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.

Dec 15, 2012

Christmas Gift Exchange Party

A Christmas little ceremony in Japan, gathering friends of the Hanshin hanabue association, on the Oyaji channel. It's a funny gift exchange party during which the participants play the Ode to Joy.

Billie Jean, low tech

Funny multitrack video by Suffsausage. Billie Jean, with guitar back tapping, humming, kazooing and nose fluting!

Dec 14, 2012

Christmas Egg!

Generally, eggs pop out in your garden at Easter. But it's for Christmas that our friend Harm Linsen from the Hetherlands, sent us a beautiful red egg.

And in the egg, there was a nose whistle made by Harm and etched with my name!

Harm sent also a file with pictures of the making:

So, Mr. Linsen used simple referee metal whistle and transformed them by inserting their nose is a brass plate, in order to build a nose saddle, and cutting a part of the belly, to create a labium.

The 2-colors result is funny and very comfortable. The nose saddle is well dimensioned and Harm filed a little scoop for the "western nose cartilage": well done!

Then Harm Linsen etched my name on the nose shield, and filled the letters with a silver coloured marker:

The labium cut in the whistle belly is rather large:

The result is a very comfortable nose whistle, medium-bass oriented, easy to play and with a loud sound. A success! Thank you Harm!

Here is a sound sample:

Dec 12, 2012

Nose flute and musical saw

Two recent pictures of Mr. Kato Hideo playing the musical saw and a clay Bocarina together. We would have liked to attend this event!

Dec 11, 2012

Nose Flute Pioneers: Charles M. Berry

With the "Nose Flute Pioneers" series, enters a little cycle of research. I hope it won't be too arid for a blog, but I really think that the facts I found have to be published. The sources : Google patents, US Census and an access to newspaper archives. But also, depending on the topic, correspondence by e-mail with descendants. Let's better say : internet searching tools available for a Frenchie not able to access US real paper archives.


Nose Flute Pioneers: Charles M. Berry

This notice about Charles M. Berry will be short. Indeed, there were so many homonyms that it is very difficult to distinguish what archive is appropriate or not to the right person. I prefered to expose only those I can ascertain as being proper to "our" Charles Berry.

We know Charles M. Berry through the patent US 2,197,993, filed for the « Vocamonica » Mar. 19, 1938, and registered Apr. 23, 1940. As stated in the patent description, Berry was living then in Inglewood (South/West of Los Angeles), California.


Charles M. Berry was born in Indiana Feb. 15, 1864. What he did during his 50 first years is a mystery, but it seems that Charles became an engineer and an inventor specialized in airplane parts.
In 1915, Berry filed a patent for a propeller (US 1,228,874, fil. Jul. 31, 1915 and reg. Jun. 5, 1917) that is supposed not to be affectable by climate changes (contrarywise to wooden ones). The Berry propeller is made of metal sheet shaped in a manual mould, then coated with carbon.

At this time, Charles Berry was living in New York, NY. I was able to track him 15 years later, already in Inglewood, CA. In the 1930 census sheet excerpt shown below, it is clearly stated that Charles' occupation is "Inventor" specialized in "Airplane parts".
Charles is married with Pearl A., 50, born in NY. Plase notice that their neighbours are the McDowells, and that John A. is "Mechanical engineer", working in the "patents" business... Are Berry and McDowell associated in some way?

In 1938, Berry, 74, patented the Vocamonica. It's a nose flute with a movable blade in the labium, in order to set the instrument tonality.

Two years earlier, Oscar Cobia had filed a patent for a nose flute with a set of exchangeable labiums, but the Berry's patent is the first, as far as I know, to propose a variable fipple. Berry names it a toner gate.

A detail is very interesting in this patent:

Yes! Berry's attorney is his own neighbour John McDowell!
Indeed, in the 1940 census sheet, McDowell occupation has changed from "Mechanical engineer/patents" to "Patent attorney/law".

In 1940, Berry is apparently retired (he's 76) and both him and John McDowell, only 44 though, are widowed.

Charles M. Berry died Jun. 6, 1959, at the age of 95.


On the same topic :

- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Ernest W. Davis - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Ernest W. Davis - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Nelson Ronsheim
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Garrett J. Couchois
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part IV
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part V
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Aurion Villa Chevers
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Charles M. Berry


Dec 10, 2012

Ray C. Clarke, long timer humanatonist

Here are two newspaper articles. The first one dates of Mar. 31, 1927 (Lebanon Daily News) and the second was published Mar. 25, 1937 (Abilene Morning News). Both deals with Mr. Ray C. Clarke, the « King of Humanatone ».
In 1927, Clarke is presented as amember of the American Humanatone Company of New York. Was this company a corporate band managed by Humanatone Co., as the brand Zobo did by founding The First Zobo Band of New York?

Anyway, ten years later, Mr. Clarke was still playing the Humanatone, was broadcast on the radio KRBC, and according to the paper, was very active in flute performing.

Doesn't this deserve a NF Hall of Fame nomination?