How do I switch chambers smoothly on a multichamber ocarina?
While the action of switching chambers appears to be simply sliding the ocarina from side to side, there is more to it. When in playing position the ocarina is pressed lightly against the lips, if this pressure is maintained while switching the mouthpiece will grip against the lips, pulling on the skin and makes switching harder. Chamber switching is easier if this pressure is released, so the process to switch chambers is as follows:
- Slightly move the ocarina away from the lips, such that the mouthpiece is not touching them. This distance should be minimal, only what is required to break contact.
- Move to the desired windway.
- Move the mouthpiece back into contact with the lips.
This does feel awkward to begin, but like everything it gets easier after a few days. While switching chambers it is a good idea to stop the airflow with the tongue. However this can be done very lightly to create a legato switch.
As your skill improves you will reduce the amount that you move the ocarina from your lips. The main thing is to reduce the pressure against the skin and consequently friction.
Special notes for plain-finish ocarinas
The rougher surface of plain clay slides over skin far more easily than a smooth surface, though it can still cling if moisture is present. This can be addressed by touching your lips to the ocarinas mouthpiece for some time before playing; the porous clay will absorb any moisture present. Always keep your head and the ocarina up, looking down can allow saliva to run onto the lips/mouthpiece.