What is it?
The ocarina is a Chinese and mesoamerican instrument used by tribes as long back as 12,000 years ago.
A person that plays the ocarina it’s called an ocarinist or just an ocarina player.
Not to be confused with
You may hear about it with other names like Xun (a similar instrument) or Runik (a type of ocarina). Pronounced äkəˈrēnə, with the name given by an Italian, called Giuseppe Donati meaning little goose.
The instrument is from the Wind family meaning the sound comes by blowing air in a mouthpiece into a tube(resonator).
The types of ocarina are determined by shape meaning they have different sizes and holes:
- Transverse: Most common, hold with both hands horizontally. versions of 10 & 12 holes.
- Pendants: Smallest sometimes with animal shapes, versions of 4 & 6 holes.
- Inline/ fusion: slightly bigger than the pendant with more holes and range similar to the transverse.
- Multi-chambered: can be double or triple, have the biggest harmonic range.
There’s also many ways to categorize them by their range.
In terms of materials, the options are usually wood or plastic. This particular one is commonly made of clay or mud with some being able to use their own hands (limited, but free). The material has no effect on the sound (our article here) but it does in price and durability.
Before you buy
Getting an ocarina for sale? as a gift? If you do, here’s all you need to know.
The price of the instrument is around $5 – $60 USD, the cheapest I found was a 6 holes ceramic ocarina on Alto C and the most expensive was a 12 hole ceramic in C.
In the middle we have something like the 12 hole plastic TLoZ ocarina for $30 USD, you can search on amazon here or eBay here.
In terms of brands, there’s no big company that owns the market, instead, there are a lot of small handmade and independent brands, just make sure they have a guarantee and shipping to your country, good reviews and if they don’t you can get them other ways.
The size goes around 2.5 x1.5 x 0.8 In (6 x 3.5 x 2 Cm) – 7.5 x 5 x 3.3 In (20 x 12.5 x 8 Cm) and has a weight from .7oz Lbs (22 g) to 0.5 lbs (229 g).
Now that you know, you can check on Ebay here.
There are a lot of accessories but in this case you don’t need much:
- Neck Strap: Just make a knot and wear your ocarina like a collar, especially useful for pendant ocarinas.
- Bag & Case: Bag for transportation and case for safety and transportation. If you don’t get one with your instrument check the sizes section to get a perfect one.
How to learn the ocarina
We recommend learning to read sheet music, play notes and learn the tricks of playing songs.
For learning to read sheets we try a lot of resources to help you choose.
To learn to play all notes you need a finger chart (also known as position chart), there’s a different one depending on the number of holes.
The tips & tricks are all the details that combined make a big difference.
They way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions and techniques.
Here are some book and courses:
- David’s ocarina tutorial: Free Youtube playlist from the specialist himself.
- Kaze no Uta: Paid Book of music sheets of soundtracks.
- Zelda OoT: Paid Songbook of the songs of the game.
Remember, the ocarina is easy to learn and really fast, it’s also similar to a whistle and tin whistle in technique so you can combine those to help you learn, we hope this helps, we’ll keep working on this article.