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.

Nov 24, 2012

Beautiful: Nose flute and Barrel organ!

JP Godard, that you've already met here and here, follows on his series of self-duet videos. Here is a new one, a gorgeous one, played with his Bocarina and a barrel organ:

Nov 21, 2012

User manuals - Part 2: Asia - America - Africa

Sequel of the post User manuals - Part 1: Europe


Nihon Hanabue Kyokai Ise Tomo no Kai

These user manuals were published by the Japanese Nose Flute Ise Association for the nose flutes made by Mr. Takuma Ikeyama.

On-Lak nose flute:


No name Humanatone copy

Note how this user manual is a counterfeit of the official Humanatone user-manual (just below the chinese one), which itself remained (almost) the same since the origins! So, the text of the chinese copy is (almost) the same than the one that was published by J. Stivers in the 1900's !

United States of America


These Humanatone copies were were made in Hong-Kong, but sold in the USA under an american licence.
Note the spelling mistake "nostrile" appearing on the first Hum-A-Tune and on the 1969 Bullwinkle's Hum-A-Tune. The mistake was corrected afterwards, in the later Hum-A-Tune manual.
Note that the text was very probably "inspired" by the Humanatone text. It's not a plagiarism, but the same words were mixed in a different order.


This user manual was probably published in the 1920's by the Humanatone Company. The specific part explaining how to blow the nose flute was re-used by the Fred Gretsch Mfg Co. in the 40's and until the brand was sold to Grover-Trophy Music. Trophy Music re-used again the same text, just modified it a bit, and it is still printed on the individual small bags.

Metal Humanatone by the Humanatone Co.:

Plastic Humanatone by the Gretsch Co. in the 40's:

Here the text is different. It seems that Gretsch quickly went back to the original one, after this series of nose flute specially dedicated to be sent to the Boys fighting in the Pacific.

Metal Humanatone by the Gretsch Co. (made in Japan):

Plastic Humanatone by the Gretsch Co. in the 50's:

Plastic Humanatone by the Trophy Music Co., nowadays:

Dr B.B.Bumstead user manual

This user manual was provided with the Humanatones branded by the Dr. B.B.Bumstead, in the 1980's:

South Africa

Claritone (Bocarina)

Claritone was the first name of the Bocarina. Here is a detailed user manual distributed by Dr. Bruce Copley.

Nov 20, 2012

User manuals - Part 1: Europe

Here is a series of nose flute user manuals, published either by the manufacturers/craftsmen, or by resellers. Just to have them gathered altogether. For sure, the collection is far from being complete.


The Vociphone (François Vandervaeren) - 1912:

Enjoy the threatening Nota Bene: « Any person that would not conform to the user manual will get no sound of it. »


Die Schweizer Nasenflöte (Karl Wigert) - 2011:

Note that the text has been totally copied from the Handler's user manual. Even the name SchWeizer, with a capital W inside, is a reference to the Weizer Nasenflöte... (see below)


Die Weizer Nasenflöte (Heinrich Handler) - 2000:


Le Nasiphone/Mellibrou (René Mellier) - 2000:

La Flûte à nez (jean-Philippe Minchin) - 2000:


Nasenflöte (Max Zycha) - 1995:

Nasenflöte (Rainer Schwarze) - 2004:

Schwan Nasenflöte - From german resellers:

Bocarina - Branded by Corvus:

>>To be continued!


Nov 19, 2012

New german joyful duo!

Two videos by a new Nasenflöte duo! The german noseflutists, named Wallimex, just published 2 recordings, full of joy. The goal was apparently not to reach a "tonality perfection", but to enjoy fun and laughs (but it's not badly played at all!). It's a success!
Here are Bruder Jakob played in canon, then El Condor Pasa:

Nov 18, 2012

Historic Nose Flutes - Couchois' Whistle: Review

Some historic nose flutes have totally disappear or haven't even been produced or commercialized. Our goal, here, is to reconstruct them, as close as possible to the original, with the help of the patent drawings and descriptions.

[Sequel of the posts Couchois' Whistle: Drawing a template and Building the flute]

As planned, I "flashed" the Couchois' tin whistle, that is, I electroplated it with Nickel during a few minutes only. I just wanted to protect it from rust. Maybe, later I will plate it with chrome...

Well, here is the Couchois' whistle. It's a very elegant nose flute, made of 3 major parts: the nose shield, the airway and the mouth tube.

The nose shield is maybe the first of the kind. The Carter's Nasalette featured a nose hood, totally covering the nose, rather unefficient, though (air leak). Here, on the Couchois, the nose has just to rest on a saddle, which was magnifically designed. Efficient and beautiful. Looking light as a butterfly, and shaped like a flower petal, in contrast with the solid looking and simple mouth tube cylinder.
The air collector is a very small rectangle, and I was a bit doubtful regarding its functionality. I was wrong, this little square window works fine.

The air duct is great too. Because of its rounded shape, it gets thinner as it reaches the the mouth tube, and thus, accelerates the air flow, as it should be to get a clean and precise sound.

The mouth tube has been designed as a cylinder, which is much more ergonomic than the Carter's rectangular one was. However, 23mm diameter is is bit too big, according to me. As shown in the following video, this size and shape create gaps at the corner of the lips. I don't think this was made on purpose (else, Couchois would have specified it in the patent), but one can take advantage of this "feature": by quickly clogging/unclogging one of these lips gaps, it is possible to produce a tremolo.

I had to correct the dimension of the mouth hole, in order to get consistency of the patent front and side view. The front view shows a bigger hole. However, the labium is slanted (it is visible on the patent) and this was not the case on Carter's.

The overall shape, as already said, is very elegant, equilibrated and quite modern. It really could have been designed in the 1950's. The profile even looks a bit like a Star Trek starship!


The Sound

Partly due to the modification that I had to practice on the mouth hole, but mostly to the good-sized mouth tube which creates a big "first chamber": the Couchois' whistle has a quite sharp range.
The short airduct, thinner at its end, plus the slanted labium... all of these features produce a clear, clean and loud whistling. The Couchois' is easy to drive! On the other hand, whether you try to reach basses, the sound gets weak and doubled by unwanted whistlings.

All in all, this nose whistle is a good instrument, elegant, rather ergonomic, easy to play, with a clean sharp sound. It certainly represents a progress upon the Nasalette.

Here is a short sound sample (When I am Prime Minister, by Markos Vamvakaris):

And here a short video review:


On the same topic :

- Historic Nose Flutes - The Nasalette: Template
- Historic Nose Flutes - The Nasalette: Building
- Historic Nose Flutes - The Nasalette: Review
- Historic Nose Flutes - Couchois' Whistle: Template
- Historic Nose Flutes - Couchois' Whistle: Building
- Historic Nose Flutes - Couchois' Whistle: Review
- Historic Nose Flutes - Grierson's Whistle: Template
- Historic Nose Flutes - Grierson's Whistle: Building
- Historic Nose Flutes - Grierson's Whistle: Review