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.

Feb 2, 2013

The Reveries - Postpunk Canadian nose flute

Eye Weekly was a free newspaper published in Toronto, Canada, from 1991 until 2011. Here is a front cover dating of 2007, with The Reveries as main topic and a huge purple plastic Humanatone held with a rubber band:

The Reveries is a Toronto trio lead by Eric Chenaux. They used to play post-punk covers of country music, distorted, out of tune and staggering, and have evolved to "sweet Jazz" (well... as distorted:).

« The Reveries sing and play standards – from Cole Porter to Nick Cave. They call what they do sweet jazz. It is, but in an altered state precipitating an altered state. This would be hallucinogenic music if hallucinations were real (there are no illusions at work here). This figures – in any setting, all three are insidiously mind-bending musicians. » []

The band is composed of:

Eric Chenaux: vocals, mouth-speaker, electric guitar, harmonica
Ryan Driver: vocals, mouth-speaker, mouth-microphone, quasi-ruler bass, thumbs-reeds
Doug Tielli: vocals, mouth-speaker, electric guitar, nose flute, saw

Doug Tielli plays the nose flute as a background instrument, but also holds solos or weaves approximative melodies, as flangy as the others instruments do. The Reveries have a very specific approach to music, a kind of cool punk dandyism. They have released 4 CDs, and most of the tracks have a nose flute part.

- Blasé Kisses, 2003.
- Live in Bologna, 2007.
- Matchmakers Vol. 1: The Music of Willie Nelson, 2008.
- Matchmakers Vol 2.: The Music of Sade, 2012.

The Reveries music has clearly evolved with time, towards what they call "sweet Jazz".

You can listen to The Reveries :

- on their MySpace page (I particularly recommend to you December Days, I Let My Mind Wander and I've Just Destroyed The World...)

- on (strangely not in .us or .ca): Blasé Kisses, Live in Bologna and The Music of Willie Nelson

- on : The Music of Sade


You also can buy the physical CDs :

- at for the 3 first ones.

- at, for the last one

Feb 1, 2013

Yet another TV archive!

Here is another french TV archive, dating of April 1982. It is an excerpt of a popular Sunday program (Incroyable Mais Vrai, a spin-off of the original That's Incredible).

In this footage, the presenter Jacques Martin welcomes a nose flute player, Mr. Bourdin.

Here are some excerpts of the (condescending and chauvinist) dialogue:

[The presenter welcomes Mr. Bourdin. Questions about his profession]


— Mr. Bourdin is an Incredible But True musician, because one day, his daddy built a device...

— Exact.

— ... which is named the Narinophone ["Nostrilophone"]. Please would you show this Incredible But True instrument: the only instrument played with the nose... The case is a matchbox, and this is daddy's invention. So, teach us how to play the Narinophone... it's an instrument which is attached with adhesive...

— Yes, so to get free of our hands.

Narinophone, you see? Because we're like that, in France: we've got no oil, but we have Narinophones!... Is it an artistic instrument? It could also have been called the Morvophone (Snot-o-phone) too, but it was less melodious. I prefer Narinophone. Well, Mr. Bourdin, is the instrument set?

— [First whistling]

— Here is your mike, and you're going to play something for us with the Narinophopne, please.

— [Playing]

— Very well done!


—So... please... it's a remarkable instrument... Oh!

[instrument falling on the ground]

— My God! Let's put it back quickly in its case, don't we, because it's a very precious instrument. And you see, this is France. France of Incredible But True, this France which – where is the camera? Yes, this one – This France which is able to introduce, on a Sunday, an Incredible But True instrument, packed in a matchbox, Mr. Bourdin's Narinophone, who is applauded as he deserves it! Bravo Mr. Bourdin!


[Mr. Bourdin plays a subway ticket]


Here is the footage:


Now let's have a look at some screenshots:

The nose flute is a metal one — quite shiny – with a straight (square) heel, on which one can see a pair of holes. At the very beginning, it is possible to see the back of the flute, and it seems it featured a lip rest.

Because of its shape, his nose flute looks to be an Ocariflute [see this post], and this is rather problematic...
In the footage, the TV host Jacques Martin says « his daddy built a device » and then « This is daddy's invention ». As far as we know, the Ocariflute was invented by Achille Brilhault in 1922-23. And according to the Brilhault family tree, Achille had no children [see this post]. Even if he had one, the son would have been named Brilhault too, and not Bourdin.
(Well, remains the case of Mr. Bourdin having been an illegitimate child. In this 1982 video, Mr. Bourdin looks to be around 55-60. So, he would have been born around 1922-1927. So, there is a technical possibility).

Mr. Bourdin's nose flute shows two holes in the heel. Maybe were they made to slip a cord for hanging the flute around the neck. How has this Narinophone stayed so shiny during more than 50 years without having gotten rusty? Twenty years before, in 1961, Jean Dubuffet's one was already clearly oxydized... Well, safely preserved and wiped up or varnished... It could have been a genuine Ocariflute in perfect shape.

I have no answer for any of those questions, and won't certainly never have. Was this instrument a genuine Ocariflute or a copy made by a musician? Did Mr. Bourdin's father build this instrument or was it just a family belief? Was he the inventor of the Ocariflute and sold the patent to Brilhault? Only a copy of the list of 1923 Concours Lépine silver medallists could help... (For sure, I made a search for a patent registered by an inventor named Bourdin, but found nothing).

Jan 31, 2013

Cool nose flute in Pueblo, Colorado

A shakey but interesting video, of Susy Bogguss — a Country female singer — on stage in Pueblo (Colorado), with a guest musician. The guest is a funny fellow, Brent Ritter, local vocalist of the Pueblo Municipal Band, and serious nose flute player.
I don't see well, but I guess he does not play a plastic Humanatone, but probably a vintage metal one. You can see from 1'15" that the singer has to stop singing because she laughs. Cool nose flute solo from 2'56".

Wooden Nose Flute Color Chart

An unusual work on the bench by RON, the ceramic nose flute maker presented in this post. Here, it is no less that 39 wooden hanabue "in progress", displayed like a color chart. Quite impressive! [from Yoshihiro Sawada Facebook page]

Jan 30, 2013

Jean Dubuffet, one of us!

Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) was a great painter and sculptor. He was the inventor of the "Art brut" ("raw art"). He approached the surrealist group, became member of the College of 'Pataphysique.

« Dubuffet sought to create an art as free from intellectual concerns as Art Brut, and his work often appears primitive and childlike. Nonetheless, Dubuffet appeared to be quite erudite when it came to writing about his own work. » (wiki)

« Spinning Round » (1961) [Tate Gallery, London]:

Jardin d'Email, Otterlo, Netherlands:

« In late 1960–1961, Dubuffet began experimenting with music and sound and made several recordings with the Danish painter Asger Jorn, a founding member of the avant-garde movement COBRA. »

Indeed, he recorded several albums of "Experiences musicales" or "Musique chauve" ("bald music"), using many different instruments (You can listen to his experimental music here)

A picture of 1961, by Jean Weber, and the cover of Dubuffet's musical work:


Jean Weber made also a great picture of Jean Dubuffet playing his nose flute!

At first glance, I thought it was a Humanatone. Jean Dubuffet had an agent in the USA, and travelled to America very soon. So, the flute could have been bought there.

In a book published by the Dubuffet's Foundation, one can see the Weber's photograph, with a caption: « Jean Dubuffet playing a nasal flute (or narinette), Paris, 1961. » :

Was there a nose flute called Narinette? No no no. This name is the result of a double mistake!!

Indeed, there was an instrument called Varinette, with a V. The Varinette was a "double kazoo" (2 vibrating membranes) invented in 1919 by the Abbe Jules-Ernest Varin.

How may I be so sure of the confusion Narinette/Varinette and why a double mistake?

Because I found a footage. In 1961, Terre des Arts, a french TV program dedicated to arts, broadcast a documentary about Jean Dubuffet. A part of it focuses on Dubuffet and music, and the artist presents the intruments used for his recordings with Asger Jorn. Dubuffet shows and plays his nose flute! But you will hear at the very beginning of the 10 seconds footage that he clearly pronounces Varinette and not Narinette.

So, Dubuffet made the first mistake, calling Varinette his nose flute (confusing with the double kazoo), and then, the book author made the second one, transcribing Narinette with a N. Indeed, « narine » means « nostril » in French, and Narinette could have made a funny name for a nose flute...

Short, but wonderful, isn't it?

So, what nose flute is played by Dubuffet? In the footage, one can clearly see the instrument straight heel, and it makes no doubt that Dubuffet's nose flute was the french Ocariflute! The instrument looks already "vintage" and a bit rusty: it is already 35 years old or so.

I propose Jean Dubuffet for Honorary Degree in the Nose Flute Hall of Fame (Performers section)

Jan 29, 2013

Happy birthday Mr. Bocarina!

Happy Birthday Mr. Schuermans! You did a great job with the Bocarina design and you are a gentleman. I'm lucky to be your friend. The nose flute side of the world owes you one! What could we wish you? More and more success in your productions, new inventions and designs, and for sure great and sweet moments in your personal life.

The Nosy Diva sent her own addition:

Today is Chris Schuerman's birthday and in addition to wishing happiness, health and wealth I would like to say a few words in addition.

I would like to thank you, Chris, for having invented this instrument. It makes nose flute player's life much easier. The great playability and beautiful sound have convinced me from the very first note.
Teaching is fun also, almost everybody succeeded producing a sound or melody. I do not want to make this look like an advertisment but I just would like to say that it is the merit of Chris Schuermans to have invented a noseflute which is easily acessible for almost everyone and thus a possible democatization of noseflute playing. It is a high class instrument yet it costs very little - a Ferrari at the price of a Volkswagen :0)
Thanks for that and have a great day, and all the inspiration and luck you need for creating new inventons, I a very curious what will be next!
With musical greetings to you, Chris, and the nosefluting world,

The Nosy Diva

Jan 28, 2013

Yet Another German Nasenflöte!

Donnerwetter! Another mistake! Well, let's be positive: another mistake corrected!

I thought that the metal Nasenflöte that was advertised in (almost) any german catalogue in the 1920-1930's was the one made by PaBru, the Paul Brunner's company in Brunndöbra.

The omnipresent no-name german metal noseflute and the Paul Brunner's one:

The no-name german Nasenflöte:

But if you look well at both engravings, you'll see the shape is not the same, particularly for the airway cap and the nose shield.

It could have been a drawing artefact. But I found a record of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a german nose flute. There is no picture, but the record says the instrument is in metal and dates of before 1941.

Much more, the description says:

Donnerwetter (again)! The "water pump" was the PaBru trademark! The exact mark that appears of the Fanfare instrument as on the flutes and kazoos, playing with the rebus around Brunner: Brunnen means well, spring, fountain in German.

So, there was "another" german nose flute, stamped with a "water pump" and made by PaBru. The question remains to find who produced the no-name german flute, and where... Klingental district too?

Jan 27, 2013

Mister Swing - little addition

As we were posting, two days ago, the articles about Hans-Christian Klüver, an interview with Mister Swing by Maren-Britt Dahlke was published on

> Read Ein Gespräch mit ... Hans Christian Klüver alias Mr. Swing

And since was named, we can't resist the pleasure to publish the passage dealing with the nose flute:

That is:

Mr. Swing is also known for his nose flute playing
The noseflute is a rather exotic instrument - it originates from the indios- and I personally know almost nobody who plays it, but my focus is the music and not the sensation. A french blogger found me on youtube and is so thrilled by my noseflute playing that he posts about me regularly ( And this is spreading more and more.

(Thanks to Miss Birdy K. for the translation)

Videos about the Coelho No. 25

Here are two videos about the Fábrica de Pios de Aves Maurilio Coelho's bird whistles.

The first one shows Fabio Coelho presenting the pio No. 25 as a bird call, but also as a musical instrument:

In the second one, beginning with a #25 whistling, Fabio presents the whole collection. The #25 reappears at 1'18"