Alto C Ocarina

Pure Ocarinas 11 hole alto C ocarina with a plain finish
Pure Ocarinas 11 hole alto C ocarina with a plain finish A Pure Ocarinas alto C ocarina with a dark blue glaze

Sound Sample

Technical Information

Playing range: B4 to F6

Tuning standard: A440 at 20°C

Weight: 220g

Fingering Chart

Finish Options

Description

The Pure Alto C is an 11 hole ocarina. Pure Ocarinas include many innovations designed to help you play better, including:

Improved Ergonomics

Pure Ocarinas were designed from the start as concert quality musical instruments, and great ergonomics is a key focus. They are carefully balanced to sit comfortably in the hand, with ergonomically placed and angled finger holes.

All Pure Ocarinas have a functional tail and cappello that make it easier to hold the ocarina on the high notes. They can be used in combination with the 3 point grip, a technique that keeps the right hand fingers close to their finger holes when playing the high notes. Using these support points allows large leaps to be played easily.

The physical weight of the ocarina has also been reduced, as it is easier to support a lighter instrument. Learn more about ergonomics --->

11 holes – better tuning and no acute bend needed

Pure Ocarinas deliberately dispense with the second sub-hole found in Asian 12 hole ocarinas. Eliminating this hole allows the instrument to play with a shallow breath curve and balanced timbre across the entire range. Having a shallow and predictable breath curve makes it easier for you to play complex music 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.

Tuning

The tuning of Pure Ocarinas are individually adjusted by hand to ensure an even breath curve over the entire playing range. All glaze is cleaned out of the holes before firing as stray glaze would mess up the tuning.

These ocarinas are tuned to play in a440 concert pitch at 20 degrees centigrade, with a shallow breath curve that is consistent over the instrument's entire range.

How the different finishes feel

It is important to note that different finishes feel different to play. I can summarise as follows:

  • Glazes. Fired glazes are easy to clean and durable, but 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. Natural shellac has been used to finish ocarinas for hundreds of years. It has a better feel than fired glazes, and feels much less sticky under the fingers.
  • Plain. The plain surface of the ceramic. A plain finish is advantageous if you tend to have damp fingers as earthenware is porous. It will absorb finger moisture and keep your fingers dry, resulting in a more consistent feel. Though it does stain over time and 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.

I personally prefer plain finished ocarinas as they have the best feel to me. The staining does not bother me as they age to a slightly yellowed appearance similar to old bone, a likeness frequently cited by people who have seen my instruments.

Reviews

Item Rating: 5 of 5

Sounds beautiful despite my bad playing

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.

A+++


Item Rating: 5 of 5

My new favorite.

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!


Item Rating: 5 of 5

This instrument is magical

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 !


Item Rating: 5 of 5

Excellent ocarina

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.