Alto G Ocarina

Pure Ocarinas 10 hole alto G ocarina with a dark blue glaze
Pure Ocarinas 10 hole alto G ocarina with a dark blue glaze

Sound Sample

Not available

Technical Information

Playing range: G4 to C6

Tuning standard: A440 at 20°C

Weight: 250g

Finish Options

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Description

The alto G is a 10 hole ocarina with a lower, more mellow tone compared to higher keyed ocarinas. Ocarinas in G are good for playing a lot of folk music, and the range also fits the entire repertoire of the great highland bagpipe.

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 --->

10 holes – better tuning and no acute bend needed

The Pure Alto G ocarina deliberately dispenses with the subholes found in Asian 12 hole ocarinas. Eliminating these holes 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 these holes 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

Pure Ocarinas G Major Ocarina

From playing the first tentative scale on this instrument I was absolutely astonished with the roundness and beauty of the sound. To me, it sounds as much like a flute as an ocarina.It fits well in the hand and I found it easy to find the finger positions. The split fingering on the lowest G / G# is considerably easier to use and, I think, more accurate than the usual sub-hole method.Monitoring the tuning with an electronic tuning meter showed that the tuning is bang on the money across the range with a gently and linearly rising breath curve.It is great to have instruments designed and made by someone who is both a great instrument maker and a musician.I would recommend this instrument to any discerning ocarina player who's looking for a more mellow sounding ocarina.This ocarina looks good, plays well and sounds gorgeous.


Item Rating: 5 of 5

Pure Alto G Ocarina Review

Pure Ocarinas is a new up and coming line of ocarinas from a long time contributor here on TON, Robert Hickman in the UK. His work is unsurprisingly of the highest caliber and I couldn't be happier to recommend his work for all players. Robert has laboured for a long time on his own designs and is currently working on new models.

First of all, the shape and design of the ocarina is flawless. It's incredibly thoughtful of the player's comfort and for function. The cappello, which is the point at the left end of the ocarina, is moulded beautifully into the structure of the instrument. I have never seen such an attractive cappello ever before in the design of an ocarina. The balance of the ocarina is superb as well making it all the easier to play. Notice the angled windway which tapers to a lovely rectangular shape which fits the mouth easily. Two glazes are currently offered, blue or green, both of which compliment the outstanding aesthetic appeal of this ocarina.

The tone of the ocarina is wonderful. It's smooth, full and round, with just the slightest hint of texture. I'd liken it to a more full sounding Hamlett ocarina which are a bit quieter than this. The finger holes are plotted ideally, and with the smooth glaze, sliding to the one subhole is effortless. Breath demand is stupendous, with a predictable, easy rise in breath to stay in tune from the lowest note to the highest note which sounds easily. No acute bend is needed in the slightest. The ocarina does not even require it for any support. The top note is strong and can be tongued without problem, no matter your posture. Robert offers these with two different breath demands, a low-medium gentle breath curve and a higher breath demand with a steeper curve ideal more for outdoor performance. This is the first of those options and it plays perfectly well for most situations, even a few performances I've used it for in the several weeks I've had it. However, the options are available to you as Robert is an intelligent, informed and confident maker.


I have no criticism of this ocarina. From the moment I played it it was one of my favourite ocarinas I have ever played and I couldn't recommend them with more emphasis. These are perfect for beginners and professionals alike and I foresee more praise coming as Robert begins to sell more of these. Though he has just begun selling his ocarinas, the craftsmanship is evident of a passionate maker and lover of the instrument. PLEASE, if you can get a Pure ocarina, do so. You will never regret it. There are many ocarinas and they appeal to many different tastes. However, I believe these will be absolute crowd pleasers, joining the ranks of other largely popular makes such as Focalink.

This is an ocarina that merges beauty and function. it's simple enough, elegant in it's fine details, and of the highest professional quality.