hand painted selection of clay ocarinas

An ocarina is a woodwind instrument that origin can be traced back to 5,000 BC throughout America, and India. A clay ocarina is made by firstly making the mouthpiece from clay and using a flat stick to allow air in, it is then added to a bigger piece of clay which will form the rest of the ocarina. The clay mouthpiece is smoothed onto the clay ocarina body facing upwards so that the air hits the roof of it which it then bounces off causing the sound.

A small hole is made in the body and it is carefully hollowed out, after, the hole is sealed back up and the finger holes are made, once it has dried it is painted. There are many variations of ocarinas such as the submarine, animal, pendant, transverse, Inca, and many more and in many shapes and sizes, they are usually made from clay or ceramic, with 4 to 12 finger holes, and a blow-piece. They can also be made from glass, wood, plastic or bone.

single ocarina pendant

The most popular ocarina among children aged over 3 is the classic Ocarina necklace pendant, it is small, fair trade, made from clay and each one is beautifully hand painted with many designs to match personalities, perfect for parties, and birthday gifts that won't break the bank.

Ocarinas: Frequently asked questions

What's the history Ocarina? 

The meaning of ocarina is ‘little goose’ the name was given by an Italian teen named Giuseppe Donati in 1853. He showed the invention to his friends and they came together to make a better perfected instrument that is now known in all corners of the world.

What country is most known for using ocarinas?

Despite the woodwind music instrument being invented in Italy, it is the most known in China as they use it in their role of song and dance. The ocarina has a different name in China and is called Xun. The ocarina has been around for over 12,000 years and is still used today. 

How to play Ocarina? 

The ocarina is an easy instrument to learn and Is similar to a flute in which you put your fingers over the holes to control the air flow in and out, making it sound different. Breath into the mouthpiece, and hold your fingers over different holes to get different sounds. 

How to make an Ocarina?

There are many ways of making an ocarina, you can use clay or wood, carve the wood to the shape, make the holes and test to make sure it works, with clay there are plenty of tutorials on how to make one, from beginner-advanced.    

Does the ocarina have tuned notes?

Ocarina tuning is done by changing the amount of air used and the speed of air. Lower notes using less slower air and high notes are achieved using more faster air. 

What are different types of ocarina?

There are many types, as mentioned in China they have an ocarina instrument that is known as Xun, it has a cone shape. We sell the traditional submarine ocarina that was invented in Italy, the pendant ocarina which is a small hand painted instrument that is great for beginners, animal ocarinas which are more suitable as a kids toy but we also have Inca ocarinas which are much larger and are named after a South American hummingbird. Discover handmade ocarinas here.

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