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.

Aug 2, 2014

RON, an Ergonomic Approach - Part III

Sequel of the posts RON, an Ergonomic Approach - Part I and Part II

6 - Clay Fat Cat Hanabue No. 511

Based on the same functional shapes than the ones used for the simple tile clay nose flutes, Yoshihiro Sawada has begun to model hanabue with different frontal look, notably fat cats flutes, like this great and funny No. 511:

Nothing more to add, since the technical aspects are the same than for the tile nose flutes. But take a look at this beautiful shadow!:

7 - Clay Double Hanabue No. 517

This is a very interesting innovation, a double nose flute. No, it is not intended to be played by a lovers'duo, nor by siamese twins. It is a double-intonation flute.

It is shaped as if it was cut in a bamboo stem, just between two nodes (竹の節 - Take no setsu)! This flute is very long, and is really modeled as if two regular tile-flutes had been merged together by their base. Thus, the two ends are two heads, no bottom.

And why this peculiar disposition? You have already guessed: it's in order to provide a double intonation. Indeed, the two fipples are different, one is smaller than the other and thus, produces a range of tones a bit sharper.

This tall double flute is obviously a bit heavy, but is also made from a thin plate of clay, and can be held with a double cord.

Doesn't it look so Japanese?:



Here are some sound samples I gathered altogether, in order for you to be able to compare. Please, remember that I am a nose flute lover, but I'm not a great player at all... They are just sound samples, not musical tunes.

Sophora wood hanabue:

Translucent rhodoïd hanabue:

Paper Family 1:

Paper Family 1:

Clay hanabue 508:

Clay hanabue L004:

Clay Double - Bass side:

Clay Double - Trebles side:


RON's blog

Mr. Yoshihiro Sawada has invented other shapes, and thus has designed other templates for his cardboard nose flutes. He's used to share his new creations on his blog (, notably the mask series (nose flute covering the entire face), including a beautiful cat!

And if you want to see and hear how the Cat mask looks and sounds, no better ambassador than the master Mosurin himself!:


Dear Mr. Sawada, we will take great care of your beautiful nose flutes, thank you a lot!


Aug 1, 2014

RON, an Ergonomic Approach - Part II

Sequel of the post RON, an Ergonomic Approach - Part I

Let's follow on the unpacking of the collection that Mr. Sawada sent to me!

4 - Wooden Hanabue No. 209

When I wanted to choose one among the available wooden nose flutes, Mr. Sawada sent me a picture showing a 21 hanabue (7x3) disposal: 7 colors (7 woods), each in 3 available sizes. The size was measured between the nose air entrance and then fipple: 18, 21 or 24 mm. Once again: the ergonomic approach!

So, I measured the gap between the base of my nose and my mouth, and choose the 21 mm in sophora wood, the « Pagoda tree » (エンジュ - Enju). This "No. 209" s a pure geometric beauty. The wooden nose flutes made by RON are totally different from the cardboard or the clay ones: they are little geometric sculptures. The outside look is perfectly squared with right angles (well, they are smoothed on the edges, for sure), while the inside is designed with geometric round curves, in order to fit closely the shapes of our face.

The air entrance is a narrow slot very precisely made in a concave conic section, and the fiplle is... tiny. Indeed, it is very narrow (10mm) and the mouth hole is incredibly small (3mm high), definitely orienting the tone range to the trebles. The angle of the labium is rather sharp (somehow 23°), and the fipple itself is also very precisely done.

This model is supplied with a small ring to be hung by a cord around the neck, but has no piercings to pass a rubber for handsfree playing.

The flute has been lightly varnished with a satiny coat which raises up the beauty of the sophora wood and reveals some iridescence (the tint turns from light to dark when you change the incidence of the light)

5 - Clay Hanabue No. 508 and L004

These two nose flutes, which look rather similar, are the RON "signature". Indeed, it is with such tile-shaped clay hanabue, with their very recognizable pair of black eyes, that Yoshihiro Sawada began his production and became renowned.

These nose flutes are very simple, yet nicely made, with a rounded front and a contoured inside. But they are not just "cut from a cylinder": there is a very slight counter-curve on the longitudinal axis, making them more a light "hyperbolic paraboloïd".

The inside contours show two parts, the nose saddle, which is wide and comfortable, and the mouth shield with its oval fipple hole.

Both the fipples a very small — trebles oriented — but one is even smaller (No. 508), particularly in its width, which is 1/3 less long than the L004 one. These fipple are nicely made, and knowing they are so small, it is really appreciable. On the front side, the labium angles appear to be slightly different.

Both these flutes are made with a thin clay plate. They are light and elegant.

Some details :


To be continued!