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Suggestions of how to adjust ocarina tuning please

(6 Posts)
cornflakegirl Fri 16-Nov-12 15:08:28

DS is 7 and plays the ocarina. We bought it a couple of years ago, and the C natural sounded out of tune to me - a bit sharp. I complained to the Ocarina Workshop, and they told me it was tuned that way for kids who blow too hard.

DS can now play it quite well, but the C natural still causes problems. He can amend the sound with his mouth position, but doesn't always remember, and it turns a tune that is (quite) nice to listen to into one that grates. I'm tempted to get him to close an additional hole when he plays that note so correct the tuning, but I'm not sure if that will foul things up for eg playing the six hole.

Anyone else had this problem and found a solution?

cornflakegirl Sat 17-Nov-12 13:36:38


Theas18 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:30:06

Look up recorder tuning. Tim Cranmore or saunders recorders used to have some pages.

With recorders you either use wax to build up behind the holes ( they aren't just cut straight down, the flare out under the finger holes iyswim) or a file to remove a tiny bit of wood. Clearly you need to know which hole to play with though - it isn't always the one straight below though it mostly is. For ocarinas I guess it's the finger hole that you'd cover to take t down the next semi tone o assume.

I guess she's already tried working a new fingering out that is in tune - that's mostly what a recorder player will do - all the physical fiddling with holes is part of the original set up.

Of course, if the natural c is the " all holes closed" position I'm talking rot and their than blowing harder and " thinking up and smiling"( which Does help) there isn't anything else to do!

New one or Xmas ?

cornflakegirl Tue 20-Nov-12 12:42:41

Theas - I'm not sure adjusting the holes would work, as the other notes seem to be in tune. (It's a 4 hole one that he's playing.)

I did work out a different fingering that sounded better, but I'm not sure whether getting him to use that will cause other problems, such as playing in a group at school, or when he moves on to the six hole.

I guess I'm wondering if it's a common problem that can be fixed by always holding the ocarina at the right angle or something?

Theas18 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:16:07

sounds like it's something the " build in" because many kids blow too hard. I think that's a bad plan as the only way your son can get it in tune is to learn to blow too hard!

As long as he understands he's adapting his fingering to suit his instrument , and other ocarinas wont be the same it should be fine (can he hear the problem himself?).

I can only draw parallels with recorder playing as that's what I know, but " ordinary school teaching" tell you that a certain fingering gives you a certain note. Same for ocarinas I think. However, move up a level and get a decent teacher, and you learn that the " correct " fingering for a note is that which gives the right sound in the context in which you play it, and that is instrument dependent. THere are a huge number of fingerings that give the same pitch but loud/soft/dark sounding all different, and then there are " lazy" fingerings that are " good enough" in a fast passage too!

cornflakegirl Wed 21-Nov-12 00:06:00

Yeah, I guess in the long run learning to play in tune is more important than playing exactly what is written! I'll suggest he tries the different fingering. Thanks.

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