Make an Ocarina with the pinching clay technique
Some years back while I was working for the first time in the Whole Schools Program in Mississippi, I studied the craft of making ocarinas from clay, so that I can teach school children how to make ocarinas. It is a fun project in which children can be challenged. It is also possible to keep them engaged with the object long after they made it. For some it may become a challenge to learn to make ocarinas that is in tune and it is one of those projects that can become a lifelong hobby or even a career, either as a musician or ocarina maker. It is possible to make many other kinds of musical instruments from clay too.
Whistles and ocarinas.
An ocarina is a whistle that can make different musical notes placing your fingers over a set of holes and blowing into the air duct. It is possible to play a tune with at least 1 full octave.
It is good to know how to make a whistle first and once you mastered the single note instrument, you can take the next step to make an ocarina.
The first thing that should happen is that you get sound, so before you get into the musical scale of an ocarina, make sure you make a good whistle. Your first ocarina may be off pitch, since it is a little harder to create the perfect holes, but it is not impossible. To be able to do that, may require some experimentation and a reliable pitchfork.
The most elementary ocarina has 4 holes. The smallest hole is the furthest right side, away from the mouthpiece. Going clockwise the holes should double in size from the previous one in order to obtain one octave. If the sound box (belly) of the ocarina is bigger, the sound is deeper; going higher the smaller the ocarina becomes.
You will need a few basic tools and clay
It is possible to make these ocarinas from a self drying clay although real pottery clay made from earth will be the easiest to use. If you add paper to the clay and seal it afterwards with glue, paint or some kind of lacquer, it will be hard enough to last.
Other tools needed are:
Sharp(point) knife (fettling),
Sharpened flat popsicle stick, or flat bamboo (like a chisel)
Round pencil or dowel stick with a sharp point
Sponge on a stick.
Keep a damp sponge close by to keep your fingers moist and to smear small stretch marks away.
Blow into the air duct to hear a clear sound. If the sound is not clear, it means something is obstructing it.
If the clay is too soft it is difficult to clean out well.
Bear in mind that you need enough space on top to drill a sound hole and at least 4 note holes in;
Form a round belly (sound box) for the ocarina, but the top somewhat square and flat.
Form the sound hole and air duct just as with the whistle. I like to widen my sound hole. It is also a good place to allow debris escape from the inside of the belly.
Beginning with a small hole, as wide as a pencil lead. Double the size when forming each hole, going clockwise.
When you form the air duct, make sure that the air flow is open, by having no obstruction between the sound hole and the air duct.
The sharp beveled edge of the sound hole and the air duct should be level with each other to allow a steady stream of air through.
Tips to be successful with making ocarinas
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