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.

Nov 11, 2016

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

This morning turned very sad when I learned the passing of our beloved Leonard Cohen. Up to then, he was the *only* living member of the Nose Flute Hall of Fame. Finally, yesterday, he decided to quit his constant infringement and to comply with the NFHoF rules.

Leonard had been inducted for the last notes of Tonight Will Be Fine (Songs From A Room (1969)), clumsily played at the nose flute.

So long, Leonard...

Aug 9, 2016

Happy Birthday NoseFlute.Org!

Five years ago, on August the 9th, 2011, I launched this blog with an inaugural post, including a first nose flute video made in Athens, Greece. Since then, NoseFlute.Org had ups and downs (long mute periods), but but got richer of no less than 755 posts, and more than 245,000 page views!

I want to thank all of you who come to visit the blog from time to time, or more often, from any part of the big big world! Some of you are particularly active, posting comments or sending pictures or videos, making this blog a vivid place of discussion. Other are more reserved, but loyal and faithful.

I also want to thank all the nose flute builders, makers, inventors, craftsmen... amateurs or professional, for the joy and innovation they provide with their creations: they provide delicious food for the blog.

No more blah blah, Happy Birthday NFOrg!

Aug 7, 2016

Happy Nose Day!

Today is the Nose Day in Japan! As explained earlier, August the 7th, alias 8/7 is pronounced 'hachi/nana'. And as a Japanese kinda rebus, keeping the first syllabs only brings 'ha-na', which is pronounced exactly as 'the nose' (鼻, 'Hana'). Happy Nose Day!

Aug 2, 2016

Objects of the Forest, by Andrea Bandoni

Spotted by Mirko Stagnaro on designboom, a PDF book by the Brazilian designer Andrea Bandoni de Oliveira, published in 2012. Objetos Da Floresta/Objects of the Forest is « an ebook that presents a selection of useful items found in the amazon ». This book is downloadable for free in English or in Portuguese from that page.

Paper copies are also available from this page.

In the book, seven pages are dedicated to Amazonian forest whistles, and for sure, the nose flute has not been forgotten, it even feature on the 'apitos' section cover:

The last page also provides a link to a demo video, and the nose flute part starts at 3'02"

Jul 28, 2016

Custom 3D printed Nose Flutes

Some weeks after we posted an article about the chronology in nose flute 3D printing (check here), our friend and great whistle collector Piet Visser sent us a link to a new nose flute model on In this Jun 9, 2016 entry, the author Samwell_II has redesigned (improved) the original model by Markbrocklebank, and explains:

Kind of a long process. I made one of these a while back and aside from a few problems with my old worn out print bed, everything worked great.

A few months later, I decided to make these for a family reunion. I wanted to put text on it along with a hole for a necklace or lanyard or anything like that, so I actually redesigned the whole thing. I opened the .STL in solidworks and simply remade it based on what I saw there and the measurements I got from the one I already printed. It took a couple revisions but I got a functional design and duplicated it so that it made me 6 at a time and printed out 30 or so. Overall, very happy with the design and I am very glad that someone else already made one.

Indeed, Samwell printed a nice bunch of nose flutes. Here they are, with his 3D printing machine (pictures © by Samwell P.):

So... I contacted Samwell, and asked if he'd wanted to make and sell me some samples. He kindly accepted for a very modest price, and even proposed to customize the flutes with '' instead of the original '2016' logo. The process took some time, and a little adventure happened, while the machine run out of red ABS wire: in the following flutes, the two red ones are unfinished, yet work and sound as the complete ones.

The model design follows the shape of the wooden 'vietnamese production' type, and thus doesn't yet get the whole benefits offered by 3D printing. I mean, it took a (short) time to create new and specific designs for houses built in concrete: the first reflex was to copy shapes born from the use of bricks or stones. It is only after a little while, that architects understood how to express the "reality" and the essence of concrete, designing long windows and modeling shapes as they would have done with clay. Here, the 3D printed flutes repeat a typical nose flute design which came out from wood working, while they could have (they will, in the future) gotten the full advantage of the new tech. On that very point, these flutes are obviously early 'witnesses' of a production mean that just began.

At first, when I received the flute, I was very disappointed: I was not able to produce any sound from them. I thought it was because the airway was too thick... But finally, I got able to play the little red ones. And finally understood what was going wrong. It was my mouth position. I know how to toot nose flutes, including the Vietnamese type, but the problem was due to size of my 3D printed new babies! I adapted (placing my bottom lip much upper and against the back of the mouth shield, and any of them worked fine :) Indeed, these flutes are children sized.

Now, on the sound side, these ABS flutes are not convincing. Not because of the design, not because of a lack of care in the making (contrarywise, Samwell did a great job), but because of the limitations of the home-made 3D printing. Remember the time of the first inkjet printers that you could have on your desktop... The images produced then were rather blurry and inaccurate, compared to the fine photo quality they achieve now. It is the same for 3D printers. If you except professional ones, the detail granularity is not fine enough to build a correct labium, which has to be hard, sharp and precise. So, these flutes work, but they aren't great instruments. I would compare their quality to the current Humanatone production.


I want to thank warmly Samwell P., who very kindly and generously accepted my request and worked finely and quickly. Greetings to Murray, Utah.

Jul 23, 2016

Selfie with Uke Master Will Grove-White

NoseFlute.Org was honoured by the visit of Mr. Will Grove-White (and family), respectable member of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) and reknowned nose flute enthousiast! Very proud of this unmerited honour, associated with the incomparable Nosy Diva to take a fluty selfie with Will's pair of young bodyguards, in front of the Neptune fountain (Nancy, France).

Then at the Wallet Instant Wallet Nose Flute, at the Snoot Flute, and at the Numero 9, my koa uke built by master Gérard Guasch:

Jul 19, 2016

The Beautiful Work of Marco Stagnaro (Mirko)

Marco Stagnaro, a.k.a. Mirko, is an italian hunter from Sestri Levante (Genova), who practices the Ars Venandi, 'La caccia con il chioccolo': hunting with bird calls. He even wrote a huge book (700p) on the topic ('U và cun à ciocciua - La caccia con il chioccolo'), and publishes many videos (check here).

I am not interested in hunting (I even have personal reasons to dislike it), but I like bird calls. Marco Stagnaro builds himself his 'chioccoli', and they are as beautiful as some are complex or creative.

Mirko began to build them in 1990, as a hobby, with passion. Among them stands the 'RM61', a multi-sound instrument, on the base of a brass nose flute. The whistle can imitate the little owl, the long-eared and the tawny owls, the black bird, the jay, the buzzard and even shrill meowings!

From Mirko's description (automatic translation from Italian):

« The idea is born from studying the use of nasal flute. Continuing always the search of being able to do more sounds (imitation) to attract animals without the use of the hands. (...) The tool that I present today to you (RM 61) is composed of: the flute where nasal breath performs very well the sound of the owl, the chioccolo connected to the nasal flute and the owl in the vicinity of the nozzle of the chioccolo. Everything is held tight to the mouth and the nose by a rubber band.
05/18/2015 »

Now, look at this sophisticated beauty…

All pictures by Marco Stagnaro, all rights reserved:

All Mirko's creations are unique and numbered, not for sale (Alas..!)

Jul 15, 2016

Intergalactic Nose Flute

Just the mention of a nose flute, flagged by our friend UkeVal, in a Sci-Fi book. But not any book: Space Opera by Jack Vance, in 1965. The story deals with an intergalactic orchestra performing operas on different planets.

Chapter VII:

« … banjo, harmonica, washboard, kazoo, tub-bass, jug, and occasionally a nose-flute.»

This list of instruments played in the Tough Luck Jug Band sounds like a depiction of Jack Vance & friends own arsenal! Indeed, Jack Vance was famous for strumming the banjo, the ukulele and humming the kazoo. Was he also an "occasional" noseflautist ?

Jack Vance with his friend Terry Dowling, another Sci-Fi famous author!:

The french translator for 'Press Pocket' publishing, Mrs. Ariette Rosenblum, wrote a rather stupid comment in the foot notes:

« … the nose flute: blown through the nostrils of the nose regarded as an instrument »


But I found other occurences of a nose flute in Jack Vance's work. In 1969, in Servants of the Wankh, then renamed The Wannek beacause the original title was very comical for British people, the nose flute may be a traditional one...

… but this passage of Ecce and the Old Earth (1991) clearly depicts a modern nose flute, as we cannot imagine playing bagpipes along with a traditional nose flute (unless you have four arms, which is rather uncommon, even in Sci-Fi novels :) :

The nose flute appearing in Night Lamp (1996) may also be from a urban type: isn't the "bat vampire look" a clue for it?

Here is what can be read in the SF Encyclopedia (entry 'Music'):


To be noted: In Dr. Bloodmoney or How We Got Along After the Bomb (1965), Philip K. Dick invented a mutant rat playing the (tradi.) nose flute!

From the blog Death Robots from Mars:

Excerpt from the Philip K. Dick book:


Addendum by Don Luis (from the comments):

« Sandra McDonald mentions nose flutes in a short novel: Fleet - A Transgender Sci Fi story »

But I guess those are traditional ones, since the story deals with Philippines speaking the Tagalog:

Jul 13, 2016

Back on the restored Humanatone

Now that we have restored that vintage Humanatone (see here), let's take a look at it.

Well, the nose flute itself shows no particularity. It's a classic tin Humanatone, with the (half) pear shape flaps (which I think to be the latest version), and very light and barely readable stampings, that I believe to be rather early. So — I may be wrong – I would date it from the early 1920s or even a bit before.

In comparison, here are what I call strong and visible stampings (from the 30s?):

But what is interesting is the box itself. I had seen no such box before this catch, although I have got two samples of soft boxes that show similarities... Before to reshape and reglue the box, I cared to make a scan.

The first one is from an early Humanatone. This box is rather different that today's one: the volume is not the same, the 'brick' is less flat. The drawings and typographics are simpler. More, the nose flute is different: it was an earlier version, with rectangular flaps, the rounded air cover, the mention "other patents pending" and the name 'Humanatone' in between the two words 'Trade' and 'Mark'.

The other one is very similar to today's box, almost identical. The nose flute itself is a carbon copy of the one I just restored: same flaps, same stampings, same everythings.

So, the instruments and the boxes are very similar, and should date of the same period of time, and later than the simpler thick box, which is probably from the 1910s. But besides the difference of color, there are some interesting details that differ. Now, when I remount the parts of the red box as the restored one:

Every single details are similar, shape, size, typographics, drawings, texts... excepted for five of them. Three are of no specific interest…

1.- The color (the red box is printed 'negatively')
2.- The typographics of the mention "Open on this end" on the lateral flaps
3.- The not printed stripes on the flaps (helpful for the printer?)

… but the two others bring more fun:

4.- The restored box relates to an 'Improved O" model, while the red one is for a "Style O"

Well... what can be an improvement on the restored flute? It is probably the pear-shaped flaps and maybe the marked plane of the air cover (I do not see any other possibilities). But the flute from the red box also has the same feature. Indeed, I suppose that the model became "Improved O" at the beginning of the use of pear flaps, then the denomination came back to the simple "Style O", like it was before on earlier models. It's like the "new taste" or "new formula" mentions on food or cosmetic products: they disappear after a while, when the novelty has become normal and regular.
If I'm right, the fancy red one is later than the ecru one. So should be the nose flutes themselves, but anyway, the instruments are strictly identical.

Last difference:

5.- The small logo printed on one flap of the restored box

I found some info about the Bogota Folding Paper Box Co. Bogota is a New Jersey city, and it seems that it was specialized in paper industry.

Excerpt of the Industrial Directory of New Jersey - 1918:

Unfortunately, the 'Bogota Folding Paper Box Co.' mention appears in the city directories from 1902 to 1922 and we are not much helped in dating this Humanatone. Well, at least, we know it was made prior 1922.

Last info (from this site): « All of Bogota’s paper mills had one feature we would be proud of today. The major “furnish” (the raw material from which the new paper product was made) was waste paper materials. Perhaps the rest of the country did not take recycling seriously until the 1990′s but in Bogota we were serious about recycling in the 1890′s. »

Indeed, our box looks made of recycled paper, but not the red one (which doesn't wear the B.F.P.B. Co. logo)