Nose Flute, Nose Whistle, History and Samples.

Nose Flute, Nose Whistle History & Samples. By Aver Strauss Under Construction

Nose Flute or whistle is an ancient  primitive popular musical instrument that was played in Africa, China, India, New Zeland Polynesia and the Pacific Rim countries.

The instrument is made out of Wood bamboo Gourd Metal Ivory or Plastic.

During  the second half of the 19th Century the instrument gained popularity as a toy and was produced in various european countries and in the U.S.A. as a toy under different names; The Magic Flute, Humantone,, Humanaphone and others.
Registered designs and patents were registered in New Zeland Japan Australia U.S.A and England.
In the late 1930's ones made of plastic appeared and were popular as toys or for parties.

There are two types:
The Flat type sample A ) with no finger holes.
and the Round type ( sample B ) That has two to four finger holes.Musically  it resembeles the ocarina.

Type A can produce any pitch and is more versatyle in its possibilieties.
Sample A

Sample B Round w. 2 holes.

Gf the Flat type I personaly recomend the 'Marilio Coelho' stainless steel or babbit metal , I had found it to be the easiest to play and of a soperior quality.
It is their model # 25 . The factory specializes in bird calls and makes this since 1909 in Brazil. It is the only model they make in metal the other whistle models bird calls, being made from wood.
The whistle  takesd practice to play melodies, it can produce any pitch and with some prcatice becomes one of the most amazing whistles wether it is used to play melodies or immitate bird or animal calls.

It is not easy to explain verbaly how to produce a sound out of it but I will do my best in the future and mybe upload a video.

Below variegated plastic one :
Patented Nose Flute / Whistle type instrument.
Marked: Gretsch   Humanatone   Pat. No. 2245432
Patent was issued to Ernest W. Davis on June 10, 1941
Measures 2 1/2" tall x 2 5/8"


An American advertisment for magic flute in an early mail order catalog/
The Patent is registered at 1899.


A British made tin Humanaphone.


A Flat wood type


A Guy playing a plastic nose flute on youtube

Here are few notes as are in the wikipedia

"In the North Pacific, in the Hawaiian islands the nose flute was a common courting instrument. In Hawaiian, it is variously called hano, "nose flute," (Pukui and Elbert 1986), by the more specific term 'ohe hano ihu, "bamboo flute [for] nose," or `ohe hanu `ihu, "bamboo [for] nose breath" (Nona Beamer lectures).

It is made from a single bamboo section. According to Arts and Crafts of Hawai`i by Te Rangi Hiroa, old flutes in the Bishop Museum collection have a hole at the node area for the breath, and two or three fingering holes. In the three-finger-hole specimen, one fingering hole is placed near the breath hole. Lengths range from around 10 inches to over 21 inches.

Oral tradition in various families states that numbers of fingering holes ranged from one to four, and location of the holes varied depending on the musical taste of the player. Though primarily a courting instrument played privately and for personal enjoyment, it also could be used in conjunction with chants, song, and hula. Kumu hula (dance masters), were said to be able to either make the flute sound as though it were chanting, or to chant as they played (Emerson, 1965). Kumu hula Leilehua Yuen is one of the few contemporary Hawaiian musicians who performs with the nose flute in this manner.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the nose flute is played by eight different ethnic groups.

In the Philippines, the pitung ilong (flute nose in Tagalog), or the kalaleng of the northern Bontok people, is played with the extreme forward edge of the right or left nostril. Because the kalaleng is long and has a narrow internal diameter, it is easy to play different harmonics through overblowing - even with the rather weak force of the air from one nostril. Thus, this nose flute can play notes in a range of two and a half octaves. Finger holes in the side of the bamboo tube change the operating length, giving various scales. Some players take a filter tip from a cigarette and plug up the other (unused) nostril, in order to increase the force of their breath through the flute.

Nguru from New Zealand
New Zealand
Historically in New Zealand, the Māori carved nguru from wood, the stem of a gourd and whales teeth. Nguru were often adorned with very elaborate carvings, befitting what is considered a sacred object. Although Nguru are commonly known as nose flutes, it is only the smaller instruments that can be played with the nose, more commonly Nguru are played with the mouth.
The Māori kōauau ponga ihu, a gourd nose flute, was also part of the nose flute tradition; note that a similarly constructed gourd nose flute, ipu ho kio kio was also used in Hawaii. The maker would form a nose hole in the neck (or stem) of the gourd, by cutting off the neck at a fairly small cross section. This small hole is placed under the player's nostril, in order to generate the flute-tone. The "kōauau ponga ihu" functions as an ocarina in its acoustic principles. Several notes of a scale can be obtained by drilling fingerholes into the "bowl" of the gourd."

Addition You may see more at another later Post Here


Whistle museum, A.Strauss All rights reserved, please do not use any part of this web page without a written permission from the author .  Thank you for visiting and sharing , on Facebook Twitter  and other website

משרוקיות אף, משרוקית אף, חליל אף אבנר שטראוס


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  • 7/12/2011 8:31 PM Gad wrote:
    Hello Avner,

    Great site.
    In the past you were asking for donations. How can I donate?

    Reply to this
  • 8/18/2011 9:37 PM Antoine C wrote:

    You write that the Magic Flute was patented in 1899. Please can you tell me where you found this patent ? (what is its number?)

    I just created a blog about nose flutes, and have began a search for patents. I found a lot, but didn't find the Magic Flute one. I just found that the number 40634 aust., 22231 NZ stamped on it refer to Trade Mark, but not patent... And cannot even find the date of registering these trade marks.

    Please have you more info on the british Humanaphone ? (dates, patents, etc. ?)

    best regards from France,

    The U S Patent No. for Humanatone is:
    31876 ( Stamped on whistle)

    "The Majic Flute"
     is Pat. sep. 21rst 1899
    Jan. 9th 1900
    Another has the stasmp
    "Magic Flute"
    No. 40634 Australia
    # 22231 New Zeland
    I remeber seeing earlier Patents od Reg Designs
    But I do not have time to delve into my papers and whistles  Hope this helps
    Reply to this
  • 8/28/2011 2:17 AM Antoine C. wrote:
    Hello Avner,

    Thank you a lot for your reply.

    Welle, there has been a small mistake, I was asking you about Humanaphone, not Humanatone...

    Regarding the Magic Flute, I have the same numbers, but have asked AU and NZ patent offices, and they told me they were "trade mark" numbers, and not "patent" numbers... (if you have a patent number, I'm interested in knowing it...)

    Anyway, thanks for pat. dates for Magic Flute ! Is it different to the Leech and Couchois patent, registered on Jan. 9th, 1900 (same date), but filed on jan 26, 1899 ( US641025 ) ??

    All the best to you,

    Reply to this
  • 12/4/2012 1:40 PM Noseflutejob wrote:
    Hello Avner,
    Do you know if and where the first noseflute "Humanatone" is for sale somewhere?
    Do you know the BOCARINA noseflute, the youngest generation? Look on YouTube "Bocarina". For me the best.
    Best regards,

    Reply to this

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