Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Ocarina

So I've been really busy lately, but I also realized that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Right now I've been focusing more on my Master's and trying to survive my only real class (Machine Learning). But I recently deleted my games. I realized video games are in no way healing or helpful, even when I need a break. They sort of help you if you have self-esteem issues (false sense of accomplishment) but give little outside that false feeling. So I've deleted mine, I don't need them any more. But what I DID do was buy an Ocarina. I'm hoping to use this as my sanity break from the world when I'm bored or feel overwhelmed.

I chose the Ocarina for a few reasons: The name sounds cool (and I was even more stoked when I found out it was real! Yes I did hear about it because of Zelda, but I am NOT an avid Zelda fan, The most I've done with the series personally was play Sheik on Smash Brother Melee on my roommate's game cube my freshman year of college, aeons ago). The Ocarina actually sounds kind of like a bird. The single-chamber ones with the largest range only have a range of an octave and a half. This seems large enough to play and learn a few interesting songs, while not being overbearing in terms of learning it. Also I played the clarinet in middle school, so I'm a little bit more at home using a wind instrument as opposed to others.

So my research has shown the cheaper ones come in plastic variety and more expensive ones are ceramic and sound better. The one I chose was this. I had seen youtube videos of people with ceramic focalink ocarinas playing Zelda themes and they souded really nice, so I decided to get it. I intentionally avoided a Zelda-style design because I didn't want it to look like I was getting the instrument because I was a Zelda fan. I DID buy the Zelda songbook, because it had a variety of songs of varying difficulty and Zelda themes don't sound too bad.

Also the 12-hole Ocarinas have two different types. One is higher, the other is lower. In my opinion Focalink's alto C is better than its Soprano G. The Soprano G goes kind of high and sounds shrill to me for that reason. It's interesting though because it's not a standardized instrument, so different companies will call the same instruments different things. STLOcarina calls Focalink's Alto C 12-hole a "Tenor 12-hole" I believe. 

I really wanted to learn the "Song of the Sylph" on the Ocarina, but I guess that won't be a possibility, my sister was going to listen to it and get me the music, but she told me it doesn't have the range, she said she might be able to transpose it to a different key to get it to work. O well, I'll still have fun learning a new instrument, even if it doesn't work out. The "Song of the Sylph" is a relaxing tune. It was composed by Ben Houge and can be downloaded from his site at this link.