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.

Aug 3, 2012


Many videos by Mister Swing on this blog, last days... But this one is so stunning, that it deserves a special mention. Hans Christian Klüver blasts many nose flute criteria here. Don't you think so ?

Aug 2, 2012

Home made aluminium nose flute, again!

After my test with a plastic samba whistle, I wanted to build an aluminium nose flute on the same principle (I love to work with aluminium...). As usual, no prior plans (I'm an empirical mind), just the idea of an horizontal cylinder, connected with a nose craddle. Well, I took an aluminium rod and cut a section, then filed the mouth hole.

Then I cut 2 circles in aluminium plate, and sanded them until they almsot fit in the cylinder ends. Finally, I stamped them with a mallet.

Then I cut and filed the labium, very sharp.



One reader asked me how large is my workshop... well, I have to say that I work on my desktop, in front of my computer, with very usual tools (a vise, 2 saws, a large file, some needle files, 2 metal saws, a drill, a mallet and a hammer, sanding paper, cutters, adhesive tape, and several type of glues.). Plus a shaving brush to wipe dust out and liters of great teas. I also have a buffing wheel in my "real" workshop.


The mouth part being alsmot totally done, I cut some parts in order to assemble a nose craddle, pyramid shape, with deep triangular scoops for the base of my nose. Then I glued the parts together with a hard metal bicomponent glue.

Since I had decided to let the nose craddle totally opened, and didn't want the glue to be visible, I sprayed some red painting inside, inspired by the famous fashionable Louboutin shoes, with their recognizable red sole!
Finally, I filed the bit to "open" the end of the airway.

Then, problems began. I had to file the base of the craddle to glue it to the mouth cylinder, but didn't know the best angle. So I skyped Mr. Schuermans, and asked him for technical advices. Chris told me the labium should face the 1/3 of the airway height (uh... so easy when your airway is 1mm thick...). He also told me that making a supplementary chamber in front of the mouth was not a very good idea, so I decided to make the mouth hole bigger than I did, in order to lessen the "several chambers" effect. Chris Schuermans gave me other advices that I will put into practice the next time only : it was too late with this nose flute.

Well, I glued the 2 parts with Auto Weld and let dry for the night.

After the glue was dry, I filed and sanded it, then drilled the "trill hole" and I reamed it.

For sure, I added my "Louboutin" touch, with red paint applied as lipstick :

Done! Here is my Loboutin Hornet ("Hornet", because of the sharp angle shape and the very sharp tonality range) :

Finally, I added 2 short sections of aluminium rod, and glued a red cord to make the Louboutin Hornet hands-free :

On the sound side... The Hornet is very very sharp in its intonation. The positive points are that this flute is one of the most precise and probably the quickest flute I have. It is very powerful too, in the sharps... The "trill hole" works very fine!
The negative points are that I get some "parasitic whistlings" when I go down to the basses, and that I cannot reach very low notes.

But better is it to let you judge by yourself on this little 'free' interpretation, using the trill :

Jul 31, 2012

Samba nose whistle

One more in my series of experiments with whistles. I got a pair of very crappy plastic samba whistles, and applied my old method : make a round hole in the belly. I also rounded the air entrance in order to get it smoother for my nostril.

But what makes the particularity of a Samba whistle? the tone change holes. I decided to clog one with a drop of glue, and thus, got a "true tremolo" hole on the other side.

Indeed, it works fine. The sound is as crappy as the original plastic whistle was able to provide, but the trill works well, while acting on it with a finger, with rather the same alteration, whatever the note, sharp of medium :

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" ?