Are there any common misconceptions regarding ocarinas?
I would say that most people don't have misconceptions about ocarinas simply because they have never heard of them in the first place. Still, folks who are familiar with ocarinas often have misconceptions about the ocarina's potential because they have been exposed to mediocre ocarinas.
For instance, a lot of inexpensive hand-painted ocarinas are imported from Latin America and are sold in this country. They make nice decorations, but they are usually useless as musical instruments. But it isn't just those ocarinas that cause people to underestimate the ocarina. In my opinion, many ocarinas suffer from one or both of a couple basic weaknesses. Either they are overly subdued in sound, or they have a limited range and an awkward fingering pattern.
Not long ago I played next to a fellow instrument maker at a folk dance. Several different instruments were playing together unmiked: an accordion, a flute, a fiddle, and other stringed instruments. This other instrument maker was very surprised and enthusiastic when he heard me play. He himself makes ocarinas, although he specializes in other instruments, but he had no idea that ocarinas could hold their own in that type of context. It's a common misconception.
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