Ocarina – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
The ocarina is a wind instrument that can be made of ceramic, wood or plastic, whose sound can be similar to that of a flute. However, it has a less elaborate design, as well as a variety of soft and low nuances, depending on the number of holes present in the instrument. For example, the Ammoon 3YA002 is an ocarina with a blue ceramic body that incorporates 12 high tones and can be interpreted or used as a decorative element due to its similarity to that of the Zelda saga. Similarly, Stl Ocarina Zelda is a 12-hole synthetic instrument that will allow you to develop a series of high pitches in C major.
If you have decided to venture into the world of music with a wind instrument like the ocarina, you will have to start by reviewing the different options that the market has for you. Remember that there are a number of differences between the main models with respect to the type of manufacturing material, number of notes, among many other aspects. Therefore, the most convenient thing is to make a guide to buy the best ocarina. Thus, you will know what are the quality indicators to evaluate to acquire an instrument that really suits your interpretive needs.
Ocarinas are characterized by having a series of holes of different sizes distributed on their faces, over which you must place your fingers and, when blowing through the mouthpiece, you must cover or discover them. In this way, you will generate the sounds. In this sense, keep in mind that all these holes represent the musical notes, so the sound variations to be made will depend on them. For this reason, the issue of the number of holes present in the instrument should be incorporated in your ocarina comparison.
For example, when reviewing the most popular models on the market, we will find designs with six and up to twelve holes, aimed at beginners and professionals respectively. This is because, the more holes they have, the greater must be the mastery of the musician to develop the tunes. Therefore, an ocarina with 8 or 12 holes requires more effort and control when blowing through the mouthpiece. However, the range of high and low tones will be much more varied.
Transport and storage
The ocarina is generally an instrument with a compact format, which is easy to transport or store. However, its structure tends to deteriorate easily, since we place the instrument inside the backpack, in the car, closet or drawer, being exposed to friction with other objects. In this way, as the days go by, the ocarina will begin to lose its attractiveness and could even break or dent, depending on the material with which it was made.
You may initially be concerned about how much a device that attaches these types of elements costs, but you must take into consideration that using a bag or case for our instrument, more than a luxury, is a necessity. Also, if you buy the item separately, the cost may be higher.
In any case, you should try, as far as possible, that the selected model incorporates a rigid case with a secure closure or a textile bag provided with a drawstring, clasp or velcro. Thus, you will keep the instrument protected when you are not using it.
Getting a good and cheap ocarina is possibly the goal of many musicians who are passionate about this instrument, but for this to be possible it is necessary to know in detail the type of material used for its manufacture. Remember that the high or low level of quality of the raw material will depend on the durability of the ocarina, as well as the harmony of its sounds. In this sense, we can find in the market a great variety of ocarinas, built with synthetic materials, ceramic or wood.
In any case, the really important thing is that, if the ocarina is made of plastic, we confirm that the polymer is free of toxic agents that can cause an allergic reaction on contact. In the same way, it should be rigid and with a pleasant soft touch. For its part, ceramic equipment will have to have been exposed to a firing process to harden and resist any unexpected impact, while wooden instruments must be sanded and varnished to offer a better finish.
Instructions and sheet music
When acquiring an ocarina and having it for the first time in our hands, the most logical feeling is to want to start playing it. However, if you are a beginner, you will need a user guide that allows you to become familiar with the instrument, know its parts, the correct way to pick it up, among many other aspects. In the same way, it is important to have some scores so that each of the practices are easier. Therefore, you will have to ensure that the selected model incorporates this pair of elements, which, in short, will improve your experience of using the ocarina.
Regarding this subject, you will be interested to know that, in general, this type of instrument is packaged together with an instruction manual with detailed information. In addition, a few other models offer you scores with some themes or basic combinations of soft and high notes.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use an ocarina?
To use an ocarina, the first thing you should do is read the instruction manual to familiarize yourself with the instrument. Then you can start the first practice. To do this, you must take the ocarina with both hands and direct the holes upwards. Next, place the mouthpiece arranged on the structure in the middle of your lips, while the fingers must be placed in each of the holes, as indicated in your manual.
Q2: How to make an ocarina?
To make an ocarina you will need some tools such as a sander, drill, and gouges, as well as a piece of solid wood, glue, and almond oil. In addition, you will have to make a sketch of your project on paper with the exact dimensions of each of the pieces.
Then, take the piece of wood, trace the mold, start making the cuts, and then smooth the edges. In this way, you can begin to sculpt the pair of plates required for the instrument with the gouges. Also, it is important that you cut the half lining and the nozzle, which you must then align with respect to the plates.
Another step to follow is to drill the airways, for which you will need a fine drill bit. Thus, you can begin to join all the pieces with glue. It is necessary to let them rest, as you consider appropriate. In this way, all that remains is to sand the imperfections of the structure and apply almond oil to the inside and outside of the ocarina for finishing.
Q3: How to blow the ocarina?
To blow the ocarina it is necessary to take the instrument with both hands and place its mouthpiece in the middle of our lips. In this way, we can proceed to generate puffs with different levels of intensity, according to the note we want to achieve.
In fact, the position of the tongue will influence the force of the air outlet that we are exerting on the mouthpiece. For example, if we want low notes, we will need a weak breath that we can project by placing the tongue up. On the other hand, to obtain a high note the tongue must be placed downwards, which will allow the air to come out with more force.
Q4: How to clean an ocarina?
Ocarinas usually accumulate saliva inside, which causes a bad smell and bacteria, which is why it is so important to clean said instrument at the end of each practice. This is a simple task that will not take much time, since you only have to pick up the instrument and shake it vigorously, so that the saliva comes out through the holes.
Next, you will need to prepare a soapy solution with non-abrasive products. In this way, you can moisten a soft cloth with this mixture and rub it carefully all over the outside of the ocarina. Likewise, you will have to clean the nozzle directly under the water tap, but you will have to blow through it at least a couple of times for a better cleaning.
Finally, all that remains is to polish the casing of the ocarina with a dry cloth and apply a specialized product, depending on the type of material with which the instrument was made.
Q5: How to play the 8-hole ocarina?
To play your 8-hole ocarina it is necessary to keep in mind that the tones must be marked from right to left, starting with “re” and ending with “do”. Likewise, it is necessary that you have your sheet music and the instrument’s instruction manual at hand to clarify any doubts.
Q6: Which ocarina is better, 6-hole or 8-hole?
Ocarina designs usually have a variation in the number of holes, so we will find instruments with 6 or 8 holes that each represent a musical note.
For example, when playing a 6-hole ocarina we will have two less notes, which is convenient for any beginner. On the other hand, the equipment provided with 8 perforations can offer more complex melodies. In any case, we could not say that one model is better than the other, because both are aimed at different targets.
Q7: Where does the ocarina come from?
Archaeological studies have revealed that the origin of the ocarina dates back to the pre-Hispanic period in ancient Mesoamerica, since various specimens of this instrument used by the Mayan culture have been found.
Q8: Which is better, wooden or plastic ocarina?
Although wooden ocarinas offer better acoustics than plastic ones, it is also true that their purchase price is usually a bit higher. However, both instruments allow you to play harmonic notes.