While there are countless resources detailing the physical process of making ocarinas, none of these adequately describe how the instrument works or why things are done. This frequently leads new makers into confusing and frustrating traps, situations like no sound production, weak or absent high notes and the infamous unpleasant high pitched squeal. When I first learned to make ocarinas I spent the first few months doing nothing but creating failures. In hindsight most of these were completely avoidable.
To save you from the same frustration I compiled my experiences into a book. It covers:
- How ocarinas work
- Tools to use
- Getting started with clay work, what kind to buy
Making your first playing ocarina:
- Avoid common mistakes and quickly make your first playing ocarina
- Working by hand
- Making and using aligned plaster molds
- Pros and cons clearly described for each techniques
- Functioning and creation of the windway, labium and sound hole
- How they inter-operate to create a strong sounding ocarina which plays through its entire range
The technicalities of tuning ocarinas:
- Choosing your ocarinas chamber tonic and breath curve
- Common problems to avoid
- Methods for tuning 10, 11, 12 and 4 hole ocarinas
- Dealing with weak high notes in 12 hole ocarinas
Finishing, firing and glazing your ocarinas:
- An introduction to the firing process
- Obtaining a smooth professional finish
- Glazing your ocarinas
- Tuning ocarinas to concert pitch
- Improving the tuning of cross-fingered accidentals
- Avoiding problem arias in your ocarina designs
The ocarina debugger:
- An outline of all common ocarina problems and solutions
- How to fix your non playing, squeaking and pitch jumping ocarinas
- Improving your ocarinas high notes
- Charts for European, Asian and inline style 10 hole ocarinas
- Charts for Taiwanese and Japanese style 12 hole ocarinas
- Charts for 4, 5 and 6 hole English pendent ocarinas
The Art Of Ocarina Making is written in plain english illustrated with hundreds of detailed photographs and diagrams.
It is available as an affordable E-book for £13.99:
And in paperback for £22.95:
Why make ocarinas? As there is little constraint on there physical shape they offer a fantastic platform for functional art. They can be customized to create your own unique designs from the simple to full blown sculptural art. For an example of what is possible, take a look at the muse and little wing from songbird ocarina. As very few are taking advantage of this, there is a lot of room for development.
You may think that ocarina making requires a great deal of experience with music, nothing could be further from the truth. With the right technical grounding quality ocarinas can be made by anyone.
Well made transverse ocarinas are also easy to play and can be used for most musical genres. They are a fantastic casual instrument and anyone can learn to play them, even I did after thinking for years that I was naturally bad at music. Just pick up and play to break up your day.
Robert Hickman has forever changed the online ocarina community with this book. We are a very small community and a good number of us eventually try our hand at making an ocarina at some point. Going forward, whenever anyone raises the question: "Hey, how does one go about learning to make an ocarina?", and you can search the online forums and see that this question gets asked frequently, the answer will now be: "Well, first you need to get Hickman's book. What? You don't have it yet? Go buy the book, because any questions you ask before reading The Art of Ocarina Making are a waste of time." Read full review ».
I have made it through Chapter I :The Basics, and may I just say that already, this is the most splendid guide to ocarina construction that I have ever had the pleasure of reading! I love that not only are there detailed instructions written in clear easy-to-follow English, but there are pictures illustrating every step of the process!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! I look forward to reading the rest!!!
WOW. I'm about 3/4ths the way through and have learned SO MUCH. Can not wait for the weekend to start so I can start applying this to the mold I've already made. Definitely, *definitely* worth buying!