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Author Topic: Hello from Nampa, Idaho, USA  (Read 11657 times)
BillB
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« on: December 10, 2008, 09:49:51 pm »

Hello one and all,

Well, I guess my first post should appropriately be an introduction.

Prior to the ocarina, I've played the guitar and autoharp. I wanted something more portable, and that led me to the ocarina.

I've had my Mountain Ocarina for somewhat over a year now, I think. (I have trouble remembering how long it's been for anything!) I would rate myself a very basic beginner, still working on my fingering and such. I've just not been able to dedicate the time I should, and that made me lax with my playing and practicing. Poor MOM, she must have had to give up on me!  Wink

I have always had a love of music, and it's the one thing that I really regret not being able to enjoy as easily as the rest of you. I'm completely deaf, I can't hear. Nothing. My audiogram is one of those rare ones with nothing at all on them. I wonder, does that also make me tone deaf?  Roll Eyes

Despite that, I still carry my ocarina (polycarbonate G) with me daily to and from work. From time to time I get it out and try and remember what I've forgotten and try to play with it. The recent video lesson was a great help in seeing a few things I'd misunderstood and I'm hoping this will get me back into some kind of regular practice mode.

When I do play, I play where others can't hear me. I want to get my fingering down and stuff before I risk playing for anyone else. I do ask my wife from time to time to listen, tho.

Best,

Bill B.


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RW_eagle
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 09:58:50 pm »

Welcome to the forum Bill.  Like you I try to practice with no one around, but now with the magical Mountain Ocarina Silencer, I was practicing in front of my wife with a sleeping baby in her arms, and didn't disturb either. Grin

Rob W.


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Secretagentdan
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2008, 10:13:26 pm »

Welcome bill! Glad you decided to join the forum! You have an interesting story to tell! This is a great place to chat about ocarinas, life, music, etc. We're a tight group and everyone is friendly and fun to talk to! Peace, and good to hear from you! Daniel in Omaha, Ne


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Peace, Shalom, and Salaam to all here at MO forum!
ubizmo
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 01:12:27 am »

Hi Bill, and welcome to this melting pot!  I guess I'll be the one to ask this question: Since you are completely deaf, what motivates you to practice at all, or even to take up a musical instrument like the MO? I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around it.  I know that hearing-impaired people can sense vibrations in concert halls and similar settings, but I would think that the little ocarina wouldn't give you enough feedback to work with.  Am I wrong?

It's wonderful to see the diversity in this forum.

ubi


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Karl B
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 05:05:34 am »

Greetings Bill.

Welcome to this forum.  You'll find lots of help and support all over the forum. There are many knowledgeable members here.

Be sure to check out this topic:

Mountain Ocarinas Tabs, go to: http://octabs.appspot.com/scores/ 

if you haven't already.  You'll find some tabs there which will give you confidence to keep on practicing.  (They do me.)

Again welcome.

Karl B


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BillB
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2008, 05:03:35 pm »

Well, no, you're not wrong, Ubi. There's actually very little feedback from the ocarina, which both intrigues and frustrates me. My other instruments I can play and get some feedback from the soundboxes held against my torso, but the ocarina.... With this one I don't have much choice other than to work into repitition and focus on technique.

Mostly what I do applies across the board for me, but it goes like this:  1) get the sheet music, tabulation, or ABC tune notation for the music and read it. 2) start memorizing the notes involved and their sequence. 3) start fingering them and playing them. 4) re-read and practice fingering until I don't have to work too hard to go from note to note. 5) start working on speed, flow, proper fingering, proper playing. 6) try the cacophony out on my wife until she either tells me I have it right or looks at me like I'm standing between a she-bear and her cub. 7) Repeat 4-5-6 until I've got it memorized and am playing smoothly. Cool toss it and find some other music to learn. 9) revisit from time to time just to keep it in a decent sound.

At least that's the theory. I get lazy and frustrated and don't practice as much as I should so I'm more often than not stuck on 3.5.

Now for your first question. Without trying to make like a professional speaker, "that's a very good question". I've had several people ask me that and the answer seems to be constantly evolving. Music is the only thing I envy hearing people. For some reason, it fascinates me and I'm just too stubborn to let it pass me by. I'd always been exposed to music by my parents and I think I picked up an attraction to it before I became deaf at 4 and it never lost its allure. Music just fascinates me: the power that music has, the ways music can affect people, the serenity it provides, the excitement it provides..... I also enjoy the artistic beauty of music even though I can't hear it or truly appreciate all the subtleties like you might. So, I try writing music as well. It is addictive, enough that I've even attempted some programming to translate audio files into visual representations. (Yeah, I qualify for geekdom also.) Music is at once calming and enervating for me. Plus I'm stubborn. Smiley It's a hard question to answer without writing a book trying to figure it out.

Bill B.

I guess I'll be the one to ask this question: Since you are completely deaf, what motivates you to practice at all, or even to take up a musical instrument like the MO? I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around it.  I know that hearing-impaired people can sense vibrations in concert halls and similar settings, but I would think that the little ocarina wouldn't give you enough feedback to work with.  Am I wrong?


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BillB
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2008, 05:12:32 pm »


Karl,

AWESOME! Just plain awesome! I'll have to play around in there and learn more, but the first look has got me hooked. There's some music I will likely grab and learn, but most of my current interest isn't there. So...given my ABC tune notation library (small at the moment but specific to my interests) I just have to ask:

Any idea where this "font" is and how I can get at it??? I've been sort of playing around with creating a way to do this, and now I don't want to re-invent the wheel. I want to steal it! (If I can't get it nicely Wink )

Another question... can one feed ABC notation into this? That would be perfect, there's a lot of ABC notated tunes out there and using them to generate this type of "sheet music" could be very beneficial.

Bill B.

P.S. If access to the font or a downloadable editor is provided at the site, I'll find it eventually, I'm just so excited at seeing that layout I didn't really dig down into it yet.


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Cliff
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 05:56:35 pm »

Hi Bill,

Cliff here. We've exchanged some email a little while back . Good to see you on the forum.

I wrote this little app. Sounds like your a coder as well. It is written in python running inside google's "cloud based" app hosting environment. Very cool stuff:

http://code.google.com/appengine/

There is not "font." Just images that I drew and turned into gifs. You can download the gifs from the app, or I can zip them and email them to you.

I built a crude way to bring abc in and translate it into mo. That's how I get stuff in. There's a "New ABC Tab" link:

http://octabs.appspot.com/abcin/

That will let you paste in ABC. It's rough, quick and dirty. backslashes which are used in much abc at end of lines will choke it. Easy enough to fix, but haven't got around to it.

You wouldn't happen to hack python yourself would you?

If you have public domain tunes you'd like to convert and share, the app will store them and make them available to all  Grin Grin which would be great.

I need to make some instructions on how to use the app soon so others can pitch in  Grin






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BillB
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 06:15:07 pm »

Hi Cliff,

Yep, that we did, exchange e-mails a while back. Here and there.

If you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if you could e-mail me the gifs for that tab application.

I had noticed the New ABC Tab and realized what it was. Now I'm trying to figure out what the iPhone Tab is! Don't have an iPhone, tho.

As to Python, not really too much yet. Most of my coding was in Pascal, C, C++, Java, JavaScript (and so also HTML). However, I've downloaded and installed Python and am hoping to get into it more.

I like to learn by doing rather than studying, so if I can help you out with the ABC importation stuff and get immersed into Python at the same time, I'd be glad to try tackling that pesky backslash.

I noticed that Spatolo has also been tweaking the code, so some sort of control will be necessary on your part to ensure any merges happen rather than overwriting each other's code. But geek that you are, I'm sure you're already aware of that.

As to tunes, I plan to keep working on my music writing and if I get any I'm happy enough with, I'll be sure and post them on the MO site for others to enjoy/criticize.

Bill B.


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ubizmo
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 08:14:09 pm »

It's a hard question to answer without writing a book trying to figure it out.

I would love to read that book.

There are a thousand questions I'd love to ask, all of them no doubt overly intrusive.  But if you don't mind, I'll just ask one...

You lost your hearing at age 4, so you have some memory of music.  With the exception of a few musical prodigies (you may be one), the musical sensibilities of 4 year-olds aren't very well developed.  I'm pretty sure that when I was 4, "The Farmer in the Dell" was a musical peak experience for me.  Between then and now, I imagine your musical tastes have evolved, but I can't help wondering how that evolution took place, and where it led you.

Your story is much in my mind, and I hope you do write that book.

ubi


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shan
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2008, 10:34:40 pm »

I think Oliver Sachs talks about deafness and music appreciation in "Musicophilia" (fairly recent book of his).  I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in music. 


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ubizmo
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2008, 10:58:40 pm »

I'm reading that book, but I'm not up to that chapter yet!

ubi


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BillB
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2008, 11:25:46 pm »

Shan, I'll have to hunt up a copy of that book, then!

Ubi, I don't mind talking about being deaf and my experiences. So, feel free to ask any question and if I consider it overly intrusive I'll just say so and not answer it.

Geez, Ubi! You don't ask yes/no questions, do you?  Grin

I have to counter your first statement, though. I have no remembrance of music or indeed any sounds. I do not remember what anything sounds like at all, except one thing. Even there, though, I do not know if it's an actual memory or a built-up memory based on what I've been told and/or read.

I seriously doubt I'm any sort of prodigy, either. Just ask my wife and kids.

What can I can say about my musical evolution? I think the guiding parameters were what I could work with plus the amount of work I was willing to devote to it. That plus a fascination with music. As a result, though I can (could would be more appropriate) play the guitar and autoharp I tended to prefer stuff that told a story, such as sagas, folk, shanties, and the like. I like mythology, so that influences my interests quite a bit in music as well.

I preferred learning slower music as I don't have as much fear of making a mistake because I can take a little longer to decode the music and make the necessary motions to play it. Admittedly, this is as much a reflection on my practice as anything: if I'd get off my duff and practice more, I could easily learn and play faster pieces. Yet, I think that another link to slower music is that I can more easily enjoy it while playing it.

From listening by feel, I tend to prefer the same plus classical music as that just has a feel I like. Obviously I'm not feeling every nuance a mature Classicist would hear in the music, but I also like the fact that much of what I consider classical relates if not actually tells a story. For example I enjoy the feeling of Der Ring des Nibelungen and am also familiar with the mythology the cycle is based on. Whether I like the music because of the mythology or whether I like the music for itself is probably resolvable with some heavy thought, but at the moment I couldn't really say which drives the other. Maybe it's just because it's Old Music and that's why I'm also so interested in Celtic music.

Hmmm. I think I'm rambling now. It's Friday and time to close up and go home for the weekend.

Bill B.


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Spatolo
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2008, 11:33:40 pm »

Hey hey cliff not so fast. OK, you only coded it, but I had the idea; so 95% of the credit for the tablature system goes to me.

And now, Bill! Welcome to the forum!

You're adventure with the ocarina is one of the craziest I ever read about.
The ocarina!
While, say, a digital keyboard is a well tuned instrument (I mean that if you press one key you just get that pitch!) the ocarina is VERY sensitive to blowing pressure - actually I don't know of any wind instrument more sensitive to pressure than that; ubizmo which plays all the wind instrument on hearth could probably confirm this. With the ocarina you can vary the pitch you get by at least half a tone! So being able to hear is more crucial with the ocarina than with any other instrument probably. If with a keyboard you could "only" take care about pressing keys at a giving time, with the ocarina you throw in the mix a huge complexity; remembering which air speed to use for every note... to simplify it!
What you are doing is just... unbelivable. A deaf ocarina player. Man, you must be an interesting one to know. I hope you'll stick to the forum!

Shan: I think I'll get that book. I noticed it in a bookstore and it looked interesting, now I have no doubts. Thanks god (actually, thanks to the publisher) there's an italian edition. Let's hope that the translation is good.

PPS: Bill I noted you posted while I was writing. Der Ring des Nibelungen is one of my favourite operas. For sure my favourite cycle. Only reading it's name moved some emotion in me now. I have many editions of it...ah! Wagner!

I will study it ALL with the ocarina.

Oh, bad luck, the range is not enough. It will be for the next time.  Wink


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BillB
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2008, 10:45:48 pm »

While, say, a digital keyboard is a well tuned instrument (I mean that if you press one key you just get that pitch!) the ocarina is VERY sensitive to blowing pressure - actually I don't know of any wind instrument more sensitive to pressure than that; ubizmo which plays all the wind instrument on hearth could probably confirm this.

LOL! Spatolo, I had discussed that very issue with Cliff for a while before actually making my purchase. My understanding is that the Mountain Ocarinas are a little (lot?) more forgiving than other ocarinas in this respect. Even so, this is just another part of the technique that needs to be learned and tweaked. Just like on the guitar where you pluck a string harder or softer for a specific result - that's not always noticeable by feel via the soundbox for me. With the ocarina, I just have to try and make sure that I blow with reasonably consistent force.

You know what's sad about this? Yeah, I'm making music, but in some ways it's very much like mechanical or computer generated music...it sounds right, and sounds OK, but has no soul. I don't think I'm that bad yet  Wink but there are times when I can't help but wonder if that is truly the case of my playing. Certainly my way of learning to play any song lends credence to my having that fear.

Improvisation while playing is an area I've not yet dared venture into!

Bill B.


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