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 16, 2013

A Czech talented nose flute hope!

A new video from Czech origin, by Kamila Uherkova, in which she plays Mozart Adagio as a duet piano/nose flute (is it a Swan?). It's a work-in-progress recording and all is not perfect yet, but this difficult performance is very promising and full of potentiality. Our greatest encouragements!

Feb 15, 2013

Humanatones in the U.S. Navy during WWII

We were already aware of American soldiers playing nose flute during the WWII. Indeed, one of the first Humanatone box was especially dedicated to the Boys.

Even the famous harmonicist Larry Adler had taken the opportunity of a radio broadcast to ask for sending harmonicas and nose flutes to the fighting forces (check this post).

I just found a simple testimony that these nose flutes were really played! Indeed, in the Fighting Squadron VF-9 history report, we can read that nose flute was played during free time

Fortunately, the file was declassified :)

Feb 14, 2013

Another gravel in the wall

Just a little ad published in the Washington Post (1912/11/5), proving there was a Humanatone store in this city.

Love Flute, by Takamura

Today is Valentine, and Mr. Akio Takamura has especially shaped a pair of nose flutes for lovers!

Feb 13, 2013

Brent Ritter, singer, comedian and nose flutist

Last month, published a video shot at the Damon Runyon Repertory theater in Pueblo (CO), featuring Susy Bogguss and her band, plus a nice fellow nose flutist: Mr. Brent Ritter (please check this post).

Brent Ritter is a serious nose flute player, and a funny fellow. I wanted to know more about him and his playing, and with the help of people from the Pueblo Municipal Band and the Damon Runyon Repertory theater, I was able to reach Brent (he has no internet access). Thanks to the anonymous people who helped us getting in touch.

Brent sent me a long hand written letter (PDF:) with pictures, and answered all my questions.

- Please could you tell us who you are, what is your musical background?

« I am primarily a vocalist, but I derive great pleasure from playing my "vintage metal Humanatone". I was trained as an operatic baritone at the University of Texas at Dallas, in 1978 thru 1979, in Richardson, Texas. In 1979, I was accepted to study in Graz, Austria under the auspices of the American Institute of Musical Studies, based in Dallas. Having been unsuccessful in my quest to secure a position in a German or Austrian opera house, I returned to America, settling in Pueblo, Colorado.

- How and when did you discover the nose flute existence? When did you begin to play it? What is your instrument ? (on the video I guess it is a vintage metal Humanatone, but cannot see well...)

« I was shopping at a local antique store in late 1985, when I spied my Humanatone. I am afraid I took advantage of the proprietor and paid just over $5.00, as he had no idea what it was. I, however knew exactly what it was, having had a plastic one I bought at a music store.

- What do you especially appreciate in nosefluting?

« The main thing I appreciate about nose fluting is the fact that any tune one can whistle, one can play on the flute. Your repertoire is limited only by your knowledge of music. It is also easy to improvise if you have a knowledge of Jazz or Dixieland styles.

- Could you tell more about the Pueblo Municipal Band?

« I have performed on my flute with the Pueblo Municipal Band in my capacity as their vocalist. The band is enjoying its 100th year of existence this year. We perform an 8-week season each summer of free concerts at a local community college. Attendance at these concerts is very good. If you should find yourself in Pueblo on a Sunday evening during June, please come and hear us.

- Do you perform regularly ?

« I perform plays and musicals with the Damon Runyon Repertory Theater. I also am Music Director at the Wesley United Methodist Church; and I am called upon frequently to sing funeral services for local mortuaries.

- Could you tell us some anecdote that happened to you with your nose flute?

« When I first purchased my flute, the coating was worn off and I was getting a rash from the bare tin, so I took it to a music store in Denver that features instrument repair and had it re-plated with silver. Next door was an antique shop. That is where I found another vintage metal flute. I have opted to keep it in its original worn condition, but rest assured, it plays just as sweetly as its mate.

- Do you have some recordings and/or videos of your nose fluting?

« Unfortunately, I have no recordings to speak of, but would try to make one for you if you wish.

- Any fact, remark, story, or archive element you would add to this little interview would be welcome.

« I was a member of the U.S. Air Force from 1967 to 1974, working first as a baritone horn player with the Lackland AFB Band in San Antonio, TX, then 2 years as an aircraft mechanic at McChord AFB, Tacoma, Washington. WHile at McChrod, I entered the 1971 Air force Annual Talent Contest as a pop vocalist, winning the base-level, command-level, and worldwide contests. I repeated my worldwide win in 1972 and finished my Air Force career as the vocalist with the 539th AF Band at McChord. While at the 1971 contest at Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California, I was chosen to represent the Air Force on The Merv Griffin show in Los Angeles, singing the tune I won with: "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life".

« My favorite roles are as "Tevye" in "Fiddler on the Roof", "Tony Esposito" in "The Most Happy Fella", and Charlie Anderson" in "Shenandoah".

« Thank you again for your interest in my story. I am extremely flattered and very surprised that someone from so far away is aware of the joys of nosefluting. I had no idea that anyone else in the world knew about this very obscure instrument. »

Warmest regards,


Thanks a lot to you, Brent! And be sure you're not alone in the world, enjoying nosefluting...

Feb 12, 2013

Welcome to!

Hello, you are here because you scanned the QR Code with your cell phone.
Be welcome!

Feel free
to share or print

this QR Code! is a non-commercial blog totally dedicated to an unfairly undervalued instrument. 

Here, we publish, almost daily, news and videos from all the world, instrument reviews and technical or historic researches. All dedicated to nose flutes.

OK, but what is a nose flute? The best answer lays in these videos:

As you can see, the nose flute is a versatile instrument, able to play complex rhythms and melodies, according to the player's talent.

It's a funny, easy to begin with, pocket size and cheaply priced companion. You can find them at online resellers, at auction bays, etc.

Since the 1900's, many models were produced, in metal, wood, plastic, clay, ...
Please, check our side menu to discover the nose flute world. 
Any questions?
Don't hesitate to send us a mail!

Mambo Italiano

A joyful and groovy mambo – yet played with maestria – originally recorded by Rosemary Clooney then Dean Martin. Mister Swing shows all his talent and energy here, with a beautiful black'n'white video. To be listened at in a loop!

Fly me to the Moon

Fly Me to the Moon, with a guitar, a transverse flute... and sensei Mosurin. It begins slowly, then accelerate and gets more complex.Another masterpiece!

Feb 11, 2013

Froby user manual

Our friend Piet Visser found the original packaging of his Froby. He already shared with us a picture while the flute was unwrapped, but with these new scans, we can enjoy the text and drawings of the user manual, and learn abit more about the instrument. Thank you Piet!

Here is the translation:

Blowing, it's playing

The mouth is only used as a sounding cage and modulates the melody while opening more or less the lips. Place carefully opening A of the «Froby»® while pressing it under the nostrils in order to exploit a maximum of air. Place the base of the «Froby»® so the opening B gets at the same level than the mouth. The lower lip must be applied under this opening B.

Well, there is not much to be surprised with the user manual text. It is rather badly written (even a spelling mistake in "résonnance" which should get only one "n"), and does not explain the player must not blow air from the mouth. It is not said that air is blown through the nose! OK, the large drawing shows the air flows, but I doubt that a customer not aware of nose fluting was able to get quickly the right trick...

But two things got my attention. First, the symbol ® follows the brand name and thus, the name Froby should be registered in some database...

Then, at the lower left corner, one can read « Production TWE Paris ». This means that, despite a spanish patent, Froby was a French product!

I have not been able yet to find more about TWE.

There is also a codabar, and I have a little scanner on my mobile phone. But, for sure, there is noboby answering... but I sent a e-mail to the organism that manages codabars in order to ask for archives...

Feb 10, 2013

20 Frobies on stage!

Here is a great (but quite stupid) french TV video archive: 20 Frobies on stage!

On Dec. 6, 1987, as every Sundays, was broadcast the program Le Monde est à Vous ("The World is Yours"), presented by Jacques Martin, the same emcee that had already introduced Mr. Bourdin and is Narinophone/Ocariflute 5 years earlier, in 1982.

This time, Mr. Martin welcomed Les Petits Ecoliers Chantant de Bondy (The Little Singing Pupils of Bondy), a children chorale founded in 1945. Any of these 18 children had a Froby around the neck. With the nose flute of their leader "Moulinot" and the one offered to the presenter... that was a total of 20 Frobies!

No doubt on that, they were Frobies, and you can recognize them by the two long "wings" spread on each side of the nose.

Here is a transcription of what was said, because it gives some information:

— And now, an unusual show! A weird instrument, a new instrument is born, Sound the pipes, Let the trumpets play, and this instrument, as you gonna see, is played with the nose! Yes, it's one of the rare instruments, it's even the only one as far as I know, which is played with the nose. And to illustrate this instrument, the baptism of this instrument, we're going to listen to Moulinot and eighteen children of the Bondy's chorale, who will interpretate, obviously, Siffle-nez [Whistle-nose]. Please, children of Bondy, the stage is yours!

I won't transpose the whole song, but it's called Sifflenez, and was apparently especially written to launch Froby, which is also called Siffle-Nez in this show. All the lyrics deal about the different noses around the world, the magic whistle, the hapiness whistle, and exhort the people of the world to become "siffle-nez".


Quelle que soit la couleur de votre nez, nez-skimo, nez-cossais,
Mon sifflet magique vous fera danser, siffler, siffler

Tous les nez du monde pourront se parler, nez-grillon, nez-palais,
Même les nouveaux nez sauront faire siffler leur p'tit bout d'nez
Du pôle Nord à l'Equateur
C'est le sifflet du bonheur


Et si tous les enfants du monde entier devenaient siffle-nez
Ça f'rait rigoler l'univers entier, quel pied de nez,
Du pôle Nord à l'Equateur
C'est le sifflet du bonheur

— Thank you. As a world premiere, the Children of Bondy just presented this weird instrument to you, which is called the ..
— The Siffle-Nez
— The Siffle-Nez! So, is it really possible to play it?
— It's a good question
— Give me a note... to check...

[The presenter plays the Froby]

— Done! Have fun with that, children, it won't hurt and it's less hazardous that smoking cigarettes! Let's applaud loudly the Children of Bondy, Thank you sir!

[Then, the presenter sends his froby to another guest, while saying "for your little daughter, not for the daddy"]

Here is the footage:

Apparently, a 45rpm was issued (with or without the Children chorale??).

Now, there are several interesting facts to point out here. First, all the Frobies are fluo green, and I suppose that if there had been different colors available, in such a motley group, they would have chosen to spread the whole range.

Then, this video is dating of Dec. 1987, and it seems to be the "official" launching of Froby (Mr. Martin speaks about "world premiere", "baptism", ...). This could be an help in chronology. Let's draw it in 2 points:

1987-12-06: Froby's launched on french TV
1988-03-07: the Papeleria Informal files its patent for... Flapi!

Was the Flapi born *after* the Froby, contrariwise to what I thought? Or is it just due to a long delay to "build" the patent (with lawyers, and so...). Whatever the answer is, it is now ascertained that both Flapi and Froby were launched in a very short lap of time. Flapi might have been a first version immediately followed by an "international" one, Froby.


For sure, I have contacted the Les Petits Ecoliers Chantant de Bondy to ask them if they still had some Siffle-Nez in their drawers, or even if some ex-singing-children (they should 31-33 years old, now) had kept the Froby, would sell it... I got a gentle answer by the current curator, but for now, no other news.

I also think I have found again "Moulinot". After some meticulous researches, I believe he is the french comedian-musician-director Philippe Cotten, also called "Phillipe Cotten dit Moulinot". I'm currently trying to get in contact with him.


As condescendant and over-playing he was, Jacques Martin has been (AFAIK) the only french TV presenter to introduce nose flutes on the screen. He did twice, in 1982 and here in 1987.
For this reason, I would like to propose him to the Nose Flute Hall of Fame, as simple member in the Promoters section. Please, give your opinion in the comments section.