Author Topic: Tips for getting the sub holes?  (Read 2127 times)


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Tips for getting the sub holes?
« on: August 20, 2015, 03:38:06 PM »
Currently, the only thing stopping me playing my 12 hole well is my apparent inability to cover the sub holes correctly. It always takes me time to adjust my fingers, breaking up the song as a whole. Rather irksome.

My question here is, are there any techniques for getting the sub holes that I have missed? Is it a case of needing more practice, or am I getting something wrong?


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Re: Tips for getting the sub holes?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2015, 05:12:25 PM »
There are three aspects of covering subholes.

1.  Dropping your breath. You need to have the right breath for the right note.
2.  Not uncovering the other holes (No air leaking).
3. Properly covering the subholes. 

Those three things are required to be successful.  If you want to break them up, get some gaffers tape (painter's tape) and tape over all the holes (except the voicing) and try to get low A.  Once you get the breath right, try Bb.. and so on.  After that - you can try just covering the subholes and getting the notes - and finally work on transitions.


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Re: Tips for getting the sub holes?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 10:15:09 AM »
Actually, practice a lot!

I play the ocarina for about 2 months or so and in the begining, the subholes and the high notes were like hell to me.

Now im doing them easily. I like to play for at least one hour every day.

Good luck and don't give up!

(Sorry for any grammar mistake, english isn't my main language :p)


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Re: Tips for getting the sub holes?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2015, 02:09:44 PM »
I have really tiny fingers so it was really hard for me to hit the A# on my ocarina because the hole below the subhole is giant! I've managed to improve though by doing several things.
First, practice a lot! I started by just covering the holes and blowing to figure out the right breath. After I had that figured out, then I started worrying about finger movements.
Second, when I hit a bad note while trying to cover the subholes, without moving my fingers, I took the ocarina away from my mouth and checked the holes. I would often find that I had allowed one of my fingers to slip and leave a hole partially open. Once I figured out what it was I was doing wrong, it made it a lot easier for me to stay aware of my fingers while playing.
And lastly, I would play reeeeeaaaally slowly so that I could practice moving from one note to the next and develop some muscle memory. Then I would increase the speed.

Doing these things really helped me a lot. I can cover the subholes pretty consistently now. Hopefully this'll help you as well. :D


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Re: Tips for getting the sub holes?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 10:12:21 AM »
I think the most important thing I have learned is to use significantly less breath for those low notes - sometimes I thought I wasn't covering the subholes all the way, but really I wasn't hitting the notes because I wasn't breathing properly. To practice getting the right amount of air, I think it's helpful to get one of the free tuner apps for your smartphone, if you have one. Then you can experiment until you find the right amount of air for hitting each note.

If it does turn out to be mainly a problem of covering the subholes, repetition is the key. I find it helpful to switch back and forth between a natural and a sharp note until I start hitting the sharp as easily as the natural. It's tedious, but it works.

Good luck and happy playing!