Best Ocarina Review in 2018

What is an Ocarina?

The ocarina is a small, egg shaped wind instrument whose use dates back more than 12,000 years. This ancient instrument was used in Ancient China and Mesoamerica, and was favored by 19th century musicians who crafted a more modern, streamlined version of the instrument.

To play an ocarina, the user blows gently into the tapered mouthpiece which strikes the internal labium to create sound. From there, the user can manipulate the sound by placing his or her fingers over the holes that are expertly placed across the surface of the instrument (twelve holes is standard).

Music through an ocarina is determined by the craftsmanship of the instrument itself as well as your own breath control. These small, rounded "flutes" do not require extra tuning, but they will require that you have a sufficient lung capacity and ability to change the pressure of your breath quickly while playing to master the instrument.

If you are confident about your breath control and lung capacity, then the only consideration is choosing the right instrument. It is worthwhile to ensure that you pick an ocarina that is made of high quality materials and is well crafted so that you can produce the best sound possible.

Choosing an Ocarina

There are a number of features that you can consider when choosing your ocarina. Below are a few of the key ones that will help you make the best decision for your new instrument.

Materials

Ancient ocarinas were primarily made from clay, but today you can find an ocarina made of ceramics, plastic, wood, glass, metal, or silicone. Each material creates its own, unique sound and it is worth testing each one to find with sound and style works best for you.

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.

Size

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.

Really, the rule of thumb here is to match the ocarina to your hand size, or to the hand size of the individual that you are purchasing the instrument for. The ocarina should be able to be held comfortably, therefore not too big or too small. Tenor ocarinas are the most popular, mid-sized choice for most individuals.

High quality ocarinas can play over a range of tones and pitches no matter their size, but just as a tuba is a deeper sound than a trumpet, so, too, will a bass ocarina give a deeper tone than a soprano ocarina. Tenor ocarinas have the benefit of sitting in the middle of the range, which means they are the best able to reach more tone and pitch ranges than its counterparts.

Pitch Range

As we mentioned above, an ocarina can have anywhere between four and twelve holes. Larger ocarinas can have even more holes, but are more difficult to play. The number of holes will decide the range of pitch that your instrument can reach. For skilled musicians, a large ocarina with plenty of pitch range options might be the best choice. For beginners, fewer holes would be a good place to start so you can get a feel for the instrument and its sound.

Since pitch range is closely connected to the ocarina's size, it is a good idea to either know the measurements between the ocarina's holes, so you have an idea of how far your fingers will need to reach. If you can hold the instrument, this is the best way to determine if the size will suffice for your needs.

Types of Ocarinas

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.

Top 5 Ocarinas for 2018

Ohuhu Legend of Zelda Ocarina 12 HOle Alto C

This beautiful, fire glazed ocarina is a recreation of the famous ocarina from the hit Gamecube era game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. 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.

  • Handmade kiln fired ceramic with durable and visually pleasing blue glaze
  • Dedicated replica of famous Legend of Zelda ocarina with embedded metallic triforce symbol
  • Fully chromatic and capable of a natural, smooth sound
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Inexpensive
  • Average size
  • Lightweight
  • Ocarina is not tuned
  • Cheaper materials


"Forest Whisper" 12 Hole Ocarina Classic Strawfire Masterpiece Collectible, Alto C, 

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.

  • Alto C tuned
  • Smooth, mellow tone
  • High grade ceramic construction
  • Strawfire finish
  • Includes an adjustable necklace and protective bag
  • Great for beginners or experienced musicians
  • 30 day guarantee
  • Plays a full octave plus a third (C-E)
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Can have a "smoky" scent and taste


"Cheffort" 12 Hole Ocarina from Legend of Zelda, Alto C Ocarina

Based on the famous ocarina in the video game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, this fire glazed ceramic ocarina is highly affordable and true to the virtual design that it is based on. Dark blue glaze and a embedded metal strip along the mouthpiece stamped with the Legend of Zelda triforce make up this instrument. The ocarina is a fully functional instrument with a pleasant pitch range and comes with a song book and finger chart to help beginners get the hang of playing.

  • Beautiful hand crafted ceramic with smooth surface
  • Fits comfortably in the hand (average size)
  • Smooth tone
  • Dedicated replica of Legend of Zelda ocarina
  • Well tuned by manufacturer
  • Includes neck strap, finger chart, and song book
  • Surface can be slippery
  • Accuracy of tuning varies with ocarinas

TOTMC Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Triforce Link 12 Hole Alto C Mediant Tone Ocarina 

This ocarina is a highly accurate and beautiful replica of the ocarina made famous by the video game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. It features a high quality fire glazed ceramic construction with a dark blue finish and embedded metal strip around the mouthpiece stamped with the Legend of Zelda triforce symbol. While this is a replica, it is still a completely playable instrument that is a good place for beginners to start.

  • Handmade kiln fired ceramic construction
  • Great for beginners
  • Dedicated replica of Legend of Zelda ocarina
  • Pitch range between A4 and F6
  • Fully chromatic with a nice, even tone
  • Includes a neck strap cord and a TOTMC Music Book
  • Great for cosplay
  • Requires more breath control
  • Tuning varies with ocarinas


Ootsukagakki Night by Noble Plastic Ocarina AC Black

This plastic ocarina has a soft rubber finish and is expertly tuned to provide maximum musical potential. It is an average sized piece with a teardrop shape that fits well in the palm of the hand and features a low, mellow tone. It also features a slightly elevated pitch (442 Hz as opposed to the standard 440 Hz).

  • Highly durable plastic construction with black rubber finish
  • Smooth, mellow tone
  • Great for beginners
  • Easy to clean with mild soap and water
  • More expensive
  • Difficult to reach higher notes

Conclusion

While ceramic ocarinas have long been the go-to choice in terms of sound quality and price, the Ootsukagakki Night by Noble Plastic Ocarina AC with a black rubber finish is the clear winner of this contest. Not only does this plastic ocarina offer the same, fluid, smooth tone as a ceramic option, it is an extremely durable instrument that can be easily played with the right breath control. Furthermore, the ocarina can easily be cleaned if the plastic begins to build up with moisture or scuffs.


Stephanie Su
 

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