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Author Topic: how do ocarinas stack up against recorders?  (Read 10299 times)
yetzirahsan
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2009, 09:37:24 PM »

  I definitely get where youre coming from. Ubizmo.  To me, the pleasing but a little more limited range of the ocarina is a far better choice.  I say this because;  to me, the more imagination required, the better.  For example-- when i play an ocarina-- it makes me have to "imagine"  what the music would be like that I'm playing along with, so that when it actually comes to playing-- i find alot more unique positions, and no no-nesense melodies/ phrasings to play.  I suppose the age old axion "Less is more" applies as well.  I have alot of native indian penatonic flutes and absolutely love them.  So many people ask me why.  Why?  The intervals in between provide a sort of "imagination" quality to the playing.  I suppose it's alot like blues as opposed to the intervals in classical music.  I'm definitely tempted to get a 2 octave ocarina at some point, but-- this MO has such a wonderful tone-- and to play songs that have sustain, is awesome.  Thats one quality in ocarina playing i havent seen as much, is the sustaining of notes-- There seems to be alot of pizzicato which is cool, but the MO really has  a beautiful sustained quality-- especially with accompaniment.  I own a recorder too, and to be honest-- stopped playing it altogether since i recieved the mountain ocarina, haha.  The two row fingering aspect is very comfortable to me; very intuitive.  There doesnt seem to be as many positioning options on a recorder too--  like finding eastern indian type scales, egyptian sounding exct.  To sum it up I'd say; a mountain ocarina lets  a person play outside of the "Do re mi fa so la la la--" box if they want.  A recorder is, well-- a recorder-- HAHA.  Blessings... 


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ubizmo
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2009, 11:10:39 PM »

but-- this MO has such a wonderful tone-- and to play songs that have sustain, is awesome.  Thats one quality in ocarina playing i havent seen as much, is the sustaining of notes-- There seems to be alot of pizzicato which is cool, but the MO really has  a beautiful sustained quality-- especially with accompaniment.

That's actually one of the more difficult things, sustaining notes.  The ocarina's pitch changes with the slightest change of breath pressure, so sustaining a note on pitch is not as easy as it looks.  For some strange reason, I sometimes find that rocking my body, however dorkish it appears, helps me to do it.  I think I'm getting better at it with time, but there's no question it's demanding.  But I've also been more diligent about the long note drill, which I do every morning while waiting in my car at the Wawa (a PA convenience store).  That's still the most important drill for all wind instruments, and I'm not skipping it anymore.

Ubizmo


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yetzirahsan
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2009, 01:28:37 AM »

  Interesting.  I've been noticing that the more i try to play alot of the standards, this can be a slight problem-- I find the main minor scale starting at the second hole(a minor?) is easiest to get the sustain on going all the way up--  Once theres gaps in between the positioning, however, it does tend to get tricky-- I basically just try to write all the stuff I play, so i usually designate it along certain keys and don't notice certain probs, but-- when trying to play certain tunes-- i def hear what you mean.  I'm not sure what the position is called-- where the semi hole in the back is open on the left and the fourth hole is open on the right.  I can get a really solid up the scale motion for sustain at that point too.  The basic up and down from the lowest note too-- though it gets harder when the semi hole is incorporated.  Theres another one I use thats also great for sustain-- kind of indian/japanese/egyptian like ina  way.  I leave the first hole open and cover the rest, but ascend by releasing the middle finger first on the right, then the left, then continue by lifting the  left ring finger, and finally the left ring finger.  Very wierd, i know, lol-- though you may have already stumbled upon it-- it's a very neat little walk--with some sweet variations.  Man, i gotta do some vids, haha--  I'm def gonna start working more on the standards to brush up on dexterity--  Cheers..


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onewhohopes
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2009, 11:53:59 PM »

I actually found my old plastic recorder the other day.  I have no idea whether it is an alto or a soprano, only that we were forced to learn to play them in grade 3. I already had about a year of guitar before that, so I found it really boring.  I also had a few years of singing before, now that I think about it.  I learned early enough that I have been reading music for almost as long as I have been reading words (I now know I take that for granted).  I do remember it being very hard to keep it from skwawking on some notes.  30 kids playing a recorder for the first time is almost as terrible as 30 kids playing strings for the first time.  Wink

I messed around with it for a few minutes, and those low notes are very delicate.  You feel the same thing on the MOs, but the recorder is like that tenfold.  You definitely can tell that there is a difference in the sound, but I can't place it.  I also don't remember the fingerings for any notes above the main octave, so it is just as useful as my MO to me.  Smiley

----
On the sidenote about holding sustained notes in tune: have you tried whistling (with your lips) very much?  Before I got my MO, I had a few of the Celtic songs on the MO website stuck in my head (Spancil Hill was one), and I found myself whistling in the car on the way to school and such.  I suspect that I may have (almost) perfect pitch, because I can hear the note in my head before I whistle it, and when I start the note it is that pitch exactly.  I'm also pretty sure I can start the first note of, say Spancill Hill, on the same note Karl does on his G recording of the song.  I think that when I play ocarina, I visualize (hearize?  Wink ) the notes when I play them.  I notice that I have to "will" the low B note to fit what it should sound like in my head.  I also notice that you have to really try to keep the notes in arpeggios in tune by controlling the pressure precisely.

I don't know how helpful whistling would be on the long notes, since I haven't done ensemble work yet.  Vibrato still does fine when you play solo, but I know that is a no-no when you are harmonizing.

-Tom


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lapislazuli
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« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2009, 12:39:31 PM »

Old thread, I know, but I'm studying to be a professional recorder player so I can't resist...

It is actually possible to make recorders sound beautiful.  Crazy, I know, but true.  Tongue  I will also confirm what someone else in this thread said:  If you get a good quality plastic recorder it will be better than buying a cheap wooden recorder.  I have a Yahama 312BII  Soprano and 314BIII Alto and I love them to bits.  Smiley

I've been playing recorders for ~4 years, and MOs for ~2 (although I don't practice my MOs often enough, I'm too in love with the recorder).  I also play sax, oboe, guitar, bass guitar, keys, and an interesting end-blown Egyptian flute for which I do not know the name (except that I don't think it's a ney).  I played bassoon for 5 years earlier in life, but unfortunately I am no longer able to play.

Recorders and MOs are similar in some ways because it's all about breath pressure, you have similar problems in both instrument with keeping the pitch the same, although recorders have a somewhat more stable pitch which I think is generally seen as an advantage (though the instability of MOs can also be exploited to great artistic effect, which I love to do).  You also can't compensate with your embouchure with either of them -- no matter how much my double-reed background makes me subconsciously try anyway.

The first obvious difference is the volume.  It takes considerable effort to get a recorder anywhere near as loud as you can get by playing an MO just comfortably.  This has some obvious repercussions in terms of ensembles:  recorders go well with quiet or subtle instruments (an MO would stick out like a sore thumb), MOs can be played with louder instruments (where you wouldn't hear the recorder at all).  For this reason I'm glad I play both because it affords me some versatility.

There's also the difference in tone colour.  The small tone holes of the recorder (in comparison to its bore) lend themselves to a fairly "muted" sound (much like the bassoon), which may or may not appeal to your aesthetic taste.  The much larger tone holes of the MOs give them a more "open" sound (as well as helping to pull off tricks like glissandi (which is somewhat more difficult on smaller recorders) and in conjunction with breath pressure can add to the afore-mentioned advantage of the pitch instability).

Recorders also have very few overtones (I think that one has to do with the shape of the bore), resulting in a very "pure" (potentially ethereal) sound, and also a tendency to be subjectively perceived as lower than the pitch they're actually playing (more obvious in larger recorders).  I haven't seen any graphs or anything, but judging by the sound I'm guessing that MOs are rather rich in overtones, giving them a richer, fuller, more penetrating sound.

Overall, I think that which is "best" depends on your personal aesthetic taste (I personally love the quieter, other-worldly sound of the recorder more than any other instrument, though obviously I have a healthy appreciation for MOs and recommend them to anyone wanting to learn music -- I'm in hospital right now and I brought my ocarinas with and so far have infected one of my nurses and one of the cleaners with them  Grin), and also a bit on what music you like to play.  If you're an early music nerd like me: go for the recorder.  If you like folk music: go for the MO.  If you like both: get both.  Tongue  I think for the rest of the styles, there is potentially room for both recorder and MO, although the recorder's larger range carries an edge in classical music and the MO's volume carries an edge in contemporary music (unless you are skilled with bug mikes I guess -- I am not).

... and obviously, yeah, MOs are more portable (but sometimes when you love an instrument, you make it portable, you know?  Unless you have something tuba- or double bass-sized I guess).

I hope this helps someone.  Smiley


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ubizmo
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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2009, 01:20:43 PM »

I have the Yamaha 314BII, and it's terrific.  An interesting thing, however, is that I often find that I prefer to play my cheapo Hohner maple soprano.  The reason is, the maple has a somewhat breathier sound, which would normally be considered a flaw in a recorder.  Since I'm not an early music nerd, however, and I like to play blues and other modern music, I find that the touch of huskiness of the Hohner sounds good.

Ubizmo


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lapislazuli
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2009, 01:46:29 PM »

I have the Yamaha 314BII, and it's terrific.  An interesting thing, however, is that I often find that I prefer to play my cheapo Hohner maple soprano.  The reason is, the maple has a somewhat breathier sound, which would normally be considered a flaw in a recorder.  Since I'm not an early music nerd, however, and I like to play blues and other modern music, I find that the touch of huskiness of the Hohner sounds good.

Ubizmo

The breathy sound can be kind of nice, I like it a bit frayed-around-the-edges.  When the sound is too focussed it just doesn't sound alive enough for me.  I like to have a little bit of breathiness, it makes it sound kind of "crunchy" and more interesting.

The recorder I'm currently eyeing/saving up for is a Stansby copy in boxwood (alto).  It has a really robust sound and can even get quite loud for a baroque recorder.

Mollenhauer actually makes a modern recorder with a new design that I hear has a wider range in both pitch and dynamics, though I've never played one myself.  If you like playing blues and modern music, perhaps you might want to look into something like that?


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Bubble-N-Squeak
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2009, 02:16:59 AM »

while I have yet to get myself a Mountain Ocarina, I do play a couple of Peruvian ocarinas, 8 hole and six hole - they ironically got me back into playing wind after I'd let my chanter playing lapse for over twenty years.  And I'm also learning descant and treble recorders (soprano and alto).  I've also just picked up an el cheapo 10 hole sweet potato ocarina, which is quite quiet compared with the recorder, and the recorder is quiet compared to the chanter.

A recorder is easy to overblow out of tune when starting out, or when you're not paying attention - earache time!  I've only ever managed to overblow my 8 hole Peruvian ocarina once, and that was while trying to clear some lint from the block.  Ever stand too close to a steam train whistle?  Same thing.

I love the ocarina.  But I also love the recorder, and hope to add the penny whistle to it soon as well.  If you're after an easy-to-play and easy-to-take-with-you instrument, then look no further than the ocarina, whatever style.  I carry my 8 hole around in my pocket, everywhere I go.  I'd feel lonely without it.  If you are seriously into playing multi-octave music, you need to manage the recorder or some other instrument.  But on the other hand, you can rewrite and arrange music ... and it's not a case of either/or - a recorder/ocarina consort/band/whateveryouwanttocallit, would be awesome!


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GoldBrick
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2009, 07:16:51 PM »

While quite informative, most of the replies miss the point of the original question.  MOs and other linear ocarinas stack up quite high.  Sweet Potatoes and other transverse ocarinas tend to tumble and spread out - not good if they are made of clay.  If the original pile is high, they tend to shatter as they come down.  As for recorders, it depends on how you stack them.  If stacked vertically end to end you can stack several on top of one another if you are careful.  If stacked horizontally gravity tends to take over and you end up with an array that looks like Pick-Up-Stix.  Hope this helps. Grin

Rick


« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 02:56:46 AM by goldBrick » Logged
Foosnark
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« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2009, 09:38:45 PM »

So.  I used to play recorder way back in grade school.  I haven't really played winds since, until very recently.  (I collected bamboo flutes and could barely make noise with them.)

I recently bought the poly G MO, and a Yamaha YRA-312B alto recorder.  The MO arrived first... and my wife will not stay in the apartment while I play it.  It is shrill.  Easy to play, a joy really... but shrill.

The alto recorder is an octave lower.  While both breathing and fingering are more complex, the tone is very lovely.  Even as a beginner, I have no trouble adding vibrato and quite a degree of expressiveness in general.  Aside from being twitchy on the attack on the lowest note, it is nice and strong on the lows.  My range is limited to a little under two octaves, but to be fair, I have been playing it less than a week.

The recorder seems more sensitive to condensation, and is of course, a bit less portable.  As mostly a keyboard and drum player though, I'll sacrifice a little portability for tone and playing in a more pleasant range. Cheesy  In fact, I am half-looking for a tenor or even a bass recorder. Smiley

I don't at all regret picking up my MO, and I know I'll occasionally snatch it up and toot merrily (when the wife is out, at least).  But I've found I love the recorder more.


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ubizmo
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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2009, 02:57:03 AM »

Hi Foosnark, good luck with that Yamaha; it's a good horn. I agree that the tone of the alto recorder is very pleasing. I've downloaded Tom Horn's alto jazz music to my mp3 player and I listen to it a lot. I do find that the recorder is harder to play aggressively, especially in the lower register. The tenor recorder is even quieter and twitchier on the bell note. But go for it! The recorder is an under-appreciated instrument!

Ubizmo


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Spatolo
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« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2009, 08:50:43 PM »

As I stated in some other thread I started to take music lesson; focusing on music reading and practicing with the ocarina; while[1] the teacher played the recorder (he is a genius in clarinet and sax; those are the instrument he really teach in private lessons; I'm the exception; he can play the recorder because he plays it in a kid's class).
Anyhow, he says all the time that he like the sound of the ocarina more than the one of his own recorder (!). So I gave him one of the polycarbonate G I just received and he will promote it among his collegues with the intention to replace the recorder in the class with the ocarina. He realizes that the MO can be more attractive to the kids because it's more portable and they could play it and show off everywhere (although, he said, it would be better if they were more colored... cough). He is a modern teacher and he let the kids play youngster's music, themes from movies, and the like, and they enjoy that a lot (and he does too when they do Wink )[2]. The problem is, that his colleagues are very old-school types; he told me that they do activities which bores the kids, and they will unlikely welcome the introduction of a new instrument in the class. But let's hope.

[1] whilst.
[2] I suggested him to let them play video games music, that + ocarina could be a hit among the kids. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.


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feigenpwn
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« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2009, 10:10:46 PM »

I noticed this post and I pulled out my old plastic recorder from my elementary school and started playing a couple tunes. It's a little squeaky if you don't get the blow pressure just right, but I still like it anyways. While both my plastic recorder and warmstone g are fun to play, I have more appreciation of the sound of the ocarina.


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Ocarina4me
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« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2010, 02:16:43 AM »

This is directed at Ubizmo......I happened to just look at your youtube link above and in a round about way found the one where you are playing "Stranger on the Shore" with your Alto Recorder. I have been alternating between my Poly C and my alto recorder and while I am totally a novice, I LOVE this music you are playing on here. Where did you get the sheet music for it? I think I could listen to that all day - love the sound of the alto recorder!


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ubizmo
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« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2010, 02:37:58 PM »

Like almost everything I have on YouTube, it's played by ear.  I almost never use sheet music because, given the small range of the ocarina, it's a matter of luck whether a given song will fit, as written.  If it doesn't fit, you either have to give up on it or transpose it.  The recorder has more range, but I still often have to transpose things.  So my method is first to listen carefully; then forget about what key it's in and just try to play it in some key or other on the recorder or ocarina.  Then I find a backing track.  If it's in the same key, great.  If not, I find out whether it's closest to the way I can play it on the G or C ocarina, then I use a midi editor to transpose the track--which is easy to do.  It sounds like a complicated process, but really it isn't.  The hardest part is finding decent backing tracks to begin with.  That one I used for "Stranger on the Shore" is kind of cheesy, but it was better than the others I found.  Incidentally, that's one tune that won't fit on a single ocarina.

Ubizmo


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