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 14, 2014

Homemade nose flute by Steven Parkes

Steven Parkes is a British citizen and has been a nose flute fan since he got his first in the late 50's, from a mail-order company called Ellisdon's. His story is typical and touching:

« Of course, by its delicate nature, it soon got broken and I used to think how good it would be to make my own, strong version out of metal and wood, though it was completely beyond my abilities to turn my vague, childhood dream into a tangible reality.
Many years later - in the 1980s - I spotted a red, plastic 'humanatone' in a music-shop window. A different model to my earlier one, and much flimsier and more delicate, too! I entertained my children with it for a short time, but then, it too got broken into many pieces! Devastated, I tried desperately to save it by sellotaping the pieces together, but it was no use! Once again, my noseflute-playing days were over, as the shop no longer stocked any more of them.

Then... came the internet! And Steven discovered different nose flutes, in plastci, metal or wood. He was particularly impressed with the models made by Martin and Martina Sommer in Berlin (see this topic)

« I like the fact that their air-duct is round-sided and so is their sound-hole. I am not proficient with a sharp chisel, so I would be able to make my own, similar noseflute using drills and half-round files instead. »

And Steven began the re-design and the making of his own wooden nose flute, accompanied with interesting technical and practical thoughts.

« Their design starts with a routed-out, U-shaped length of wood, however, and I couldn't copy that, so I had to come up with an alternative idea. That's when I thought of the arched fipple-plate, where the sides of the arch would strengthen the whole thing and also protect the delicate labium when carried around in the pocket, much as the Sommers' nasenfloten have their raised sides to protect their sound hole.
I made my first prototype out of a leftover piece of soft, pinewood - not an ideal material, but all I had available at the time.

Steven took snapshots during themaking and sent them to us, for our greatest pleasure! Here are some of them:

The basic parts and the "venturi effect" air duct:
The final instrument, after sanding :

Steven made a great job there! Welcome to the small world of the nose flute crafters! And that's not all, folks! : Mr. Parkes also made a test video, playing notably... the french national anthem :).
Here it is, with my respectuous greetings to our new collegue!

Thank you Steven!

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