Buying Ocarinas: Top 10 Questions To Ask

After you decide that you’re going to buy an ocarina, you’ll have to determine which one is your best choice. With so many choices, in different sizes and shapes, some with five holes and others with thirteen, made of wood or clay or plastic… with so many options picking the right one is difficult. Ask the following questions. When you can answer them confidently, you are ready to choose your new ocarina.

1. How far musically speaking do you want to go with your ocarina? Do you mainly want something to entertain you for a week or two?

Or do you want a serious instrument that will let you grow to advanced levels? If aspire to go far musically and are willing to put in the practice necessary to there, get an instrument that you will not grow out of… one which will let you grow to virtuosity.


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2. What type of music will you play with your ocarina? If you will be playing simple, slow melodies then most ocarinas will work just fine. However, if you want to play technically difficult music, fast tempo, perhaps with ornamentation or decoration for flair, most will not work. Make sure you hear sound samples of the ocarinas you’re considering, and make sure that they can play the type of music that you want to play.

3. Do you like the way it sounds? Have you heard this ocarina in a live performance? Probably not… but do you at least have you recordings to give you an idea of their sound?

4. Where would you like to play your ocarina? Do you expect to play for others? Will you perform publicly? Do you wish to be able to play with other musicians without needing microphone amplification? The majority of ocarinas are quiet and subdued. A few ocarinas have good playing volume and could readily be played in public without needing amplification.

5. How do you like the way it looks? If you think your instrument is beautiful, you will probably carry it more, show it to friends and family more, play it more, progress faster and farther, and enjoy it more.

6. What style of ocarina do I want, transverse or inline? Ocarinas come in two basic styles, inline and transverse. Transverse ocarinas (like the sweet potato) are played like a Boehm flute where the flute is held at a perpendicular angle to the head. Inline ocarinas are played like a recorder or clarinet where you would blow into the length of the flute. I find that the inline style is more comfortable when playing for extended periods of time.

7. Do you want a wood, clay, plastic or metal ocarina? Some thoughts. Clay is can crack or shatter if dropped. A nice hardwoodwood ocarina are beautiful.Metal ocarinas are uncommon, but some are noticeably stunning. There are many cheap plastic ocarinas… toys. Some plastic ocarinas, however, are top quality instruments made of high tech plastics like polycarbonate.

8. Are you a big time fan of the video game Zelda The Ocarina of Time? If so, then maybe you want an ocarina just like the one Link plays.


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9. Where will you take your ocarina? would it be nice if your ocarina could fit in your purse or pocket? Will you hang it around your neck? Will you want to take it rock climbing or caving? Will you be careful when carrying your ocarina? As far as portability, not every ocarina was created equal. Clay ocarinas can crack or break. You can’t put bulky ocarinas in your pocket. Without a neck cord, you can’t wear it around your neck.

10. How much ancillary materials (self-study materials, inspirational music, music books, etc.) are available for the ocarina you are thinking of buying? How much help will you want in learning to play? Remember that ocarinas have limited tonal range. Sheet music and music books must fit into the tonal range of the particular ocarina that you play. If you want options and variety in your music, choose an ocarina that has companion products to support your progress.

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