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.

Jun 4, 2016

Haydn Trumpet Concerto on a Vintage Næse Fløjte

How could I have missed such a masterpiece!?! This Danish video, dating of 2013, is a rarity on several points. First of all, 'næse fløjte' videos from Denmark are rather scarce. But also classical music played with a nose flute, and particularly when the musician uses props like a tuxedo in the vid. "Haydns trompetkoncert på næsehorn" ('Haydn Trumpet Concerto on a Nose Horn' [næsehorn means rhinoceros in Danish]). And even rarer, when the piece is played on a vintage instrument!

Indeed, the title page shows the instrument, and it clearly is a German oldie, with its pair of folded flaps (no rivets). In fact, it is exactly the same instrument than the first German vintage nose flutes I acquired some years ago, from a... Danish antiquarian.

My German vintage Nasenflöten (Paul Brunner's?):
Here is the video, from Hans Wendelboe Bøcher's YT channel:

Jun 3, 2016

Krautrock und Nasenflöte

Pirx is a music duo from Berlin and Cologne (DE), composed of Marion Wörle and Maciej Sledziecki. Describing their music is a bit difficult, as they use as well conventional rock instruments, electronics, noises and 'unconventional' instruments, like musical saw, flutes and percussions. A kind of experimental concrete band, fighting against the idea of structure itself.

In their 2011 album Sie Sind Hier Jetzt (available here), there is a revisited Krautrock tune, called... Unkraut, featuring layers of noisy Nasenflöte.

The German online magazine Taz published an article in which we can read:

« Der Auftaktsong ihres neuen Albums heißt "Electric Sheep" und setzt mit den schon erwähnten Kuhglocken ein, die zu Schafsglocken umfunktioniert werden. Dazu meint man ein Schafsblöken zu hören. Es verwandelt sich im Laufe des Stücks in ein Wechselspiel von Gitarren- und Kazoodrones. Auf die elektrischen Schafe folgt "Unkraut", das Krautrockanleihen mit Nasenflöte kombiniert - nicht nur die Vorstellung dieser Kombination ist kurios. »

that is :

« The opening song of their new album is called "Electric Sheep" and begins with the cow bells already mentioned, converted into sheep bells. More, we are meant to hear a sheep bleat. It changes in the course of the tune into an interplay of guitar and kazoos. After Electric Sheep follows "Unkraut" that combines borrowed Krautrock riffs and Nasenflöte - not only the idea of this combination is curious. »

You can listen to Unkraut here, the nose flute begins at 1'21":

Jun 2, 2016

The Belgian Vociphone as Charity Tool!

Not a very sexy post today, but info about the Vociphone — the Belgian nose flute – is so scarce, that these little archives have to be published here. They are three occurences in the Belgian newspapers of 1914 and 1915.

The first one comes from Le Matin (Jun. 9, 1914), and relates that BEF2.50 (equiv. of €12 / US$13.5 today) have been collected for the League against Tuberculosis, thanks to a Vociphone piece played by M. Guillaume Jordens:

The two other mini archives are excerpts of the Newspaper La Belgique, dated of Aug. 4 and Oct. 10, 1915. Both comes from the same rubric: Petite Correspondance de Charité ('Little Charity Correspondence'), which details the gifts and donation made to the families of soldier of the Ist World War:

« Mrs Cécile's son – he's good little boy who's physiognomony reflects cleverness and kindness – brought me for our soldiers prisoners of war, a nice puzzle game and a Vociphone. In the parcel I found this note: 'For soldier Pierre's family and with the wish my Suzette gets a quick healing'. I shook the hand of my new friend, and I shake it again as to one of my dearest fellow. »

« Big thanks to the 20 of the Alliance street, who had me brought a jacket, two vests, socks, a cap, a blouse, feathers, a Vociphone, tramway tickets, and… pot spoon, or if you prefer, a 'laddle' »

I'm not sure to understand the precautions taken to write 'laddle' in this last sentence. Had it a link to the fact that 'cuiller à pot' was also the nickname for a cutlass ?

Jun 1, 2016

Hum-A-Tune: Another Version!

The Hum-A-Tune was a Humanatone cheap copy made in Hong Kong in the mid to late 1960s. We already published here and here, about the two (packaging) versions we had. Plus the Bulwinkle branded version (see here).

We just found another version. The flute is the same, a low grade plastic Humanatone (not polystyrene like in the Gretsch original version), not "true tremolo" hole, and no stampings beside a reversed "Made in Hong Kong" on the inside of the mouth shield. But aslightly different version of the packaging.

In this version, the red color surrounds a yellow splash, much more flashy! The typo ink as turn from navy blue to black. And again, the whole text has been designed once more. On the back side, the text is now medium blue, while it was almost black in (what I suppose to be) the previous versions.

Let's make a little comparison between them all (1-2-3 or 1-3-2 ?):

May 31, 2016

Jupiter (G. T. Holst), by Mosurin

This is a very unusual piece of the repertoire that sensei Mosurin recorded in a video: Jupiter, from The Planets, by Gustav Theodore Holst. Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was an English composer who get the fame with The Planets. This work is composed of seven movements, one for each planet and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity dates of 1914.

As usual, sensei Mosurin's nose flute is precise, clear as cristal, and the master creates a crescendo in power and sharpness (listen at 1'57"!!), to reach a real summit of pure playing. Really beautiful.

May 30, 2016

Two other shepherd's nose whistles

We have already published several posts about shepherds' whistles, notably about the one we have in our collection, but also about the sheepdogs trials champion Tim Flood, member of the Nose Flute Hall of Fame.

Here are two other shepherd's whistles. The first one was crafted by the late maker Owen Humphreys, Talysarn, Wales, UK (picture #2). The second nose whistle comes from the Lake District, UK.

May 29, 2016

How to craft a wooden nose flute

Hegner GmbH is a German company based in Villingen-Schwenningen (Baden-Württemberg) which produces precision machines for woodwork. To help selling their products, "Hegner TV" regularly publishes videos in which Gerhard Fleig, a cool senior demonstrates how to build this or that, using the Hegner machines. Here is the very interesting last video released, showing how to build a Nasenflöte.

It is funny to notice a poem by the carpenter Gerhard Fleig, added in the video 'description' on the YT channel:

Gebrauchsanweisung zur Nasenflöte

Ein mancher hat gewisse Nöte,
bis er seiner Nasenflöte
einen guten Ton entlockt,
denn anfangs scheint sie wie verstockt.

Geduld heißt deshalb die Dewise,
auf dass die Nasenluft stets fliesse
in das Loch durch’s Labium,
ansonsten bleibt die Flöte stumm.

Damit der Ton klanglich auch rund,
formt man diesen mit dem Mund,
der sich an das Holz anschmiegt,
weil man sonst kein Ton rauskriegt.

Um den Ton gut zu gestalten
und Intervalle zu entfalten,
braucht’s das Zwerchfell und die Lunge
und ein wenig auch die Zunge.

Nur Mut, bleib dran und du wirst sehen,
nach einer Weile wird es gehen.
Und nun viel Spass beim Einstudieren
zum Nasenflöten - Musizieren.

geschrieben von G. Fleig
          Instructions for Nose Flute

One may have trouble,
until his nose flute
a good sound elicits,
because at first it seems like obdurate.

Therefore patience is the motto,
so that the nose breath may always flow
in the hole by the labium,
otherwise the flute remains silent.

Thus a pleasant and round sound
can be made with the mouth,
which huddles against the wood,
because otherwise no sound gets out.

To make a sound good
and develop intervals,
one needs the diaphragm and the lungs
and a bit of the tongue.

Cheer up, stay tuned and you'll see,
after a while it will go right.
And now have fun rehearsing
with nose flutes - making music.

written by G. Fleig