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The Sounds Of Ceramics
     The sounds of peace and serenity do not change.  Those sounds are music.  Musical sounds are imitative of the natural sounds we learned in our collective innocence ancient years ago.  The age of humans makes us truly vessels of antiquity and it is the ages this vessel holds that echoes and is touched so deeply by the music and the sounds that make it up.  From the lowest low attained when the great bass stops are pulled on a giant pipe organ to the highest trill of the tiniest whistle; from the gentle, earthy thump of the wooden bongo drum to the floor shaking resonance of a concert tippany; from the innocent and natural plunk of a kalimba to the formal and knowing sound of a full-sized concert harp, sounds of music are many and varied and all can be traced to sounds of nature, sounds of our ancient Earth.  It is with bits of that earth that humans have thrown, pinched, pressed, poured and otherwise built musical instruments for eons.  Although all musical instruments can be traced to ancient times, it is those of clay that have most direct and basic roots to antiquity.
     Ceramic musical instruments are made with a variety of techniques that remain basic.  The sounds they produce remain rooted and unchanging.  The surface may catch our eye at first, or perhaps the shape, but the true intrigue is the void they encompass, for it is the void within the vessel that gives the sound of all history.
     Although clay has been used to make bells, rattles, drums, horns and even stringed instruments, most ceramic musical instruments are whistles (simply put).  In their basic form, their origins date to stone age times, some of the earliest being tens of thousands of years old found in Central Africa.  For centuries, they have been an important part of the global music culture, called "hsuan" in China, in France a "cou cou", and to Italy we trace the word "Ocarina" (sweet little goose), now part of the international vernacular.  The pitch of the sound produced in a vessel flute varies with the size, from very small whistles that produce penetrating bird-like sounds to larger vessels with soft and mellow, deep pitched sounds.  The number and sizes of the tone holes determine scaling which can range from a few little notes to a nearly two octave range.  Multiple chambers can produce beautiful harmonics making the musical possibilities nearly limitless.  Further explanation could be made in relation to physics and high trigonometry, but perhaps these two quotes will suffice. - R. Schmidt as published in the exhibit program for "From Mud To Music", 1987

     Cathal McConnell (Boys Of The Lough), "The greatest thing about the whistle flute is that it plays the notes that don't exist, that is, the cracks between the keys and even the cracks between the cracks."

     George Kelischek (master violin builder), "To impress those high-tech computer types, tell them what an Ocarina really is: 'an animal-activated-solid-state-multi-frequency-sound-synthesizer."

Definitions We 'Borrowed' After Searching UseNet,
 The WWWebster's Dictionary, And A Grand Lot Of
The Whole World Wide Web Itself:

   Main Entry: oc*a*ri*na
   Pronunciation: "ä-k&-'rE-n&
   Function: noun
   Etymology: Italian, from Italian dialect, diminutive of oca goose, from Late Latin auca, from Latin avis bird -- more at
   Date: 1877 :   a simple wind instrument typically having an oval body with finger holes and a projecting mouthpiece

  Can anyone tell me how this thing ( the ocarina ) is played.  It's got me stumped.  There are three holes in the bottom
  which do what?  I got a nice clay one for my 10 year old for Christmas and want to show her how to play it.
  Hi experts! Please tell me what is a  'sweet potato'?  Subject: Re: What is 'sweet potato'?  >> A " Sweet Potato"  is the
  name for an Ocarina which is a musical  instrument played by blowing into it and fingering the various holes to produce
  various notes . Kind of like mouth to mouth resuscitation only more fun.   s/ Moosemeat

  Subject: Re: What is 'sweet potato'?
  My only suggestion would be that, roughly speaking, this is what is
  also called ocarina-Italian folk instrument & the info on how made
  might be buried somewhere under that term.

  Isn't an ocarina sort of an football-shaped instrument about 4" long with> finger holes and a mouthpiece
  drilled into it?  Yes.  I have one myself.  The double ocarina, btw, is more donut-shaped.  s/Paolo Valladolid

 Suan Guess-Hanson, a nice lady who lives in the Heartland, says:
Visit links pages for more building info.

  Shape : Classical, as in Budrio's tradition (near Bologna) in the 19th Century, with a dome in the left corner. Ten-twelve
  tone  holes (two on the bottom).  Range : 13 notes in chromatic scale, plus...?  Mr.Takashi Aketagawa

The Four-Hole Western Scale "English System"

"The Name is John TAYLOR....John T and myself have been making them since the 60's....JT has made the most varied
 ocarinas of anyone I know....the first 4-hole western scale ocarina I saw was a pendant with a face painted on it in
 decorative style...JT was wearing it and showed it to me in Gloucester Crescent Camden Town in 1964.... John Taylor
 produced the first four-hole major scale tuning in 1964-as well as doubles, triples and chord ocarinas.....special
 tuning originated by John Taylor and developed differently by Barry Jennings and John Taylor...."  This is accurate
 information quoted from correspondence with Barry Jennings and John Taylor and the World Wide Web pages of
 "Ocarina Originators"These two folks have often been referred to by us here at Clayzeness as the ones responsible
 for the Four-Hole Western Scale "English System", although we wern't sure who they were.  Thanks to the Internet, now we
 know. Click HERE to see animation of four hole do-re-mi scale.

 What Is Juxtamorphic?

  i am a ceramics student and my instructor has assigned the class to make a wistle.
  i have tried for three days and cant get it to wistle.

  please help me    <:)

  To make a ceramic whistle, commonly known as an ocarina, the main thing to keep in mind is that it works by splitting a
  concentrated stream of air with a sharpened edge. This means that you should construct the initial air channel so that some
  air goes above, some below the edge. The rest of the ocarina functions as a resonating chamber. This
  enclosed hollow vessel may be pierced with holes which vary the pitch when uncovered, the more being
  open the higher the tone produced. Build the basic form first, then let it dry to leather-hard before you try to
  make it work. Ocarinas can be purchased in music stores if you want a model to copy, but once you can
  make it whistle almost any shape will function as a resonating chamber. There are numerous examples from South
  and Central Amer. of clay whistles in the forms of birds and animals.

  See the art of Andrew Werby: sculpture,
  jewelry, and graphics.  Browse the "techniques" section for information on various art processes.
  Link to places on the web with information useful to artists.  Be the first on your block to know what "juxtamorphic" art is!

  s/Andrew Werby - United Artworks

Who Plays Ocarinas?  Maynard G. Krebs Did!!
He also played the Bongos.
And he played them for Dobie and ZELDA!!!!

       ............. Asks "Busking?"
  >Enlighten, please
  >I think a busker is a street musician -- a guy who sings and/or
  >plays a musical instrument with a hat or guitar case for
  >receiving money the passers-by toss in. There's a couple of guys
  >who call themselves the Cambridge Buskers who give concerts that
  >are extremely entertaining. One plays a small accordion and the
  >other various instruments (flute, ocarina, tin whistle, etc.).
  >They give some marvelous imitations of symphony orchestras.


    busk (busk)  v.i. <busked, busk-ing>Derived words
    --busk'er, n.
    1.  Chiefly Brit. to entertain by dancing, singing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.
     [1850-55; prob. < Polari < It buscare to procure,  get, gain < Sp buscar to look for, seek.