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 9, 2014

An Original Couchois

I recently had the great luck to acquire an original Garrett John Couchois' whistle (read: a nose flute). We previously posted an article about this beautiful baby, which (real) existence was not ascertained yet, besides the Couchois' patent. We had made researches about uts inventor (check here please). We had even built a replica (check here, here and here please).

But now, thanks to Mr. Brian B., we have one in our hand, and in a very nice condition! Take a look at that beauty!

It is stamped PAT. ALLOWED 1899, which perfectly corresponds to the Couchois patent No. US31,876, registered Nov. 21, 1899. Indeed, the Couchois' nose flute is the 2nd urban nose flute in history, following Carter's Nasalette [1892] (and from which it flattens the nose hood into a nose saddle and rounds the square mouth tube), and before the Magic Nose Flute [±1902], which will improve the Couchois with a mouth shield instead of the mouth tube.

Coincidentally, and by a curious chance, Mr. Brad G. very recently posted a comment on this blog to tell he had found a Couchois too. He kindly sent us a couple of phot, and yes, it is absolutely the same instrument, despite the repair Brad's nose flute got at the neck :

As you can see, it had been necessary to weld solidly the saddle and the neck. Indeed, mine shows frailty at the same point, and I suppose there was a real weakness at this point, as I had noticed with the difficult welding I had to make on the replica.

Brad wrote me: « On the front of the air tube is a patent date that says "PAT. 189" due to the repair the full date is unreadable as is another word that follows "PAT. that starts with "AL ».
This is interesting, because if you look on mine, a repair would have not make disappear the same part of the stampings, and so, we can state that, contrarywise to a Humanatone for instance, the stampings were made by hand (sometimes one way, sometimes the other...)

Now, was I right with my replica and the corrections I made on the inconsistent patent drawings? Well, I must say I was not totally wrong... but my replica is a bit taller, the mouth hole that I reduced was a wrong interpretation, and following the size of the air entrance deduced by the patent was a mistake (since it got wider in the poduction).

But Couchois' drawings wre not accurate neither, compared to the real nose flute. So, I don't really feel guilty :)

And big thanks to Brad G. for sharing your pictures, and if your have other public (or not!) performances, please try to have someone to shoot a video!


Aug 7, 2014

Nose Day! - The Ass and the Flute

Summer... Holidays... and more: Today is the (Japanese) Nose Day! (see this post). So, I decided to allow myself to publish an almost off-topic post. Off-topic, because the finger holes on the flute in the illustrations. But the poem does not mention those holes.

Today, I want to present an old poem, written in 1792 by the french poet Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1755-1794). It is called « L'Ane et la Flûte » (The Ass and the Flute).

The text says (with more art than in my translation...)

The Ass & The Flute

Fools are a great people,
Finding all things easy:
It must be acknowledged, often they are happy;
Great reason to believe they are clever.
A donkey grazing in its thistles,
Was watching a swain playing under the foliage,
A flute which sweet sounds
Were attracting and charming the shepherds of the grove.
This unhappy donkey said: this world is crazy!
There they are all, gaping mouth,
Enjoying a great fool who torments himself and sweats
Blowing into a small hole.
It is through such efforts that we manage to please them
While I ... stop ... let us go from here,
Because I feel too much angry.
Our ass, thus reasoning,
Goes ahead a few steps, when on the fern
A flute, forgotten in these country areas
By any swain in love
Is found under his feet. Our donkey straightens up,
On her side sets her two big eyes;
One ear forward, slowly lowers herself,
Applies his nostril on the poor instrument,
And breathes as strong as she can. Oh! Amazing coincidence!
A pleasant sound comes out of it...
The donkey feels her great talent
And joyfully shouts while tumbling:
Eh! I can play the flute too!

Since L'Ane et la Flute was the first French poem mentioning nosefluting, I propose Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian — who seemed to have had a rather prominent nose — to the Nose Flute Hall of Fame, Promoters section.

Aug 5, 2014

Afro-American Humanatone Artist in 1944

I found this interesting paper in the Californian Eagle, Feb. 10, 1944, and felt a bit bizarre while reading things like "Mr. Vallier is the only member of the race" or "Brave Heroin of our Race"... Times have changed, fortunately (well, we hope so). Anyway, the Californian Eagle was an Afro-American made and dedicated, based in Los Angeles.

Reading this article, it seems that Mr. Joseph T. Vallier was a real Humanatone afficionado. We also learn that he had worked with Cornelius Coleridge « Dick » Campbell, who was a key figure in black theater during the Harlem Renaissance.

We already know another "Humanatonist" who was programmed on Radio: Mr. Ray C. Clarke.

Aug 4, 2014

Pic of the Day

Just a great and funny picture by Mr. Herman Vandecauter, at the harvest festivities, Ellezelles, Belgium. The nose flute is a vintage Schwan.

Aug 3, 2014

Canadian Gizmo!

Our Canadian friend Jean-François Lapierre has build a gizmo for his Bocarina, in order for it to fit a mouth-harp holder, and be able to sing and blow the flute. He named it a Boc-Rack! A wood block and an angled metal piece. Simple to build, and efficient!

He also made a video:



Miss Mary-Anne Mc T. just made her own one (Just a bit more elegant, I must say...:)

Pictures ©Mary-Anne Mc T.