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 9, 2016

Love and Hate (for Nose Flute)

Why do people love the nose flute ?

1. - it is very funny and spreads the fun
2. - it is easy to play, at least at the beginning
3. - it is very affordable, democratic and humble
4. - it is small and you can carry one everywhere
5. - it leaves the hands free to play along another instrument
6. - it is rather unknown, so it always provoke awe
7. - it can be made with many materials, many shapes, even be a sculpture
8. - it is able to serve many uses: music, bird calling, signals, etc.
9. - it is always an appreciated gift
10.- it is regarded as a healing tool, for body and soul, as using nasal breath
11.- it is an achromatic instrument, open to any mode and ready for glissandi!

Why do people hate the nose flute ?

1. - it is disgusting to blow with the nose
2. - it is not an instrument but a toy
3. - it makes you look stupid or dangerous
4. - it is an achromatic instrument, it sounds out of tune!


Now, can we deal with the four negative points?

1. - it is disgusting to blow with the nose

A nose flute is not disgusting as far as the player is not disgusting.
Would you say the beak flute is disgusting? Well, there are much more nasty bacterias in the mouth than in the nose. So, as far as you (normally) blow your nose and you pass sometimes your nose flute under the tap, it is far less disgusting than a trumpet or a keyboard. Do our detractors regularly clean their cell phone with alcohol ? Because a cell phone retains more (and more dangerous) bacterias than a toilet seat.

Oklahoma State university study claims:

2. - it is not an instrument but a toy

The nose flute is toy? Well, all depends on what you do with! If you use your Steinway piano as a bobsleigh, it becomes a bobsleigh. Ask Master Mosurin if he thinks the nose flute is not a real instrument! No, seriously. Well, there are toy nose flutes. The common plastic Humanatone is not made for playing the aria of the Queen of the Night. But nobody says that the piano is not an instrument because you can find some plastic models for kids in the toys stores!

The Nosy Diva playing Bach's Badinerie at Michaeliskirche for Summer concert (F. Graser):

3. - it makes you look stupid or dangerous

Looking stupid or dangerous... This is the most difficult point to refute. But let's just say that this very point could be applied to many other instruments, and that nobody never point it out. Have you seen Dizzy Gillespie playing his trumpet with cheeks ready to explode? Has someone ever said that trumpet is ridiculous because of that? Have you seen the painful and pathetic faces of some classical musicians while playing? Or rock guitarists looking like having an orgasm while playing a solo ? Nobody mock at them, because it's part of their art.

The great Dizzy Gillespie:

4. - it is an achromatic instrument, it sounds out of tune!

Once again, if a nose flute sounds out of tune, the responsible may be not the instrument... Anyway, yes, the musical saw, the kazoo, the Theremin, the syringe whistle ... all are despised. So, if the reason is the 'achromaticity', why not the violin or the ud ? Because, besides people really bad at playing violin, there are masters... OK. Nose flute too! Listen to Mosurin or the Nosy Diva, listen to Mr. Swing or Lloyd Buford Threlkel! Well, this argument doesn't stand for a second. Yes, nose flute is difficult to master. Like any great and versatile instrument. And 'portamento compatibility' is a power, not a flaw.

Slide is freedom! (ask Tony Hawk!)


But after this four-points speech for the defense, some people will continue to say « yes, but no. » meaning « yes, you're probably right, but it's stronger than me, a nose flute is a disgusting crappy toy that just can be valuable as washing powder gift and used once for carnival when you're totally drunk ». I can't reply to those, they just are brain formatted and too coward to experiment opening their mind, too risky. On social and political fields, the same are racists and fascists. Better not count them in our nosy circles.

Jul 8, 2016

The Rare, Amazing and Ugly Snoot-Flute!

To fish a Snoot-Flute was a quest. Do you remember the highly desirable Snoot-Flute, kind of a Nosy Grail for the nose flute collector ?... We had published the beautiful advertisement (see here) which was published in the Kenner toy catalog. We also had written a long article about Nelson Ronsheim (NFHoF), its funny and creative inventor (see here)…


Well, we just were incredibly joyful when we recently found a Snoot-Flute!

It was very dirty and the cardboard was a wreck, having enormous moist blotches. I cleaned it a bit with a soft eraser, tried with diluted Hydrogen peroxide, but was not able to get the brown blotches to a lighter color. So, I just passed it a minute over steam, then carefully ironed it. Too bad that this card is so damaged, the design by Nelson Ronsheim is so great...

1.- The Cardboard

The design is tremendous, very vintage, with its oblique lines separating colored areas. Many of the typographics were hand drawn, including the adorable big logo. Here is a scan of my board. But I didn't resist providing also a 'digitally restored' version (yes yes, some work again:), to show how the paper should have looked when still new:

The first thing I noticed gave me an 'official' answer to the question of the date. I thought the Snoot-Flute was dating of the early 1960s, and a reader of this blog then posted a comment asserting « that is a page from the 1963 Kenner catalog. It's not in the '62 or '64 catalogs so it looks like it only lasted a year.». It would need some investigation to check if the Snoot-Flute ad really appeared in the 1963 catalog then, and above all, in other vintages. But... One thing is now sure and ascertained, the Snoot-Flute dates of 1959!!

The 'Pats. Pend.' should never have been registered, since I never found any traces of them and the date is not so far to have disappeared from the patent office.

Indeed, this part of the cardboard was totally unknown to me. The only picture I had was the catalog advertisement which showed the nose flute clipped on the paper, masking this essential info. Then, Mr. Michael Smith (Nelson Ronsheim's grandson) had sent me the only picture he had, and there again, the flute was clipped on the board (there).

By the way, please note the differences (colors, text, oblique lines) between the cardboard design on the catalog ad and the one that was actually printed:

Another nice surprise was to discover the user manual, announced by the mention 'Directions underneath', but also masked by the flute. I was surprised to read « To play different notes, breathe harder or softer » which is only really true associated with « and change the shape of your lips. » I think it is the very first time I read this advice in a nose flute instructions sheet.

Also hidden under the Snoot-Flute, a nice little drawing:

2.- The Nose Flute

On that topic also — the instrument by itself – a great mystery was still laying: on the catalog ad and on Michael Smith's picture, as well as on the pictures of the advertisement I got the Snoot-Flute from, the flute is displayed reversed side, showing its back only. How was the front ? The only design that was helpful for imagination was the one on the cardboard with the kid playing: rather flat front on its top part...

Have you seen how ugly it is ?? Hahaha! That was my first surprise when I open the parcel I received. The front of the flute is never shown, because it looks horrible! Very funny, and I love this flute even more. Have you seen the very crappy and distended yellow plastic sheet covering the front?

The second thing that surprised me is that, I was expecting a sturdy and thick plastic nose flute, and I got the lightest instrument. Among the plastic nose flutes, it is the lightest I know, even lighter that the Humanatone (3g) that is much smaller. The Snoot-Flute weight 2.5 grams!!

In fact, this nose flute is really clever. The plastic is very thin… because the Snoot-Flute was produced by thermoforming! Not injected plastic. As you know, the thermoforming uses a hot shape upon which is placed a sheet of thin plastic, while vacuum is produced in order to stick down the sheet and form it according to the shape. It is the only nose flute I know made this way. This explain why the front is so flat. The (red) bottom was thermoformed and at the same time the (yellow) flat top was superposed and glued by fusion on its sides. I suppose that it is at this very moment that this softened (yellow) part got a bit bulged (Some air was probably blown into the nose intake, to avoid the yellow sheet to stick the red one).

There are still some embossed points visible on the red part: the points where ejection pushrods did their work. There are 3 pairs of them (top, middle, bottom). If you take a look, they are also visible on the Michael Smith's picture, as well as the bizarre kind-of-boomerang shape. But this weird shape is not at the same place on both flutes, and it should be a mark made from but after ejection:

Oh! The sound? Well the sound quality is not so bad and quite powerful, just a bit sqwacking in the sharps:


Don't you think it looks much like a...


Now, let just make a fake picture, just for the pleasure of looking at a mint Snoot-Flute:

Jul 7, 2016

… and official stamp!

Ready to officially stamp everyone! :)

Frontal attack against our Grand Master!

Well, yes. But it dates of 1981... Jean-Louis Ferrier was a french art critic and journalist. He published many papers in L'Express then in Le Point and was one of the 'inventors' of the Nouvelle Figuration movement.

La Petite Forme (Denoël, 1985), is a book collecting some of his art papers. The article called 'Le Bouffon et l'Humaniste' ('The Buffoon and the Humanist'), dating of 1981, was a pure attack against Jean Dubuffet, our beloved Nose Flute Hall of Fame Honorary Degree member!

Ferrier dared to write things like « L'irritant avec le bonhomme, c'est qu'il se prend pour Dieu l'australopithèque » (« What's irritating, with the fellow, is that he pretends to be God the australopithecus » or worst: « A quatre-vingts ans, il n'a pas varié d'un iota. Toujours le gribouillage enfantin, la moucheture, la maculation, les fausses couleurs » (« At 80 y.o., he has not varied of a iota. Always childish scribbles, flecks, smudges, fake colors »)

But there is even worst: the attack against Dubuffet's musical choices, and particularly his love for the nose flute!!!

Literally: « Music? His preferences go, for sure, to the accordion, and above all to the nose whistle, that he sniffles with talent... It is crazy, this anticultural obsession of Dubuffet »

Well, besides the controversy, the mocking of Dubuffet and of the 'nose whistle', the writing is interesting... It says that Dubuffet's prefered instrument was the nose flute! And more, this was a known fact, published in french magazines 20 years after the recordings Dubuffet made with Asger Jorn in 1961 (check this post).

Jul 5, 2016

Pure sound by Aisora273

Beautifully played piece by a young and promising Japanese noseflutist, Aisora273: