The ocarina is a wind instrument most notable for its pure ethereal tone. Quality transverse ocarinas are capable of creating everything from beautiful, mournful, slow melodies to highly ornamented, upbeat tunes. To most people, the closest time they are to this magical and beautiful instrument is from film or game soundtrack, but surprising enough, this instrument is not that hard!
Before actually buying a ocarina, there are a few things you need to consider.
Most ocarinas are made out of wood, plastic or ceramic/clay. These materials when crafted well will all resonate to produce a beautiful sound so there’s not necessarily one material that creates the best sounding ocarina.
- Plastic is more durable and cheaper, but may sacrifice some tone for the convenience.
- Ceramic provides more vibration, which creates a better resonating sound. Ceramic ocarinas are also handmade, so each one is unique.
- Wood creates a deeper, even tone and is very lightweight.
- Metal creates a louder, clearer sound and is highly durable.
- Silicone is similar to plastic, but softer to the touch.
The size of your ocarina will determine its pitch, so depending on the tone that you are looking to play, choosing the right size is crucial. Smaller ocarinas tend to play soprano tones while larger ocarinas are a tenor. The biggest ocarinas are bass.
The bigger the ocarina, the larger the holes on its surface. Thus, if you are purchasing an ocarina for a child, it is best that you stick to a smaller model that their smaller fingers will be able to cover. And of course, the reverse is true for an adult, especially an individual with large hands.
- Transverse (Sweet Potato) – The traditional, most popular style of ocarina. Requires two hands and is held horizontally. Generally comes in a 10 or 12 hole style.
- Pendants – Either English or Peruvian. The English style is very small, and usually only has between 4 and 6 holes. The Peruvian style is slightly larger and is usually designed with animal images with 8 to 9 holes.
- Inline – A blend of the pendant and transverse styles. Small, compact, and with more holes than the traditional pendant style.
- Multi-Chambered (“Double” or “Triple” Ocarinas) – These can resemble any of the other three styles, but include a more varied and complex range of notes. For experienced musicians.
Knowing the basics, let’s take a look at the 10 best ocarinas available on the market:
TOTMC Legend of Zelda Ocarina
The most commonly used Ocarina is the TOTMC Legend of Zelda Ocarina. This ocarina is handcrafted with kiln fired ceramic. It is tuned by professionals that you can learn without any difficulty.
The ocarina is aesthetically designed that lets you practice various techniques, rhythm and speed. The cobalt blue glossy finish makes this Ocarina beautiful. To make it more interesting, metallic silver band with gold Triforce logo has been added.
Night By Noble Plastic Ocarina AC Black
One of the most used Ocarinas is the Night by Noble Plastic Ocarina. This ocarina is made from durable and quality to provide articulate sound. The small finger hole in the area of middle finger enables you to easily play low notes.
It features a clear tone technology that helps in creating a sweet and bright resonance. You can tune it according to your own pitch choice from 445 to 446 Hz that produces amazing sound. The easy tuning system makes it great for playing. In order to increase the longevity of the instrument, rubber finish is added.
Ohuhu Ocarina from Legend of Zelda
The Ohuhu Legend of Zelda is perfect for the seasoned player, thanks to its exquisite breath response and precise sound, no matter how quickly you alternate holes. The grip is well centered, so your fist won’t be too close to your face as you play.
On the mouthpiece, there is a triforce symbol embedded in a metallic strip. On either side of the strip are a pair of holes that the included cord can be pulled through so you can carry this instrument around your neck.
“Forest Whisper” 12 Hole Ocarina
This transverse style ocarina is made from smoked ceramic with a beautiful strawfire finish. It is tuned to play at an Alto C, but can reach pitch ranges between A4 and F6.
It is an average sized instrument that can fit in the palm of the hand and is perfect for beginners or professionals looking for an ocarina that is visually pleasing with a mellow, smooth sound.
It has 12 holes that are tuned in the Key of C. the material used in the manufacturing of this ocarina is smoked straw-fire ceramic. This helps in producing accurate and clear tunes. It has a pitch range of A4 to F6 that enables you to easily change notes.
The Ocarina comes with a finger chart, strap and a protective bag. You can keep your Ocarina safe in the pouch. With the finger chart, you can easily learn to play the ocarina.
One of the coolest ocarinas on this list in terms of its design, the Songbird Dragon Tooth Ocarina is an impressive instrument in both presentation and performance. It uses the 12-hole system that delivers a vast range of notes from A to F.
This is handcrafted with such care and uses the high-quality ceramic material. It also comes with a Legend of the Dragon Tooth storybook as well as a songbook. The metal chain is a nice touch to truly give this instrument that fantasy world look.
Dragon Rythem 12 Hole Alto C Ocarina
This ocarina is made from Dolomite Pottery that makes it durable and long lasting. It is designed to improve the response time so you won’t have to put in extra effort to blow it. It comes pre-tuned in the key of C that offers pitch range from A4 to F6.
Its curves make it easy to move your fingers around quickly, helping improve dexterity. Be warned, though, the playing instructions are in Chinese.
“Joy of Thrush” 12 Hole Alto C Ocarina
The Joy of Thrush is a 12-hole model that’s available in nice lovely finishes, some of which feature crackle details, adding an extra touch of mystique to this already ethereal instrument. It comes with a miniature songbook with illustrations to guide your finger placement.
6 Hole Wooden Bangkirai Wood Ocarina
The OcarinaWind Bangkirai Ocarina is made from durable Bangkirai wood. As it is made of wood, expect it to deliver natural earthly sounds. It comes in at 2.5” x 1.2” (L x W) so it is considerably small.
This ocarina also comes with a free songbook and finger chart, ideal for beginners.
L’MS 6 Hole Ceramic Strawfire Mini Ocarina
The Strawfire Mini is an unusual little instrument that can double as fashion statement thanks to its beaded strap. It produces a very sweet, high sound, and its six holes can be used in combination to play classics, like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” with ease.