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.

Jul 2, 2016

Another Classic Humanatone

I found another vintage Humanatone, with its box and paper, in very good shape. It's a nickeled No.20, but is interesting at least on one point: it features a specific detail that I had never seen before on a Humanatone...

1.- The Box

The box is a very classic Humanatone box, with the beautiful typographics and the Stivers' lion design (dating of 1905) that we found to be a rebus (see here). In this version, the label is anthracite and the cardboard box brick.

Here it is, compared to the two other similar ones we know:

As you can see, the label is dark grey as the one of the bottom left pictures, which belongs to an instrument we dated between 1908 and 1911 (check here). But the label shows the 'style' and the $1.00 price, like the box in the third picture. The nose flute itself has got rectangular flaps - like the one related to the 3rd pic. - while the 1908-11 has 'end of ice cream stick' shaped ones. So, our new classic 'Hum' could be an in-between model (?).

2.- The Manual

The user manual is very similar to the one of the 1908-11 Humanatone, besides it is printed on bistre color paper, and has a back also printed.

Compared to the older one, the header typographics have slightly evolved, but it is mostly the bottom of the page that is different, with a new design for the trademark Humanatone, the place 'New York' instead of the street address, and the presence of a nose flute:

The details are more finely printed too:

The back of the page is rather funny, with advertisements promoting a book with an hilarious title ('The Bright Side of Kissing and the Dark Side')...

… and another one ('Flashlights on Human Nature'), but also a bunch of soaps, balms, emulsions and unguents to be (or stay) the most healthiest and attractive person. Prepare for kissing, courting, calling!

I was astonished how the man of the advertisement looks very alike David Crosby 'Almost Cut My Hair'!:

3.- The Nose Flute

The instrument itself is a beautiful classic nickeled Humanatone specimen, with rectangular lateral flaps (rather early production).

As said earlier, and as you can see it, there is a unique detail on this Humanatone, that I never saw before: It is a pair of embossed circular arcs, dedicated to strengthen the mouth shield. The only comparable feature, but as a full circle, can be seen on the Wunderflöte drawn in 1941 Wolfe's book and visible among Piet Visser's collection:

Now, here is our Humanatone:

As I'm certain this nose flute is not part of the super early production, nor the late one, it means that the 'strength bow' appeared on, then disappeared from the Humanatone. My opinion is that this features didn't last so long, as it is the very first and only time I saw it.

Jun 30, 2016

Paper nose flute by Susumu Yasuda: v.2 !

Less than one month ago, we published the template and some pictures of the 'Kamihanabue' ('paper nose flute') designed by Mr. Susumu Yasuda (check this post). Susumu-san just sent us an update! The new version, downloadable here, is very similar with the previous one, but even more elegant and easier to build: some angles have been replaced by curves. The airway and the nose rest are now finely designed. Actually, the new template offers you to build both versions, according to the color you choose for the lines to be folded or cut. For the new version, don't forget to pre-mark the half circle of the nose rest: it will form nicely and very easily.

Here is the one I made in 2 minutes (much more for the paint spray :):

Jun 27, 2016

Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV

This post is the sequel of Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III


6.- Stories

This last section is the most interesting, also the most moving, because the samples generally directly involve Jean Shepherd's story himself, but also sometimes other people, other times, other places.

The first one is almost out of topic. It's a small quizz:


The first of those two clips is very long (30') and is a large part of a broadcasting called 'Jew's harp and Nose flutes'. Both tell the Shep's story with nose flutes and Jew"s harps:


This is long (10') clip, about getting scary by playing the cuckoo... But I'm not 100% sure the sounds were made with a nose flute... (with reverb!)



In 1965, Jean Shepherd went to Amazon (Peru side) and met native tribes. He had brought a kazoo, a Jew's harp and a nose flute with him...

The first clip is part of a radio show (09/16), the second one too (09/17), but the excerpt was recorded in Peru, and the last one is a part of a public conference (09/18). They are great archives...





For having promoted the nose flute in many of his radio shows, played and taught our noble instrument to people of Amazon, Jean Shepherd is inducted to the Nose Flute Hall of Fame, in the "Promoters" section, with the Honorary Degree!

Related links :

- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part I
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part II
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part III
- Jean Shepherd and the Nose Flute - Part IV