not used for melodies. However, this whistles along with many other native whistles became popular for use in Samba bands in Brazil, and you can easily see them at the Carnival parades. They play percussive parts.  The western humanatone and Vietnamese instruments were copied from the Brazilian version. There is no history of these instruments at all in Vietnam, they are just made there for commercial purposes. As well there is not tradition of these instruments elsewhere in the world until the popularity of the humanatone as a novelty instrument, since that time, they can be found as novelty instruments made in a host of countries, out of plastic, wood or metal.

The brazilian instrument is the traditional shape, and there is no record of how long it has been used in Brazil, which suggests that it is longer than when Europeans made first contact.

Things are clear now.