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A duet with my former self

I recently posted my first duet cover on youtube. One of my previous videos (kudos to those who knows which one) has two takes of the same ocarina layered on top of each other. But it’s not the same as mixing a bass and an alto ocarina. I’ve been wanting to make video for a while now as I’ve had my Imperial City Double Bass C ocarina for a while, and I absolutely love it. It has such a calm and earthy tone that is really beautiful. At first I struggled a bit to play it for longer periods because of the size and weight of it. But you get used to it. And now going back to my double alto, it seemed unusually small and I almost fumbled a bit when placing my fingers.
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Transition to wordpress

For a while now there has existed a blog on blogger and a html site on this domain ocari.no. The two sites are now in the process of being replaced by one wordpress site. This is to gather everything under one domain, to make it easier for both you and me. All the blogpost and comments from the old blog have already been transferred here. On this site I will share resources, my thoughts through the blog and more. Everything that was available on the old site will be made available here with time. This is not the final state of this site and I will continue to improve on it as time goes. So feel free to drop in anytime.

Ocarina Documentary

So there’s quite an interesting project on the horizon. At least for the ocarina-geeks among us. A documentary about the ocarina. So the red thread of the documentary is that there has been discovered a complete set of original Donati ocarinas. A septet(seven), hence the name “The Magnificent Seven Ocarina Players”. So Fabio Galliani, ocarinist and the director of the ocarina museum in Budrio, sets out on a journey to find seven great ocarina players and gather them to play at the International Festival of the Ocarina this year. It’s exciting to see anything that might help the ocarina gain popularity.

The documentary has a project going on Indiegogo, which unfortunaly hasn’t seen that much support. So if you want to help the team behind the documentary out, hop on over to indiegogo https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-magnificent-seven-ocarina-players.

You can check out the website for the documentary here. http://www.themagnificentsevenocarinaplayers.com/
The team also run a facebook page with updates on the movie and interesting bits of ocarina history.
https://www.facebook.com/themagnificentsevenocarinaplayers

The ocarina is good for you

So the ocarina is one of the most portable and easy to learn instruments there is. But if you’re not convinced that you should start playing the ocarina, or if you’re looking for motivation to practice more. Then you should consider this. Playing the ocarina is actually good for you. No, I’m not talking about the song of healing or some magic powers. The fact is that your brain benefits from playing an instrument. Now this applies to other instruments as well, but the fact that the ocarina is portable and fairly easy to start with makes a good combo. Check out this video from TED-Ed to see how you’re brain is affected.

Now if that’s not a good reason to keep playing, or to start in the first place, then I don’t know what is.

Wanna Blow an Ocarina No One Can Hear?

I like to search for ocarina related things on the internet from time to time. You never know what you’re going to find, and it’s a good opportunity to learn or discover something new about the ocarina. I wanted to share this tip I found for practicing in Quiet. I’m not sure if it actually works or how well, but here it is. Excerpt below.

Wanna Blow an Ocarina No One Can Hear?
HERE is a contribution that can be extremely useful. It is possible for an ocarina to be played without disturbing anyone. How you ask? Simply by playing it inside a felt hat. Opposite edges of the brim are held together with a safety pin. Next, the ocarina is placed inside the hat. Then the hands go into the openings. As for the mouthpiece, the most favorable method is to let it protrude through a hole made in the top of the hat. I tested this arrangement with a soprano in G, and the loudest tones were almost completely blotted out. Any old felt hat should be large enough for most ocarinas. – R. J., Elgin, Ill.

You can see the publication on google books here. 

Restoring Ocarina History

Recently I was browsing through Giorgio Pacchionis website which has quite a few documents, some of them instructional booklets. One of them is the Music is Fun booklet from Gretsch. But the front page was in bad shape. And some of the other pages had some minor defects too. So I took a go at restoring it with some image editing. And here are the results.

Before
After

You can find a pdf of my modified version here.

An update to the ocarina map

So I thought I’d share an update with you on how this project is coming along. This was a project that I started because I wanted to get a better overview of the different ocarina makers. Especially since ocarinas usually aren’t available in your local music shop, I wanted to be able to find ocarina makers location. I also added markers for sellers, groups, the ocarina museums, vintage makers and for suppliers of clay & tools. Lately I’ve been working on making the site work on different screen sizes. As well as updating the overall look. I’ve also started adding maker marks/stamps to the makerlist on the site. So it’s easier to find the makers of unknown ocarinas.

The downside to this project is that I’m only one person and therefore it takes time to populate the map. I’ve added a google form to the site so people can submit markers themselves. I still have to add them manually. But hopefully the map will grow with time. The map can be found here ocarinamap.cu.cc/. If you want to submit a marker to the map you can do it here.

ABC Notation: text formatted sheet music

This will be a short introduction to my favorite sheet music fileformat, as some might not be familiar with it. It’s called ABC notation and is based on text input which gives it a great deal of advantages in this digital age.

ABC notation easy to share online or in mail. And since it’s only text it barely takes up space. To print or view it as sheet music you need a renderer. There is a lot of them out there, and some of them can even convert other formats to ABC. The one I use is called EasyABC. It has most of the features you can need, but it’s still simple to understand the basics. The ABC-file can be split into two parts the header which contains information about the melody and the actual melody. Below is an example of Scarborough Fair written in ABC.


Here you can see an example of the code above being rendered through a web-plugin.

This is the basics of ABC notation and there are more advanced features available. If you want to learn more about ABC notation or to learn to use it yourself. Check out this link http://abcnotation.com/ where you can also search for ABC-tunes.

Facebook: an answer to musical loneliness

The ocarina is an underdog when it comes to instruments. If you play the guitar or the piano it’s likely you’ll run into someone else who also plays it. But ocarinists are less in number and more spread out. At least here in Europe as the ocarina is most popular in Asia. That is when it’s viewed as a musical instrument and not just as a cosplay prop. There’s a few ocarina groups on Facebook and recently the website ocarinaassociation.org popped up, which focuses on creating local groups to promote the ocarina. Inspired by these initiatives I decided to start a facebook group to gather the ocarinist of Scandinavia. As a means to meet other ocarinist in the near vicinity and not feel so lonely about my hobby. Although there are forums like TheOcarinaNetwork you tend to feel more distanced from the people in a way that you don’t get from Facebook. Currently the group is pretty small but hopefully it will grow soon. For any Scandinavian ocarinists out there who happen to read this, the group can be found here Scandinavian Ocarina Association.

Lucky Draw :D

Recently I participated in the “2013 TONs of Fun Christmas Contest” you can see all the entries to the contest here. There was a lot of contestants and some great entries. The winner was to be voted by the members of the ocarina network. I was lucky to get some votes and got quite motivated by the feedback. I could see that i wasn’t among the top, but it was fun to participate and to see the other entries. There were some great entries.

Today the winners were announced. You can see them here. As I checked the results I could happily see that I had won the random raffle. The prize is the one who is left after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place have chosen their price. But they’re all good prizes so no worries there. I’m excited 😀 I’ll be sure to give an update when it arrives on my doorstep.