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Mountain Ocarinas Forum => General Ocarina Discussion => Topic started by: Calculus on January 06, 2013, 12:34:27 pm



Title: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Calculus on January 06, 2013, 12:34:27 pm
Apparently, the Pro-Range should include, but not be limited to the standardized range of a recorder. They would start on a comparable note and have a comparable ease of playing on the major scale associated with it. Everything I've read says, given standard fingering, recorders only have a two octave (like from c to c to c) range, and a very stable pitch. At least some recorders in very skilled hands can play higher, although the fingering is not standardized. Pitch bending with breath pressure on the MOs allows for an approximate range of from half a tone flat to half a tone sharp for every fingered note. This means it has more standardized range and it can be played in tune, unlike what seems to be nearly all recorders. I don't mean to insult recorder makers; it is in the instruments nature to be difficult to tune. Given the price range of quality recorders, the 300-400 dollar price range is completely appropriate for the first Pro-Ranges. (hopefully, eventually, a cheaper polycarbonate will be made.) The Pro-Range should DEFINITELY be advertised at least in part as a (nearly) complete recorder substitute. Obviously, the fingering and range differences and differences between vessel and tubular fipple flutes will have to be noted, but they would probably be viewed as overall, or at least situational bonuses by over 90 percent of experienced recorder players. An exception would be a loss of the range above the two octaves, which is irrelevant to all but the most skilled (slight disadvantage) and the people who have to put up with the unskilled attempts to use this range (lifesaver). There is a LOT of recorder music out there for novice and beginner musicians. It seems that most, if not all Renaissance music playable on a recorder would also fit on a Pro-Range. Baroque recorder music might be significantly less playable though, due to the expanded solo range and necessity of rather large recorders for groups.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 06, 2013, 01:59:11 pm
I don't know where you are getting your information, but if the lowest note were a C, that would be a limiting factor. A recorder (tuned in C) is two octaves up from C below the staff to C above the staff. A better range for a two octave ProRange tuned in C would be from A below the staff to A above the staff.

It is actually very easy to play two octaves on a recorder once you master the partially covered thumb hole.  The fingering from F on up is the same as the low notes (the high E can be played with two different fingerings).

I think we will all have to wait for Karl to actually tell us the straight dope on the ProRange.

Apparently, the Pro-Range should include, but not be limited to the standardized range of a recorder. They would start on a comparable note and have a comparable ease of playing on the major scale associated with it. Everything I've read says, given standard fingering, recorders only have a two octave (like from c to c to c) range, and a very stable pitch. At least some recorders invery skilled hands can play higher, although the fingering is not standardized. Pitch bending with breath pressure on the MOs allows for an approximate range of from half a tone flat to half a tone sharp for every fingered note. This means it has more standardized range and it can be played in tune, unlike what seems to be nearly all recorders. I don't mean to insult recorder makers; it is in the instruments nature to be difficult to tune. Given the price range of quality recorders, the 300-400 dollar price range is completely appropriate for the first Pro-Ranges. (hopefully, eventually, a cheaper polycarbonate will be made.) The Pro-Range should DEFINITELY be advertised at least in part as a (nearly) complete recorder substitute. Obviously, the fingering and range differences and differences between vessel and tubular fipple flutes will have to be noted, but they would probably be viewed as overall, or at least situational bonuses by over 90 percent of experienced recorder players. An exception would be a loss of the range above the two octaves, which is irrelevant to all but the most skilled (slight disadvantage) and the people who have to put up with the unskilled attempts to use this range (lifesaver). There is a LOT of recorder music out there for novice and beginner musicians. It seems that most, if not all Renaissance music playable on a recorder would also fit on a Pro-Range. Baroque recorder music might be significantly less playable though, due to the expanded solo range and necessity of rather large recorders for groups.


Title: Re: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: ubizmo on January 06, 2013, 11:19:18 pm
A soprano/descant recorder's standard range is C5 to D7, at least. That is, the findings in that range are standard. I don't think E7 varies much either. But it takes a lot of skill to play those notes cleanly.

Assuming a range of C5 to C7, the Pro-Range will be able to play all Renaissance music for recorder, 95% of Irish whistle music, and a very large chunk of Baroque recorder music. Whether it will handle all that music effectively depends on more things than range, but I'm optimistic. I think the Pro-Range will have an appeal that goes way beyond the ocarina community.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: kypfer on January 06, 2013, 11:32:23 pm
I'm not sure I follow the OP's train of thought ... it seems to be based on a series of poorly made assumptions and "incomplete facts" ... rather like those surveys that ask "which do you prefer, A, B or C?" without giving the opportunity for "none of the above"!

A "quality" descant recorder is easily available for around a fifth of the suggested price, a plastic one for significantly less.

Recorders are not difficult to "tune" (or play in tune) ... pitch-bending is not usually considered to be a positive aspect unless the instrument is manufactured off-key!

If anyone wants a "recorder substitute" ... get a "normal" side-blown flute, it'll do everything a recorder will do plus another octave up and a note or two below!!

A "pro-range" Mountain Ocarina should be just what it says on the tin ... a Mountain Ocarina first and foremost, sturdy and easily portable ... with a few extra notes added  ;)


Title: Re: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: ubizmo on January 07, 2013, 01:52:25 am
No ocarina can be a substitute for a recorder or a whistle in every respect, since these instruments have other properties that have nothing to do with range, and these properties give then advantages and disadvantages for various kinds of music.

But there is some overlap. And some music, notably folk music, doesn't have to be played on specific instruments to sound right. The ocarina necessarily suffers in the area of dynamIcs, and there isn't much that can be done about it. But not all music needs a lot of contrasts in dynamics. As always, it's about picking the right instrument for the job.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Calculus on January 07, 2013, 04:07:24 am
They are not very out of tune even on the $10 yamaha students, but with a good ear, or in certain relatively common circumstances, it is fairly easy to tell most recorders are slightly off pitch. If someone with an average ear played solo, they almost certainly wouldn't even notice. I could be wrong, but it seems there are slight variations between different models on the fingerings for the C sharp and D above the first two octaves. The recorder has a standard non-professional range that possibly includes those two notes, if not slightly more. By substitute, I meant that it could play similar music in a similar way, to the point that any piece for the main instrument (within reasonably defined bounds) could easily be adapted to the substitute. Any Renaissance recorder should be easily substituted for with a Pro-Range. It will sound different, but you can play any Renaissance recorder piece with it. I am not saying it IS a Renaissance recorder or as good as it for those pieces. Provided you transpose all involved instruments equally, even different keys would not be a huge problem.

Pat noted that I have used non-public information on the Pro-Range. I was not aware it was still non-public. I am logically forced to admit this or lie, and I am not a good liar, so I will post some information which can easily be deduced. Please don't kill me Karl.

Me:

I've done some thinking and figured out that assuming the Pro-Range  C's bottom C is the same as the non-Pro-Range C, has two higher Cs,  that the breath reducing and fipple bending work at least as well on the bottom C to lower the pitch, and that it is fully chromatic, it will at least be able to play every note the other two can play. Can you tell me if these assumtions are correct? (...) notes lower than the B played with fipple bending (...)

Karl:

Your assumptions are correct. The pro-range C plays a chromatic range of C to C to C, and you can play a low B by blowing softer/dropping your jaw. (...)

The (...) stuff is not easy to deduce, so I will check to make sure it is OK to post publicly.

I will also tell you that he did not explicitly mention unofficial notes lower than B, even though I asked about them. I can easily hit a low A on the Poly C.
 

EDIT: forgot to add:

I don't think it should be primarily advertised as a recorder substitute at all. I simply think that advertising it's compatibility with certain types of music written for recorder would help. The MO is already advertised as a bagpipe substitute.

Quality wooden recorders seem to start at somewhere under $100 and go to well over a grand on what websites I've looked at. The Pro-Ranges are not even close to being mass-manufactured, and I don't think you could consider them anything other than top-tier for quality.






Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 07, 2013, 01:12:14 pm
I wouldn't be disappointed in the range Karl told you IF I could easily hit a low A, for me that is the "missing note" on a lot of tunes I like - I can do the regular low B fairly easily, but how do you hit the low A on the poly?  I understand the acute bend on an instrument with the fipple on the bottom, what is the technique for an instrument with the fipple on top? It would seem, as somebody said in another thread, that the equivalent of that would be to put your hand over the fipple, which does not seem practical.  I guess I will have to try that one again, so does it involve dropping your jaw and blowing even softer than for the B?

I think the ocarina is unique, and not a recorder "substitute."  I just enjoyed picking up the inexpensive Yamaha after 40 years of not even holding a recorder in my hands, and finding it to be a a real musical instrument and not a toy. 

Any inside info on schedule for the ProRange?  All Karl said in an email to me was 'after the holidays."


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: kypfer on January 07, 2013, 02:41:28 pm
Quote
Any inside info on schedule for the ProRange?

It would appear Karl has been working on this for around 10 years or more (see http://www.patentgenius.com/patent/6914179.html ) ... I doubt he'll be in any rush to make finite promises until he's good and ready  ;)


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Calculus on January 07, 2013, 03:11:41 pm
I just tried to contact Karl now to see how badly I messed things up with the information I posted.

Raise the bottom of the ocarina up in an arc (about 45 degrees for A) around the point where your lips touch the top (you may have to adjust your lips a little too) and play softly to lower the B. A is about as low as I can easily go on the C and it gets much harder after that.

He did not explicitly mention any note lower than the low B nor did he define the release date.

Edit (additional): A to A (easiest to play in in A minor/C major) would certainly be better for some things, and I too would like one with that range, but major scale based tuning is far more common on similar instruments. A bunch of tin whistle music (transposed to C) would need the highest B flat, B and C if I'm not mistaken. I think most people, including me, would want a B-C-C-C Ocarina. One starting on A flat with the same range would certainly be nice, but it probably would not be as demanded. If it weren't for the similar instrument ranges of the tin-whistle and other instruments like it, I might prefer the one starting on A flat if I had to choose only one. I'm pretty sure Karl wants the extra tin-whistle music playable on one of his MOs. I'm also certain it would be what I'd consider a royal PITA to redesign the Pro-Range to start on A flat.

As I have stated, I have more information, but I have to check with Karl about posting it on the forums if he lets me live.

I do not like to violate the privacy of e-mails. He never said that I should not post this information on the forums, but he never said I could either.


Title: Re: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: ubizmo on January 07, 2013, 06:24:38 pm
I can play down to A4 on my MO without too much trouble, by tipping it up, so that my lip overshadows the sound hole. The position of the sound hole on the Pro-Range will determine whether this is feasible.

It's no secret that Karl loves Celtic music, and being able to play most of the whistle repertoire on the MO is a priority for him (and for me too, as I've between playing a lot of ITM the pat few months). I don't think I've ever needed Bb in either octave, but I do sometimes need Cnat7, as in "The Sailor's Wife". D7 is rare. B6 is needed a lot. The vast majority of whistle music is from D5 to B6.

More important than range is chamber overlap, to allow fluid transitions and ornaments. Karl will have more to say about that when he announces the Pro-Range.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Calculus on January 07, 2013, 06:59:44 pm
He just told me I was not sworn to secrecy. The other info is hard to type on a phone. I will post the resst of the info in a new topic when I get a chance, but other than the low g version and incompatibility with warmstone, there isn't much that is suprising.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 07, 2013, 07:20:35 pm
Of course, fipple on top, tip it up not down for the low A...duh. Slap forehead here.

I called MO this morning to see if I could get on a list for the ProRange, and Susan called Karl up (he was down polishing hardwood), so we had a brief chat.  There is a list and you can get on it.  From our conversation, I am pretty sure this will be a single chamber, Karl mentioned his aversion to doubles and how they interfere with fluidity and especially improv.  The main thing is, this is real and not just in the "something nice to do" category. He said we could hear from them within "a couple of months" and the price will be between $300 and $400.  He almost apologized for the price point.  I said I did not think any of us would be shocked by that...



Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: 4efs on January 07, 2013, 08:44:58 pm
Here Pat if this makes it any clearer... :)



I actually had a dream about getting the Pro Range night before last. Nah, I'm not really obsessed....

edit: Why can't I make it put the video with the arrow like everyone else can?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=J5P6A6V0y4M


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Calculus on January 07, 2013, 08:48:38 pm
I'll just post the additional info on this topic. The poly Pro-range is on the to-do list, but will require a lot of resources they don't think they will have anytime soon. The G version is planned for what seems like a shorter time away from now. The only materials he mentioned as possibilities were the standard MO hardwood (the current plan) and, for special orders he might be able to use G-10. (some knife handle material or something) I'll quote the rest of the relevant info from Karl. I asked about a poly model and gave my reasons for loving them. This is the response I got:


I hear you! I love how tough, water-resistant, scratch-resistant, light, and INEXPENSIVE our polycarbonate ocarinas are.  Actually, what kept me from bringing the pro-range to the market for the longest time is that I wanted to save enough money to invest in injection mold tooling so that we could make the pro-range ocarinas affordable for the average person. However, getting quality injection molding tools made is, financially, like buying a luxury car and, time-wise, like building a house. To get it done right, you have to babysit the process from beginning to end. For a tiny company like ours, it's a huge commitment of time and resources, resources that we don't have. In addition, once the tool is made, it's difficult and costly to make any changes to the design.

Well, years have gone by and Mountain Ocarinas just isn't getting any closer to my dream of producing easily-affordable pro-range ocarinas, so I made a decision. Initially, the pro-range ocs would have to be relatively rare and expensive.  If I wait until we have the money for tooling, this project will never happen.  

On the positive side, dymondwood pro-range ocs will be tough, gorgeous, and probably a lot lighter than you imagine. On the downside, they'll be way too expensive for the average customer (probably $300 to $400). I hate that they'll be so expensive, but I decided that I didn't want to die before I brought my dream ocarina to the market.  My hope is that the world will eventually love them as much as I do and sales will someday justify investing in expensive tooling. Who knows?!  It could happen. Time will tell.

This email won't be much of a consolation to you, but maybe some day we'll be able to make an affordable polycarbonate pro-range ocarina for you. I hope so.

End Quote

(edit add) I hope the G comes out relatively soon after the C, for the Irish Traditionalists. I personally will be getting the C. I hope I'll be able to get the G as well when it comes out. Except for the high A and A flat, and the difference between dorian and normal minor, the G will probably work like an A minor oc like pat wanted.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 08, 2013, 01:36:45 am
It does, thanks so much!  Got the idea, now I just have to practice doing it! 

Here Pat if this makes it any clearer... :)



I actually had a dream about getting the Pro Range night before last. Nah, I'm not really obsessed....

edit: Why can't I make it put the video with the arrow like everyone else can?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=J5P6A6V0y4M



Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 08, 2013, 01:38:00 am
Also, the patent info is great too! Check this description (copy and paste):

1. A flute, comprising: a first chamber in which sound is resonated; a second chamber in which sound is resonated; and a bisected tonehole disposed at and shared by saidfirst chamber and said second chamber, said bisected tonehole being configured such that a first bisected portion facilitates airflow communication only through said first chamber and a second bisected portion facilitates airflow communication onlythrough said second chamber, said bisected tonehole being coverable by a single finger of an operator's hand.

Two chambers but airflow directed by bisected tone holes!  So it will be a multichamber but play very much like like a single chambered instrument.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: ubizmo on January 08, 2013, 04:42:44 pm
Also, the patent info is great too! Check this description (copy and paste):

1. A flute, comprising: a first chamber in which sound is resonated; a second chamber in which sound is resonated; and a bisected tonehole disposed at and shared by saidfirst chamber and said second chamber, said bisected tonehole being configured such that a first bisected portion facilitates airflow communication only through said first chamber and a second bisected portion facilitates airflow communication onlythrough said second chamber, said bisected tonehole being coverable by a single finger of an operator's hand.

Two chambers but airflow directed by bisected tone holes!  So it will be a multichamber but play very much like like a single chambered instrument.

This also explains why the construction of these instruments is such a time-intensive undertaking. These bisected tone holes have to be exactly right, or the tuning will be off. This is true of any ocarina, of course, but this design is more complex and therefore more error-prone.

We think of the ocarina as a "primitive" instrument, but the Pro-Range will have to be made with as much care as what goes into a handmade wooden recorder.


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: kypfer on January 08, 2013, 09:50:01 pm
Before our pundits start waxing lyrical about bisected tone holes (or not, as the case might be), please do note that I posted the link to the patent to emphasise just how long Karl had been working on improving the Mountain Ocarina ... not necessarily to demonstrate any aspect of the current design  :-[


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 09, 2013, 12:13:24 am
You are right but the patent information is consistent with everything we know and that Karl has said, and I would imagine that Karl would want to have patent protection for an instrument with a novel design - did you find any patent other than this one?

Before our pundits start waxing lyrical about bisected tone holes (or not, as the case might be), please do note that I posted the link to the patent to emphasise just how long Karl had been working on improving the Mountain Ocarina ... not necessarily to demonstrate any aspect of the current design  :-[


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: kypfer on January 09, 2013, 07:23:43 am
Quote
... patent protection for an instrument with a novel design - did you find any patent other than this one?
Prompted by a posting on a similar subject on another forum, I simply searched for "Karl Ahrens" + patent and came up with three results, this one and two earlier ones. That's not to say that there aren't other relevent patents held by someone else, being used under license, for instance, or even features that are considered to be non-patentable, but possibly novel in this circumstance.

Please do realise, I have no "inside" information, I'm simply trying to add to a discussion  :)


Title: Re: Pro-Range>Standardized recorder range
Post by: Pat Anderson on January 09, 2013, 01:55:13 pm
Well, we are all just like little puppies, watching expectantly to snap up any scrap thrown our way!