The Ocarina, an ancient wind instrument, is one of the the easiest instruments to play, but until the release of a popular Nintendo game, the Legend of Zelda, few people had ever heard of these. Although they can now be found on the Internet and at a few specialized stores, they are rare in local music shops. Here some tips to get yours:
Find a reputable company who’s been in business for a while
This is one of the hardest things to determine, but 1 good Ocarina maker, however, will be able to position the holes so that each note can be reached easily by any. Poor Ocarina makers don’t have the precise knowledge of where to position the holes, so a more experienced craftsman will always make a better instrument. A good, not overly pricey company to visit is Songbird Ocarinas.
Decide how many notes you’ll want to play
An Ocarina’s sound does not come from the position of its holes, but from the number and size of them. If you find an Ocarina with more holes, you have more that you can play, but if they aren’t positioned well, your fingers will be stretch to the limit. Because of this, beginners should start with something with less holes (four is good for a small Ocarina). Four holes can cleanly produce at least ten notes, and if they are the proper sizes even more notes can be made. This is usually enough to play most simple tunes, but anyone desiring to play often may want to consider five to seven notes to have an even broader scale.
Determine what pitch you want to play
A unique feature of Ocarinas is that they can come in an amazingly wide variety of shapes and sizes. Not only can this be chosen based on the player’s favorite design, but the size will affect where the Ocarina’s scale begins. Larger Ocarinas have more room for the air to vibrate, and thus create a lower, deeper sound, while small Ocarinas can have much higher, sharper notes.
Decide if you want to play it or show it off as well
Because of their nature, Ocarinas can come in different sizes, different shapes, and be made of different materials. What type you buy will depend on personal preference. Ocarinas can commonly be found in varieties of clay, ceramic, porcelain and silver, but they have also been found made of bone, wood, quartz, jade, metal, and of course plastic. Some of these materials produce a different sound than others; a metal instrument will rarely sound the same as a plastic one. Clay makes the most common and most reliably consistent Ocarinas.
Many Ocarina companies include a playing guide, complete with scale to finger charts and Ocarina-specific sheet music. And although Ocarinas are easy and simple to play, remember that practice makes perfect.