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ocarinas silly to superb

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Ocarina Lessons? (29)
the Kurdish ocarina (2)
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Donuel 16 Mar 09 - 09:48 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 Mar 09 - 09:55 AM
Donuel 16 Mar 09 - 10:18 AM
pavane 16 Mar 09 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Ken Brock 16 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM
Ross Campbell 16 Mar 09 - 12:13 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Mar 09 - 02:13 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Mar 09 - 02:19 PM
katlaughing 16 Mar 09 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Peter 16 Mar 09 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Peter 16 Mar 09 - 03:40 PM
Bill D 16 Mar 09 - 04:16 PM
Ross Campbell 17 Mar 09 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,speckles 17 Mar 09 - 03:54 AM
Jack Campin 17 Mar 09 - 05:28 AM
Jack Campin 17 Mar 09 - 05:48 AM
Ross Campbell 17 Mar 09 - 08:48 AM
pavane 17 Mar 09 - 09:10 AM
Jack Campin 17 Mar 09 - 09:30 AM
Ross Campbell 18 Mar 09 - 01:00 AM
Jack Campin 18 Mar 09 - 06:54 AM
speckles 18 Mar 09 - 07:58 AM
Lin in Kansas 18 Mar 09 - 12:16 PM
Jack Campin 18 Mar 09 - 03:43 PM
speckles 19 Mar 09 - 07:36 PM
Jack Campin 19 Mar 09 - 08:02 PM
speckles 19 Mar 09 - 09:31 PM
Joe Offer 19 Mar 09 - 09:59 PM
Jack Campin 19 Mar 09 - 10:22 PM
catspaw49 19 Mar 09 - 10:24 PM
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Subject: BS: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Donuel
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 09:48 AM

broccolli and triple ocarina



I was think of making some ocarinas.

Does anyone have any experience or advice.


I would like to use clay or wood with opal inlay.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 09:55 AM

Jack Campin's web page would be a good place to start -

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Ocarina/


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Donuel
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:18 AM

thanks. Plans, templates, and construction techniques are part of my search.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: pavane
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:47 AM

I once met a guy in London called Jay Myrdal, whose wife made chromatic occarinas. But that was around 1973, so might not be possible to trace.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM

A really neat use of ocarinas is the 1990 studio recording of the Gershwin Brothers' GIRL CRAZY on Nonesuch, where they are used in "Bidin' My Time" and "Cactus Time in Arizona" by the a cowboy quartet. Lorna Luft (Judy Garland's other daughter) plays the Ethel Merman role of Frisco Kate on the recording.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:13 PM

John Langley used to run brilliant workshops at Sidmouth Folk Festival. His ocarinas are beautiful and sound great. His website here

If you insist on making your own then try this site.

Ross


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 02:13 PM

I want one of those triples; such perfect sense!

Here it is:

http://www.stlocarina.com/triple.html


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 02:19 PM

One for you, Ross?

4-hole monster ocarina only for the brave

This large 'bowling-ball' sized ceramic pot is a work of art and plays perfectly down to the depths, an octave and a half below middle C. The four holes are positioned close to each other in pairs. Place your palms over one hole or both on each side for the full 4-hole range of notes. Playing the 'Can Can' on this ocarina is only possible in the slow 'elephant' version from Saint Saens 'Carnival of the Animals'. Circumference 760mm (30 inches), weighs over 2kg (around 5 pounds) and is affectionately known as the 'Pregnaphone'!

Mega Bass G ocarina, 4-hole ceramic. Made by John Langley for Ocarina Workshop.


https://vault1.secured-url.com/ocshop/images/productimages/pregna.jpg


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 02:33 PM

Donuel, you mean Cleigh might get a sibling?:-) (As noted Barbara Blessings made him, she may have more info on making them, too.)


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:38 PM

Although it is quite far away (Austria!) it might be worth looking at:

http://www.ocarina.at/


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:40 PM

and here is the link to the (next) European ocarina festival

http://www.ocarinafestival.eu/


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 04:16 PM

Don... I have several top-quality ocarinas made in the 80s by Carolyn Bassing of Takoma Park...(I don't believe she does them any more.)

You can examine them if you'd like. (I play them now & then)

The real trick is the 'tuning' of them by getting the various holes the right size and accounting for shrinkage as they are fired..(we are talking clay)


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 12:05 AM

Nice one, Sean. Is the spherical ocarina really the size of a bowling-ball? Surely it would need to be to get those low notes?

I wonder if you could adapt a fishing-float to this purpose? I have a couple of metal ones (aluminium), and rather more than I need of the plastic variety. I'm sure I could find an uncracked one to experiment on. And there are a few really big ones....

Ross


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: GUEST,speckles
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 03:54 AM

Here are more pictures of John Langley's Pregnaphome:
http://www.greenverdugo.com/ocarina-making-tutorial/JLangley-ocarinas.html


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 05:28 AM

It should be easy enough to design an ocarina on the scale of the Pregnaphone but using the Italian fingering system - fit the thing with keys like those on a tenor sax or Paetzold subcontrabass recorder. The Langley fingering system is shite. Italian-system keyless ocarinas were made up to the size of a melon.

If I were building an ocarina myself I wouldn't use clay - you could expect to throw dozens of them away before getting anything that even half worked. I'd either make a gemshorn instead (there are instructions on the web and in several books about early music instruments) or else use the basic layout of the Mountain Ocarinas model (cuboidal box of wood, sheet metal or plastic). A plywood box fitted with Paetzold-style keys would be a very flexible design for a large ocarina which could be tweaked as you built it (something like that is sometimes used for the very lowest notes on pipe organs - about three octaves below the Pregnaphone, the size of a wardrobe, and far beyond what human lungs could power; I seem to remember the system is called a Compton Cube but can find nothing but false hits about it on the web). Keyed systems don't let you use microtonal fingerings, though.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 05:48 AM

Something on the Compton Cube here, in William Harrison Barnes ,The Contemporary American Organ Its Evolution, Design And Construction, 1937:
www.archive.org/details/contemporaryamer007616mbp

But their scanned text is horribly corrupted and there are no pictures.

The Paetzold key system for ultra-low recorders was independently invented by Alec Loretto in New Zealand, and he published it in a recorder magazine. I have a copy somewhere.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:48 AM

Some of my plastic fishing floats hava a lug (for attaching a rope) which could possibly be drilled and shaped to be a mouth-piece and fipple - but where to put the holes - how many and how big? The excellent photographs still don't show those details. Any ideas?

Ross


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: pavane
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 09:10 AM

I have managed to contact Jay Myrdal, mentioned above, but unfortunately he no longer has any examples of his chromatic occarina, nor does he have a pattern or design for it.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 09:30 AM

Get the mouthpiece right first. Fishing floats are usually made of soft plastic which won't work at all well for a flute labium, but you might get away with it for a large one. Tweak it till you get a clear sound with no fingerholes. I doubt you could reshape a rope lug without computer-assisted cutting tools.

You don't necessarily need a windway - the north Indian borrindo just has a flute-like soundhole. I've got an instrument like that and despite playing several kinds of flute I can't get more than the bottom few notes out of it, there is obviously a knack involved. I've never seen such a thing played. Building an external windway like that on Native American flutes might be the way to go - use something like "plastic metal" or car body filler. I've done that once when repairing an old ceramic ocarina - I rebuilt the windway around a mould cut from some kind of sugar-paste sweet (can't remember what, might have been liquorice strap or marzipan). You can't tell my resin mouthpiece from an original either visually or by how it plays.

Drill the holes wherever you want to put your fingers. Put paint on your finger and thumb tips, grab the float in a stable playing position, and that's where the holes should go. Tune from the bottom up. You may want to retune the all-fingers-down note with an adjustable screw-in plug to get some standard pitch, then from there the fingers come off in this order on the Italian system for a major scale:

right little finger
right ring
right middle
right first
left ring
left middle
left first
left thumb
left little
right thumb

So drill the holes and file them out in that that order. Mostly they get larger as you go up the scale. You may find towards the top end that the next hole needed is going to be too big to cover. In that case you either stop there and accept a limited scale (not usually a problem with a bass instrument) or think up a key mechanism. Or maybe use the ball of the thumb to cover the right hand thumbhole, I've never heard of that being done but it might work. (If you've got one fishing float you've probably got a crateful, so you can afford to experiment). The hole that usually limits size is the left-hand little finger.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 01:00 AM

Jack -

I have indeed got a crateful (or two or three!) The floats I'm talking about are rigid plastic, about 1/4" thick, usually about the size of a bowling-ball. There are two basic designs - the most common is the bead type with a straight-through hole for threading on a rope - the other has moulded on lugs for tying on (usually broken on the ones I find).

The first might suit the flute-style mouth-hole, however I never had much success trying to get sound out of flutes or piccolos (the nearest I've got to anything like this is blowing across the top of a bottle or stoneware jug, which I can usually get to sound a clear note after a bit of practice).

Because the lugs on the second type stand proud of the spherical surface, I thought they might be adapted as I described, possibly using a slotting drill to make the airway, and chiselling and filing to form the fipple-wedge. I'm not sure the angle between the lug and the surface allows what I'm thinking of - I'll haul one in tomorrow and have a closer look.

Are you stuck with whatever note you find, or is there scope for tuning? eg with an extra hole which is never covered? Or does that distort the scale? The Italian system you describe seems to have provided more than the eight notes of the major scale. Are these semi-tone differences in the successive fingerings? Can you overblow into the next octave?

Thanks for the (finger) tips! I wouldn't have had a clue where to start. As far as I remember, the Langley ocarinas used a four-hole system with different-sized holes and combination fingering to get the scale (I thought I had one somewhere in the house, but haven't seen it for some time).

Just had an idea - drilling a single hole in each of a set of floats and "tuning" with water to different levels would make an intersting wind-chime. If I ever get around to any of these things I'll let you know.

Ross


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 06:54 AM

The aluminium ones might allow for the sort of shaping you're talking about. Sounds tricky, though. Whistle/recorder labiums and windways require greater precision than any other operation in musical instrument making - a thousandth of an inch makes an audible difference. Expect hours of arsing about with warding files. The problem is that you need the voicing to allow for the high notes, but you can't drill the holes for them in advance without creating an irreparably screwed-up tuning. So you have to voice for the fundamental and tweak later to make the high notes work. I've got one ocarina with stuffy high notes and nothing I've been able to do to the voicing makes much difference.

The Italian system gives you a range of eleven notes - for an instrument in C: C D E F G A B c d e f g (see my webpage, referenced above). The top one or two are often not much use, and you'd be unlikely to get that high on a first attempt at making one. Aim for nine or ten.

I usually play mine with a crossfingered note or two to get a mixolydian or major scale on the note above the fundamental- C D E F# G A B c (or c#) d e - I don't often need the top end and only about half my ocarinas can get there. It's very easy to work out other crossfingerings. The hijaz scale from Middle Eastern and Balkan music works great.

For a big ocarina the Langley system requires fingers like black puddings. The Italian system spreads the open area across all your fingertips, so no single hole has to be huge.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: speckles
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 07:58 AM

There is talk on an Ocarina Festival in the U.S,
http://www.ocarinafestival.net/location.html


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 12:16 PM

This gentleman makes some very cute and sweet-sounding ocarinas:

Click here

Lin

I own the angel cat and a copy of the songbook. Lots of fun to play with!


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 03:43 PM

Those cute animals all seem to use the Langley system.

Try this for more musically useful ones:
European Ocarina Festival list of makers


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: speckles
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 07:36 PM

John Barry (the maker of those animal ocarinas) uses John Taylor's 4-hole fingering system (invented back in 1963, I believe) John Langley uses this basic 4-hole fingering also, with the addition of a small thumb hole for playing the chromatics. This addition eliminated "half-holing."


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 08:02 PM

Couldn't he make a cute cuddly slug or something, so it'd be the right shape for Italian fingering?

Lots of hitherto unexplored potential ocarina shapes here: Giant Microbes. Black Death, Ebola or typhoid would be great.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: speckles
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 09:31 PM

It is a lot easier (and quicker) to make ocarinas with the 4-5 hole fingering (range of one octave) than the Budrio fingering (range an octave plus three) The more an ocarina's range is extended, the more difficult it is to get the upper notes to sound strong/clear/less airy. And the smaller number of holes takes less room, and allows for more decoration. That's why sculptural ocarinas *mostly have the 4-5 hole "English" fingering system.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 09:59 PM

How can a thread like this go for 27 messages and not mention Spaw? Oh, how soon we forget....

Anybody have a link to the photos of Spaw's legendary ocarina? This one (click) doesn't really do it justice, and I can't tell if it's the proper ocarina or a mere normal one. Ah, here (click) is the infamous Cleigh O'Possum.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 10:22 PM

They may be easier to make but they aren't as useful musically. Not just because of the range - nine notes does most of what I want - but because of the speed and flexibility of the fingering.

Try playing the Jig of Slurs at normal session speed on a Langley ocarina. I doubt anyone could do it. I can do it easily on a Budrio type. The Italian-system ocarinas let you play the entire pipe repertoire and then some, with no compromise.

Can you do this on a Langley? Almartino on the Mountain Ocarina. Note the stack of instruments in the corner of the studio - he's transferring his skills from other woodwinds.

Or this? Pablo Mezzelani.

Or this? Victor Dubenco.

This is on the scale Ross is talking about: Contrabass ocarina, but the guy's breath control (or lack of it) is appalling.

One interesting alternative design is the "musical haggis" by the bagpipe historian Pete Stewart. It's a pottery ocarina that looks at first sight like a haggis money bank. Instead of separate fingerholes, it has one long slot, so it can warble like a swannee whistle. Not much use for tunes but a potentially useful special effect. I think he stopped making them a couple of years ago.


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Subject: RE: ocarinas silly to superb
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 10:24 PM

I just got here Joe.....and kat did mention Cleigh but it is as yousay....How soon they all forget............***sigh***........

For Donuel and Jack Campin and all the rest.........Cleigh O'Possum is an ass-blown possum ocarina and the only ocarina (or any instrument) to occupy a place in Mudcat, being the Official Mudcat Mascot. So let's show a little respect please!!!!

Spaw


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