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Ocarina

OCARINA, a wind instrument invented in Italy, which must be classed with musical toys or freaks, although concerted music has been written for it. The ocarina consists of an earthenware vessel in the shape of an egg with a pointed base and a tube like a spout in the side, which contains the mouthpiece. There are usually 10 holes in the front surface of the instrument, nine for fingers and thumb and a vent hole; the newer models have 8 holes and two keys. By half covering the holes the semitones are obtained.

O'CAROLAN (or CAROLAN), TURLOGH (1670-1738), Irish bard, son of John O'Carolan, a farmer, was born at Newtown, near Nobber, in the county of Meath. The family is said to have belonged to the sept of MacBradaigh, and the bard's great-grandfather was a chieftain. The O'Carolans forfeited their estates during the civil wars, and Turlogh's father settled at Alderford, Co. Roscommon, on the invitation of the family of M'Dermott Roe. In his eighteenth year he became blind from smallpox. He received special instruction in music, and used to wander with his harp round the houses of the surrounding gentry, mainly in Connaught. The famous song Receipt for Drinking may be responsible for the allegation that he was addicted to intemperate drinking, but Charles O'Conor (1710- 1791), the antiquary, who had personal knowledge of him, gives him a good character in private life. The number of Carolan's musical pieces, to nearly all of which he composed verses, is said to exceed two hundred. He died on the 25th March 1738, and was buried at Kilronan.

His poetical Remains in the original Irish, with English metrical translations by Thomas Furlong, were printed in Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy (1831). Many of his songs were preserved among the Irish MSS. in the British Museum.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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