Pure Double Alto D ocarina

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Pure ocarinas is not currently taking orders, I have been working on developing this business almost constantly for over two years and am taking a break. Normal service will return mid to late August. This does not affect current orders.

The double alto D is an evolution of my single alto D. It is tuned using the Pacchioni system. The second chamber begins on D one octave above the first, This results in an ocarina that closely emulates the playing characteristics of a tin whistle.

The ocarina has a sounding range of C sharp 5 to B6, identical to the sounding range of nearly all Irish tunes, and covering the useful range of most tin whistles.

By tuning the chambers at octaves, you gain two notes of overlap. As a great deal of traditional music is written around the octave break, a part in low octave, b part in high, this massively reduces the need for chamber switching. It also gives you choice in where you place switches, rather than forcing you to have them in a single location. You can also easily trill notes that would otherwise lie across two chambers.

This tuning also means that the ocarina behaves almost identically to a tin whistle regarding finger ornamentation. Every note that can be rolled on a tin whistle can be on this ocarina. Additionally it is possible to roll the first chamber high D using the thumb, impossible on a whistle.

A common practice, especially in slower tunes, is to play a slide from the second octave D to higher notes. With Asian tuning this would entail sliding across chambers which is not easy. As the second chamber begins on D, this ocarina makes it trivial.

It is available in two finishes, ether plain earthenware or with a shellac finish. For ergonomic reasons I much prefer the plain finish. If your fingers or lips become slightly damp they will tend to cling to a sealed surface, which makes sliding fingers and chamber switching unpredictable. This is not a problem with the plain finish as skin will not cling to the rougher surface of plain fired earthenware.

However, you should note that the plain finish does stain easily and cannot be cleaned. I do not find this to be a problem as over time they age to a slightly yellowed appearance similar to old bone. That likeness is frequently cited by people who have seen them. I almost exclusively play plain ocarinas. More on plain ocarinas

Reviews

Excellent Instrument by
Item Rating: 5 of 5

This is, simply put, the finest ocarina I have ever played. I've owned many "high end" ocarinas that are far more expensive than this, but none match the attention to detail to be found here. The ergonomics are perfect, the instrument balances beautifully in the hands, and the chamber balance is excellent. The breath curve is smooth and predictable, the tuning is excellent, and the tone is just the right balance of breathy and pure. It is an absolute joy to play.

Many ocarina makers are artists, and approach the making of their instruments as such. But making sound is also a product of science and engineering, and I believe no other ocarina maker combines the art, science, and engineering of ocarina making the way Robert does. His thoughtfulness and attention to detail are evident in every aspect of the instrument. I cannot recommend this instrument highly enough.