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Sterling Silver OcarinaSterling Silver Ocarina
Sterling Silver Ocarina, Sandi Schmidt, approx. 1"X1" - Not For Sale

Alan Albright is a Master. He has made many Double Ocarinas >>   Follows is a letter from 1983 discussing window size in relation to the volume of the vessel.  See a Triple Chamber Slide Whistle made by Alan of Aromatic Red Cedar and Black Walnut HERE.  See the Charde Vogne Pewter Ocarina HERE.
Tom and Cynthia Smith, with blessings and encouragment from Alan, have undertaken the construction of fine Wooden Double Ocarinas.Here is Alan Albright's Blog/Gallery.
August 31, 1983

Alan Albright
San Francisco, CA

Dear Sandi,

Thanks for your recent letter.  I believe that this sort of feedback and exchange between all of us will help each of us grow in our work.

The critical point in voicing begins as you reach the octave (high do).  So, you can’t tell much from a whistle which only gives you a few notes – but doesn’t go high enough to fizz out.  Anyway, given the variables – the secret is experimentation.

Once you get a satisfactory solution, then it is useful to have a little tool – a jig – to gauge your window size for each size ocarina.  Thus, your windows should be almost identical. 

The happy/unhappy situation single – varied – ocarinas is that each note can be “adjusted” (unconsciously) by the player.  One of my former partners in a pewter ocarina undertaking proved this.  A whole series of castings which he had made and tuned were hopelessly out-of-tune to my ear and to those of potential customers.  When I confronted him with this, he denied it vigorously – playing the scale fairly well (blowing softer here, harder there…).

Given consistent window size and interior volume, hole depth and size affects the pitch.  This is more significant for me than for you.  Anyway, I drill my holes undersize, then after the shape is finished, I re-size each hole.  Naturally, I have all the drill bits you could imagine plus little cone shaped bits .

When your “do” is too low, it means that ALL the holes are too big.  You can raise the pitch of the do with a small “tuning hole” – or by enlarging the window.  This still doesn’t guarantee that the first couple of holes will still NOT be “sharp”.  Trial and error!

When Nadine and I made ceramic ocarinas, I did most of the work when the pieces were leather hard.  Still you have to figure that 30% reduction..

For specific keys:  I’m doing that right now…

Again it is trial and error.  So I make first, then measure then try again.

For example, “.x” ocarina with such and such dimensions (wet) becomes such and such (leather hard), then bisque to such and such and finally glazed gives: “w” window size with “v” volume.  I use a pair of calipers and the metric system (which is much easier for proportions).  For the volume, I made little measuring boxes out of plastic.  Since I knew the cross-sectional area, then all I have to do is measure height.  Thus, I fill the ocarina with salt, then pour the salt into my “box”.  Measure the height and multiply by the cross-sectional area of the box.  So and so many cubic centimeters. 

I’m afraid that shape may also affect things.  However, so far my calculations are approximate:

                            (Window Proportions)
KEY                    Width           Depth                        Interior Volume
C2*                       0.9 cm           0.275 cm                      6.7cm3
G                           0.9                0.275                          14.3
F                            1.05               0.32                            18.4
C                           1.05               0.32                            38.7
C                            1.2                0.37                            38.9
G                            1.2               0.37                             79.2

*Two octaves above ‘middle’ C

For a ‘rough’ approximation of the other keys, if you know the volume and name it “X”, then you can figure the volume of “Y” thusly:

“X”  do = 1, si = 1.15, si(flat) = 1.32, la = 1.515, la(flat) = 1.74, sol = 2, sol(flat) = 2.3, fa = 2.64, mi = 3.03, mi(flat) = 3.48, re = 4, re(flat) = 4.59, do = 5.28

Example:  If do = C = 6.7 cm3

C = 6.7cm3, B = 7.7, B(flat) = 8.84, A = 10.15, A(flat) = 11.66, G = 13.4, g(flat) = 15.41, F= 17.69, E = 20.3, E(flat) = 23.3, D = 26.8, d(flat) = 30.75, C = 35.37

Actually, this is modified by hole volume and, of course, window size.


http://www.ocarina.demon.co.uk/AAllb.html <<For a treatise by Alan

Whistling Water Vessel, unknown provinence, unknown date.
CLICK HERE to view 100KB mpeg of Dennis playing the Water Whistle.

The first Ocarina Sandi owned, purchased at a Craft Fair (artist unknown) in 1975.  Richard's first Ocarina was one of Sandi's Dragons circa 1983.

We use two-piece plaster molds to slip cast the vessels.  The 'Traditional' models are prepared for full casting by setting some slip into the mouthpiece first.  After this clay is set, the molds are closed and the process is completed normally.

In the interest of Ocarina Folklore and Fantasy, we present, at great risk (due to our maddening urge to encroach on CopyRights...) An early/mid 1960's Mad Magazine movie pan by Mort Drucker and Dick DeBartolo titled "Crazy Fists", a story of Frankie, wannabe Prize Fighter, and his Mother, who is convinced he will be a Famous OCARINA Player, all the way to Carnegie Hall. Thanks BE to our friend Linda for sending us the "5th Annual Collection of MAD Follies and Other Acts of Idiocy From Past Issues "CopyRights dated 1964,1965, 1967" What would be cooler than being sued by Mad Magazine for researching and sharing Ocarina Folklore and Fantasy?
View the panels HERE:

(From a discussion thread about using a four-hole Ocarina to play a song that leaves the Octave.)
Auld Lang Syne using five-hole Ocarina and the "proper" High 're'....
Auld Lang Syne using four-hole system and the Low 're' instead of the "proper" High 're'...
Auld Lang Syne using four-hole system and the Flat 'ti'.  This is the version I like the best using the four-hole system...