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Making whistles offers a different set of challenges then most three dimensional art.  Being interactive and musical I am often deciding where to put the mouth piece.

The best place to put the mouth piece for sound is the bottom of the ocarina.  The sound is stronger if the finger holes and air flow is on the same plain and most of the surfaces on a creature is rounded.  This is especially true now that I am making pieces that are the whole body and not just disembodied heads. The problem with that placement is the mouth piece there tends to make the player put their lips on the creatres butt. Even a fish butt is a little odd to put between your lips. But, actually this can be part of the ocarina’s charm. Playing a simple tune with the sculptures face looking into the eyes of your friends is fun!

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Occasionally a sculpture lends itself to a side mouth piece. Although psychologically better, side placement rarely adds to the appearance or sound.

Then there’s. The show aspect. At art shows I have to demonstrate the musical side of my art. I have to be careful how I describe the process. Although “put your lips here and blow” is accurate and direct, it is a statement open to interpretation. That sort of explanation can work to the humor of the moment or it can offend and put off the observer. 

But then art is often about the communication of emotions and illustrating the complexity of the human experience. So, put your preconceptions aside and allow the joy of the moment to take over and BLOW.


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