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The Art of Ocarina Making eBook by Robert Hickman

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Click the book cover for Robert Hickman's website!

Unlike a lot of the more widely known and traditional orchestral musical instruments there are no mass producers of ocarinas.  There are no factories where hundreds of ocarinas roll of an assembly line.  There may be some limited production of plastic toy ocarinas, but even the commercial makers of ocarinas in Asia, where they are more widely accepted and played professionally, are very small operations where the ocarinas are all made and tuned by individual craftsmen.

So most ocarinas, especially the serious professional quality instruments, are made one at time by hand by a few independent makers like myself around the world.  Many people who start out simply desiring to play ocarinas eventually feel the desire to learn how to craft them.  The problem is where to learn how to do it.  While there is information out to be found all over the Internet, it is scattered and fragmentary with many makers not willing to share their proprietary methods.  Robert's book pulls this information together in a logical well written presentation of the craft that is part engineering, part sculpture, part musicianship, and all art.   

The Art of Ocarina Making is an indepth analysis of the process of creating a modern accurately tuned ocarina.  The opening exercise guides the reader through making a simple English crossfingered pendant ocarina, a popular style pioneered by English mathematician John Taylor in the early 1960's.  However, the real value of this book is the coverage of the technical aspects of making a modern tranverse ocarina that can be applied to the construction of either the classic Italian style favored by most European ocarinists, or the modern Asian style which has become so emmensely popular in Asia and the US.

Hickman has forever changed the online ocarina community with this book. We are a very small community and a good number of us eventually try our hand at making an ocarina at some point. Going forward, whenever anyone raises the question: "Hey, how does one go about learning to make an ocarina?", and you can search the online forums and see that this question gets asked quite frequently, the answer will now be: "Well, first you need to get Hickman's book. What? You don't have it yet? Go buy the book, because any questions you ask before reading The Art of Ocarina Making are a waste of time." 

This ebook covers every aspect of ocarina making, including:

  • Frequently asked questions
  • About the ocarina and how it works
  • Tools (and how to improvise many of them)
  • An introduction to working with clay
  • Making your first ocarina (Including a section called "I have no sound, HELP!")
  • Making bodies (by hand and with a mold)
  • The voicing (The technicalities of the wind-way, sound hole and labium)
  • Tuning ocarinas (10, 11, 12 and 4 hole)
  • A feature by Hamlett on the problems with 12 hole ocarinas
  • Finishing and glazing your ocarinas
  • Notes on making concert pitch ocarinas
  • Improving the tuning of cross fingered accidentals
  • Things to avoid when designing your own ocarinas
  • Resolving common ocarina problems
  • Fingering charts for all common ocarina styles

You can visit the web site and read more about this awesome resource and find purchase information.  Just go to https://ocarinamaking.com.