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.

Jan 19, 2013

The Göttingen University Nasenflöten

I had read in a catalogue that the Georg-August-University of Göttingen Department of Musicology hosts a collection of musical instruments, including two Nasenflöten. And thus, I wrote to ask for pictures.

Herr Dr. Klaus-Peter Brenner, the Curator, kindly took the time to make photographs and to send them to me.

There are only two nose flutes in the collection, but they are interesting. The first one is a Wunderflöte: it is a second generation Wunderflöte, the same model than the one drawn in Siegfried Wolf's book or featuring in Piet Visser's collection. The Göttingen sample is in a quite good shape, and still showing its nickel plating:

The other flute is a simple chinese plastic Swan, but it shows the rather rare particularity of a translucent airway cap. We knew some Swan Nasenflöten with a translucent part, but it was the main shield.

Jan 18, 2013

The Ocariflûte / Oclariflûte - Again

I found another french jokes-gadgets-gizmos-novelties catalogue. It was published by the Société Le Record du Rire (The Laughter Record Company), Paris. This publication dates of 1929, that is just one year before the catalogue of the Société de la Gaîté française. It offers the same kind of funny and magical items, and also some small musical instruments.

I was very glad to find, page 137, another advertisement for the Ocariflûte, with another drawing. The brand name is not mentionned but the instrument is very recognizable, with its square heel. Here, the nose flute is called La Flûte nasale magique (The Magic Nasal Flute) and is supposedly "patented in every country"...

The text says:

(patented in every country)
anyone can play it
with no musical knowledge

The Magic Nasal Flute is an instrument really new, totally different from the others. It is entirely made of metal and weighs only a few grams. Thus, one can always have it in the pocket. Once placed as specified in the user manual provided with each instrument, only a few minutes are necessary to learn to play it. Any tone is obtained. No fingering. No need to hold the instrument.
It is capable to produce delightful modulations and any popular or classical melodies (opera, ditties, etc.)
Any animal scream imitation, and particularly birds ones (nightingale and canary) are perfectly reproduced very conveniently.
As a result of a special agreement with the manufacturer of this marvelous instrument, we provide it complete with a detailed user manual at ultra-reduced price of 3.50 Francs.
Anyone can take benefit of this precious, useful, agreeable device as well at home as in society.

Jan 17, 2013

Moulding and Casting - Part 5: Casting acrylic

It's a long time I've been wanting to experiment with casting nose flutes. As a model, I chose a Bocarina, because I love those babies, because they are easy to disassemble and because they are produced by ABS injection... in a mould.

My goal is not to forge a Bocarina, and certainly not to make a market with that (anyway, moulding and casting is much more expensive that buying the original nose flute!). Chris Schuermans had authorized me to experiment with a mould. Indeed, my goal is purely recreational.

[Sequel of the posts Part 1: Hard silicone, Part2: Casting urethane, Part 3: Low temp alloys and Part 4: Soft silicone]


Moulding and Casting - Part 5: Casting acrylic

I wanted to cast also acrylic resin, in order to (try to) get a translucent Bocarina, because polyurethane is opaque. My hard silicone mould was beginning to be a bit worn, and I used my new soft mould.

The problem with such resin is that, contrarywise to the polyurethane which hardens in minutes, acrylic takes at least 24 hours to harden. In consequence, the smallest leak in the junction of the mould leads to a disaster: in 24 hours, all the content is able to flow out.

I was finally able to seal my mould with tape, and had only one refill to do after 12 hours. It took me 7 castings (one week:) to get one proper flute:

The other problem (that I have not totally been able to get rid of) is the formation of bubbles. When you cast the resin, you can lean the mould to avoid bubbles in some angles. But the acrylic resin produces bubbles during its hardening process. Micro-bubbles, but during the 24 hours, they have the time to gather in bigger ones.

For those, I had to make "patches" afterwards, that is, to re-cast resin in the little holes.

I made 2 of them, one transparent, and one that I sanded to get a "translucent glass pebble on the seashore" aspect.

I also tried with a stock colored acrylic resin, and one in which I mixed a drop of red colorant (dedicated to polyurethane)

The results are funny, but not impressive on the sound side. All are very sharp (probably due to the shrinkage), with a reather "plastic" sound. Anyway, such slow hardening resin is a real pain in the neck to work with in such silicone moulds. Won't do it again.

Some were asking how would it look with a transparent nose flute, super-cool or like wearing a medical mask on the face... Maybe a good flute to teach nose flute playing? Well, you are the judge:


On the same topic :

- Moulding and Casting - Part 1: hard silicone
- Moulding and Casting - Part 2: casting urethane
- Moulding and Casting - Part 3: low temp alloys
- Moulding and Casting - Part 4: soft silicone
- Moulding and Casting - Part 5: casting Acrylic


Jan 15, 2013

A great page dedicated to the "9th event"

Don't miss the page published by, about the "Ninth Symphony" event performed by the Hanshin Hanabue Association (日本鼻笛協会 阪神間友の会) on 28th of December. It was conducted by sensei Mosurin and broadcast on TV.

The black and white photographs by Mr. Matsubara Yutaka are **splendid**!

click here to access the original page
click here to access the google translated page

and here for Matsubara Yutaka facebook page with the 342 pictures!

And here, the video posted by Mosurin:

And the TV footage:

Jan 14, 2013

Froby, mint in blister!

Look what Mr. Piet Visser just found sent to us! A His Froby, when new in its package. Interesting: it's was branded for France (or a french speaking country), with the title "New, The Froby Melodic Madness". On the corner: "Seen on TV". So, there should be a TV archive (a commercial?) with the nose flute (or is was it just a fake mention...).

Piet Visser on dutch TV

Piet Visser, the famous dutch whistle collector, was seen on TV last october. He presented some of his wonderful whistles, but had also brought his "Blik", an american nose flute from the 1920's.

The nose flute part begins at 4'30", but the whole interview is interesting, even when you don't understand the Dutch language.

Jan 13, 2013

The Ocariflûte / Oclariflûte - Update

I found an original of the issue #1 of the Catalogue général de la Société de la Gaîté française and it changed a bit my thoughts about the Ocariflûte/Oclariflûte name...

This catalogue is a novelties french catalogue, proposing the same kind of joke items than the Johnson Smith did in the USA, but also some musical instruments, and notably the Bigotphone series (cardboard instruments). On the very last page, the printing date: 1930.

So, the name "Ocariflûte" was later than the original "Oclariflûte". I just amended and updated the post about this instrument, and added better images (scanned from the original catalogue).