Go to my shopping cart
Our guarantees Forum - Discussion Board Ocarina Lessons about us about our ocarinas ocarina video ocarina sound samples ocarinas and music Home Page
July 16, 2018, 02:30:03 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Join Karl in The 5-Minute Musician's Club™.
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 36
  Print  
Author Topic: Something to talk about...the "ProRange"  (Read 99463 times)
ubizmo
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1922


I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.


WWW
« on: January 15, 2015, 02:16:48 am »

I was going to post this in the other thread, about Why is this Forum So Dead, but decided it deserved a fresh new thread with a less morose title.

The "ProRange" is not, in fact, vaporware. I know because I played a prototype daily for about six weeks before sending it back to Karl, not long before Christmas. I'm posting this now, with Karl's permission, because the PR is very close to ready for release. The reason why I'm posting this instead of Karl is twofold. One part is that I'm excited and want to talk about it and get some buzz going. But Karl's even more excited, so that's not really a good reason. The other reason--the important one--is that Karl doesn't want to be distracted from this important final phase of development. So he said I could go ahead and talk about it!

I'm using the abbreviation PR, and I put "ProRange" in quotation marks, because that will not be the final name of this new instrument. After much discussion and reflection, a different name has been chosen, but Karl will unveil that when the PR is actually launched. So don't get too comfortable with "PR"!

On to the good stuff. The PR prototype that I had is the result of years of experimentation by Karl. A number of other designs preceded it. For the last year or so, I was involved only as a kind of sounding board for ideas, via phone or Skype. I still haven't met Karl in person! It was a tremendous privilege for me to be able to serve as test pilot for the prototype of what is, in fact, the final design.

I can't post pictures or sound samples (I don't actually have any sound samples), but I can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. In general size and shape, the PR is about the size of an iPhone 5, but somewhat thicker. One of Karl's top design priorities was for the instrument to be compact enough to be carried in a pocket or in a holster that isn't cumbersome. With this design, he succeeded. Although the PR is overall thicker than the iPhone, it is tapered in thickness, narrower at the bottom (distal) end. The shape, viewed from above, is rectangular with rounded corners (more rounded than the iPhone's) and the mouthpiece is slightly tapered inward. The general shape could be described as sleek.

There are ten tone holes; eight on top and two on the bottom. The player's hands do not shift from one set of holes to another. The range is two full chromatic octaves, from C5 to C7. There is "chamber overlap" of a minor third, from B to D. That is, the notes B, C, C#, and D can be played on either chamber. This is an incredibly important and useful feature. It takes just a little while to get used to it, and then you find it indispensable.

The top (2nd octave) chamber has a tuning hole at the bottom end. This creates what's sometimes called "chamber balance", which means the breath pressure needed for high C on the bottom chamber is about the same as what's needed for the same note, which is near the bottom of the range of the top chamber. Without that tuning hole, changing chambers would require a sharp breath cut. On the PR, the transition is very smooth. You can play all the way to high C without any feeling of "pushing" or strain. At the low end, the bottom C "bell note" is strong and clear. At no point is there any need for the "acute bend", as needed on some other ocarinas.

The voicing holes are on the bottom. The overall volume of the PR is a bit less than that of the existing MOs. It's not a huge difference, but enough to be noticed. The tone is different from the existing MOs too. It's notoriously hard to describe instrument sounds, but in my view the PR is a bit less "reedy" than the MOs we're used to. Some people described that reedy quality as "buzz"; in any case, there's less of it in the PR, giving it a slightly softer, more flutelike tone. At least, that's how I'd describe it.

Without going into too much technical detail, there were quite a lot of problems to be solved in getting to this design. We think of the ocarina as a simple instrument, but the PR is very much an instrument of the 21st century. The tolerances required to make the instrument work are incredibly fine. Even the material used had to be carefully considered and tested. This is not an instrument that could be made in clay, or even most ordinary woods. Add to that one of Karl's top priorities, which was to develop an instrument rugged enough to be carried around anywhere, and the range of possible materials was narrowed even further. Many ordinary woods, for example, would swell or shrink enough in varying weather conditions to throw the tuning off, given the fine tolerances already mentioned.

In addition, the patented tone hole design places constraints on the positioning of the tone holes, and their positioning in turn affects their size. You can't just put them anywhere and expect them to work. The way in which the chambers have to be configured affects the flow of air, which in turn affects the size of tone holes, tuning, timbre, and everything else. I only grasp the most superficial details of all this, but I learned enough to gain an appreciation of the challenges involved.

Musically, I consider the PR a breakthrough instrument. It's an ocarina, but I think it will have an appeal that extends beyond the ocarina community. I found that I was able to play the usual things that I play, with a lot of added flourishes, thanks to the extra range; but I could also play things that I couldn't touch on the existing MOs, such as Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Wachet Auf." And of course, for those of us here in the US, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is no problem. The very first melody I wanted to try was, of all things, "When You Wish Upon a Star". This song, if played to include the full Jiminy Cricket falsetto at the end, uses the entire range of the instrument, and sounds just lovely.

Karl and I share a love of Irish dance music, and in fact I've been doing a lot of whistle playing in sessions for the past few years (especially low whistle). The ocarina sounds great with this music, but most of it needs more range than any single ocarina, and more efficient playability than other doubles I've tried. But I found myself playing quite a lot of in on the PR prototype. I can't say it was all easy, because a lot of this music just isn't easy; it's fast and complicated. But as I got the hang of the PR I was able to play more and more of it.

So there you are, something new to talk about.

Before anyone asks, no I don't know when it will be released, nor what the price will be. I know it's very close to ready.  I'm going to take the liberty of suggesting that if you're interested and want to contact Karl about the PR, do so by email rather than by phone, for the same reason that I'm posting this instead of Karl. Karl loves to talk about his work, and it's really easy for him to lose several hours in a day doing so. But things are at the stage now where he just needs to focus on sorting out the final details.

If you have questions, post them here and I'll try to answer the ones I can answer. Some will no doubt have to wait until the launch, but that shouldn't be too long now.

This is going to be so cool!


« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 01:13:28 pm by ubizmo » Logged
Auroch
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 91



« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 02:32:42 am »

Definitely a great and thorough update! Thanks for taking the time to put this together, Ubi.
I'm that much more stoked for the new model! I need to re-read the post to help it all sink in haha:)


Logged

Auroch
Harp Player
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 824


« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 07:17:14 am »

I am thrilled to hear that it is about to move out of the prototype stage into the reality production stage.  i know that it will have to be great because he has worked on it for so long.  I just hope that I can own one myself one of these days. The limited range has been a big hold up to me being able to play the Ocarina in public.


Logged
kypfer
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 353


« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 08:23:33 am »

Thanks for all the info ... sounds fascinating Smiley

For myself, I had to Google iPhone 5 just to find out just how big (or small) it might be  Embarrassed


Logged

"I'm playing all the right notes—but not necessarily in the right order."
Harp Player
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 824


« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 04:36:56 pm »

i thought I was the only one that didn't know how big an Iphoney was.  But I just recently retired my flip phone in favor of a slide phone and I miss the flip.   

Anyway  It would have been nice to hear a sound sample or two of the not a Porange.


Logged
ubizmo
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1922


I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 06:17:55 pm »

i thought I was the only one that didn't know how big an Iphoney was.  But I just recently retired my flip phone in favor of a slide phone and I miss the flip.   

Anyway  It would have been nice to hear a sound sample or two of the not a Porange.

Well, it's a bit shorter than the current MO C, about twice as wide, and almost as thick near the mouthpiece end, but tapering in thickness toward the tail end. That's from memory, since I don't have a prototype anymore. There could still be minor adjustments in dimensions in the final release, but I don't think it'll be far from what I've just described.

Yes, I should've thought to make a sound sample for posterity. At the time, I didn't expect to be writing a post like this, so it didn't occur to me to make one.


Logged
ubizmo
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1922


I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 11:17:40 pm »

I thought of a few other details you may find interesting.

On the PR, D2 in the bottom octave will be played by lifting the left thumb, as it is on many other ocarinas. This change was required by other design factors. Keeping it on the right thumb, as in currents MOs simply wasn't going to work.

The right thumb hole is quite small, and is used only for getting C#1, although I found it useful for Eb1 as well. So, except for those low notes, you won't have to bother with it. This means that there is no note that requires you to take both thumbs off the instrument.

Let me ask this: What are some pieces of music that you'd like to play on a full two-octave instrument? Is there anything in particular that you've wanted to play, but couldn't?


Logged
TicTocOc
Active Newbie
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2015, 04:42:34 pm »

UBIZMO!! Thank you so much for this thread/update on the PR and all the info you provided! You have truly made my YEAR!!

I have only recently purchased my Mountain Poly set, and I already use it exclusively (like you  Grin, I really look up to you)

I have been researching double ocarinas for some time trying to find the perfect one because I thought the PR wasn't happening anymore. But now my search has ended with what I truly wanted, the PR!

To answer your question, I was in an Traditional Irish band for a couple years and have a ton of sheet music that needs the 2 octave range. Also there are a handful of hymns and contemporary Christian music that would benefit from the extended range. I would love to play in church one day.


Logged
ubizmo
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1922


I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.


WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 05:54:09 pm »

I have been researching double ocarinas for some time trying to find the perfect one because I thought the PR wasn't happening anymore. But now my search has ended with what I truly wanted, the PR!

To answer your question, I was in an Traditional Irish band for a couple years and have a ton of sheet music that needs the 2 octave range. Also there are a handful of hymns and contemporary Christian music that would benefit from the extended range. I would love to play in church one day.

I'll say this: Once I had the prototype, I found I was playing it to the exclusion of all else, including whistles. I didn't try it in an Irish session, but I did try to play a lot of session music on it, on my own. As you know, some of that music involves a lot of very fast jumping from high to low notes, and those tunes were challenging on the PR. But a lot of standards worked just fine, such as "The Rights of Man," a hugely popular slip jig. And when I play "The Rights of Man", I usually like to play another slip jig, "The Plains of Boyle," first. That one works well too.

Another favorite of mine on the whistle is "King of the Pipers." This is a pretty demanding tune on the whistle, and it's no picnic on the PR either, but I was playing it.

A lot of hymns work well enough on the regular MO, but I still found that I preferred playing them on the PR. I really like its stability in the hand.


Logged
TicTocOc
Active Newbie
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2015, 09:55:48 pm »

Apologies if I missed it, but what key is the PR in? And what material us it made of?


Logged
TicTocOc
Active Newbie
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 10:52:36 pm »

I reread the original post. I see the key now, c5 to c7.  Still didn't see the "official" material its made of though.


Logged
ubizmo
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1922


I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.


WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2015, 11:41:03 pm »

Apologies if I missed it, but what key is the PR in? And what material us it made of?
The key is C. There may be other keys later, but this is an "alto C".

The material is...I'm going to sidestep that question. The prototype I had is probably not the material that the PR will be released in. There's a long and somewhat strange story behind that, and I'll let Karl tell it when it's time.

Suffice it to say that this will be the first ocarina made of this material. Sorry to be cryptic, but this is one of the things Karl is fine-tuning now. And since I haven't had a prototype of this material in my hands, I can't really comment anyway.

As I mentioned in my first post, the PR design requires tolerances to thousandths of an inch. The material is a big piece of the puzzle.


Logged
Auroch
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 91



« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2015, 12:05:25 am »

To me it's more interesting not knowing the material at this point in time. I'm sure it'll eventually be expressed in the thread as the information becomes publicly available or at the very latest - upon the release of the new model though that's great too!

I view the (lack of) sound-samples in a similar sense. I'd much rather find out how it sounds when I'm holding my own. I'm sure some will prefer hearing what it sounds like before purchasing and that's totally cool though I have no doubts that they will sound beautiful so for me it really amps up the excitement leaving certain things until the moment I open the package.

From the start I suspected that it would not be done in polycarbonate. I didn't really give much thought to hardwood or warmstone - those options felt sort of up in the air. Hearing that it's going to be the first use of "this material" gets me that much more excited!


Logged

Auroch
ubizmo
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1922


I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.


WWW
Re:
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2015, 12:31:52 am »

Those of us, like myself, who don't actually build things, tend to overlook the problems posed by finding the right material for a job. The new material that Karl is working with is something that I haven't, to my knowledge, ever handled at all, so I'm also excited to try it out.

But I do wish I'd recorded a few sound samples.

Another song that requires a notoriously extended range is "Old Man River." It has the same span as the "Star-Spangled Banner." Sounds nice on the PR.


Logged
TicTocOc
Active Newbie
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2015, 03:00:10 am »

Thanks Ubizmo for your response.  I'm ok with not knowing the material, but I am still very curious nonetheless.

Auroch, your point has made me reconsider wanting to know. And I agree, I want my first time hearing to be when I get it.


Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 36
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.7 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!