Pure Alto C Ocarina

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Please note the picture for the 'shellac' option above is temporary and depicts the plain finish. See other products to get an idea what it actually looks like.

The Pure Alto C ocarina was designed, like all Pure Ocarinas, to ease the task of high standard playing. This has been achieved through:

Improved Ergonomics

Pure Ocarinas were designed from the start as serious musical instruments, and great ergonomics are absolutely critical. They are carefully balanced to sit comfortably in the hand, with ergonomically placed and angled finger holes. Reducing the risk of dropping.

The pure alto C includes a functional cappello, an additional support point offering more choice to support the high notes. Using the cappello allows the right hand fingers to remain close to there finger holes when playing the high notes, allowing large leaps to be played easily. In complex tunes, having a wide range of support options allows the best to be used for a given situation, simplifying playing.

The physical weight of the ocarina has also been reduced, as it is easier to support a lighter instrument.

11 holes – better tuning and no acute bend needed

Pure Ocarinas deliberately dispense with the second sub-hole found in Asian 12 hole ocarinas. The range attainable by single chamber ocarinas is limited by the laws of physics and attaining 12 holes requires compromise, typically through introducing a large breath cut on the low end. This results in the low notes being very quiet and muddy sounding, and the low A rarely has musically useful volume outside a recording studio. This cut also makes the low notes hard to play in tune, especially at higher tempo.

Eliminating this allows tuning with an even breath slope across the entire sounding range, without an abrupt breath cut on the low end or high end spike. This greatly eases the task of agile playing with good intonation. Eliminating this hole also allows the ocarina to have strong clear high notes with no need for the acute bend, further improving the ergonomics.

Because of the technical issues, the low A is rarely used in practice. If a tune really requires that note, playing a single or double alto G ocarina is a much better solution.


The tuning of Pure Ocarinas are individually adjusted by hand to ensure an even breath curve over the entire playing range. This would be for nothing if glaze where allowed to stray into the holes, reducing there size, so all glaze is cleaned out of the holes before firing.

How the different finishes feel

Beyond aesthetics the different finishes offered have notably different ergonomic feel. Glazes, being both non-porous and highly smooth trap a layer of moisture between the skin and glaze. This gives the ocarina a 'sticky' or clingy' feel and make smooth finger sliding difficult.

Shellac is non-porous but does not have the 'mirror' smoothness of a fired glaze. It can feel somewhat 'clingy' but considerably less than a fired glaze.

Plain earthenware is porous and consequently absorbs any moisture from your fingers. Because of this sliding movements are very easy. As it will absorb moisture from the hands the ceramic will stain over time. This can only be cleaned by re-firing to burn it out.

Sliding movements on glazed and shellac ocarinas can be made significantly easier by covering your fingers with talk or chalk dust. This serves to absorb any moisture present and prevents the gripping surface of the skin touching the instrument.

Care instructions

Ocarinas are made of earthenware, a porous ceramic. This porosity is desirable as it absorbs moisture in the breath while playing, stopping it clogging the instruments wind-way and accumulating internally.

After playing ocarinas should be kept in the open so that any moisture they have absorbed can evaporate.

Finish care instructions

Do not clean ocarinas using scented cleaning products or anything with a strong chemical smell. Earthenware is porous and will absorb the cleaner. This leaves the instrument with a lingering smell that cannot be removed.

I do not recommend dishwashing ocarinas. The earthenware will become saturated with water, this can cause subtle expansion and craze glazes. The absorbed water will take a long time to evaporate, detergents will remain in the structure of the ceramic causing it to smell.

Glazed ocarinas can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Shellac ocarinas can be wiped with a damp cloth. Do not use alcohol based cleaning products as this will damage the finish.

Plain finished ocarinas cannot be cleaned without re-firing. Do not fire above 1060C as this may change the tuning of the instrument. 600 to 800C is adequate to burn out most organic compounds.


Sounds beautiful despite my bad playing by
Item Rating: 5 of 5
This ocarina is a work of art and the tone and overall sound shows that its not flat at all all notes sound crisp and clear even the high notes and to add on top of that this is easily one of the best if not the best ocarinas I've ever owned and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants a quality instrument to practice their music on or even perform with its that good I've yet to try out a double but plan to buy on in the not too distant future.

My new favorite. by
Item Rating: 5 of 5
I’m hoping I didnt offend Mr. Hickman when I asked about return policies. I’m overly vigilant sometimes. I can assure I will NOT be returning this instrument. The cleanest tone I’ve ever heard and by far one of the most gratifying to play out of my other two ocarinas. Practiacal, smooth, concise and a wonderful trill. Well worth the wait for the time and effort that goes into making these ocarinas. Took me a bit to adjust to that lower split hole, but the transition was made in but a few hours of practice!
This instrument is magical by
Item Rating: 5 of 5
I had the pleasure to meet pure ocarina's founder 2 years ago in Budrio, where his selling shop was only ~ 5 to 6 ocarinas big. I bought an early model of this Alto C, and I must admit that I can't stop playing with it since then.High notes are incredibly easy to reach, the sound has this sweet round tone, and most of all the esthaetic is gorgeous.This ocarina comes with me wherever I go (mostly in the forest) and lets me enjoy a moment of pure joy when I play with it. Thank you, dear craftman, I guess you don't remember me, but please know that with your product, you made my life better. Hopefully we meet again in Budrio, or elsewhere ! Cheers !
Excellent ocarina by
Item Rating: 5 of 5
This Review is for the 10 hole version of this ocarina. I bought the green one.

This is a very good ocarina. Well worth its money.

The ocarina sounds great. The size is remarkably small for an Alto C, which is a good thing (it fits comfortably in a pouch designed for a traditional European 10 hole Soprano F) . Also its weight is really low. The design is well thought-out. Its cappello and the ridge at the right side make it easy to hold the ocarina for the high notes using the technique explained elsewhere on this website.

The 10 hole version of this ocarina features a split hole for the right pinky which makes it easy to play the low C#. The low B is also playable by covering all the holes and using a little bit less breath than for playing a low C. I also managed to play a low Bb, but I admit that I had to reduce my breath so much, that it's a wee bit too silent. But hey, one more note...

Most songs don't need the low Bb nor the low A. And if you do need them in a song it often is a better idea to use another ocarina. for example a Soprano G.

The glazing of the ocarina is outstanding too. You can see that Robert really took his time to remove any glaze from the holes before firing. He also took his time to accurately tune the oc, which makes it a breeze to play along with other (well tuned) instruments, providing you use the right amount of breath pressure of course.

I like the fact that though it is a 10 hole ocarina, the fingering for the high notes stays asian, meaning that the left pinky leaves the oc last, in stead of the right thumb. Another advantage is that if Robert sometimes would decide to sell Alto G or even Base C ocarinas, the left pinky hole wouldn't be so annoyingly huge. Traditional European ocs do have this problem, making those ocarinas unplayable for people with smaller hands. I have average sized hands, but even for me the huge pinky hole makes playing such an ocarina unnecessarily more difficult.

If there really really really must be a thing to be nitpicky about, then the only thing I can come up with is the fact that the ocarina comes with no pouch nor bag whatsoever to transport it. And a fingering chart would be nice too. I know, there is one on this site, though not (yet) for the 10 hole version. Oh well, you can't have it all.

All in all, I highly recommend this ocarina, along with the Alto D and the Soprano G, which are excellent too.