Teach Me To Play The Ocarina (no Zelda jokes please)

One day in second grade, our teacher showed us her ocarina necklace. Since that day, I have wanted an ocarina. Several years ago, that dream came true. Then, at another garage sale, it came true again.

I’ve go a pendant with four finger holes on top, and two beneath. It’s decorated in a loud Southwestern pattern. I’ve got a turtle with four holes on top and none beneath. You play by blowing into the turtle’s butt. It makes you appreciate how easy we have it today and how our ocarinaing forebears had to capture turtles and blow into their cloacas. What I don’t have is the musical ability G-d gave the common horse. Can I learn to play the ocarina, or is that star forever unreachable? Can you teach me to play this instrument of the gods, or are you all miserable, good for nothing, scumsucking, pencil-necked, failures?

In closing, I said ocarina NOT macarena. Nor did I say macaroni. I can play a macaroni like nobody’s business.

According to my 11 year old son, they are pretty easy to learn.

For his tenth birthday, the only thing he wanted was an ocarina after seeing this one that one of his friends had. We bought him one and a couple song books to go along with it, and he got pretty darn good at playing it. I checked the linked web site and it looks like they don’t have as many song books as they used to. In any case, the books are pretty cheap, and they don’t use musical notation but instead use illustrations of the holes you cover or uncover as you play. He picked it all up pretty quickly.

And I have to say, the Zelda songs sound pretty cool coming out of a real ocarina.

I visited that very site yesterday. While I’m willing to accept that my ocarinas are crap and I must spend actual money, I want to be sure before I spend any. It’s entirey possible that the ocarinas I have are fine instruments and my tin ear is the problem.


Should certain Dopers read this thread, Songbird’s porcelain eagle bone flute makes a fine gift for that gaming geek whose cleric of Pelor loves to cast Summon Animal Spirit. It also seems like a better option than experimenting with boiled chicken bones.

I learned how to get more than a dog-whistle out of my 5-hole (4 at top + 1 below) by following the guide here and adapting slightly for the couple notes that needed the 5th hole clear.

From the looks of things, this should be good for you turtle one. There are fingering guides for lots of simple tunes.

Or “your turtle one” even.

They even have the Dreidel Song ;j

Oh, that’s very cool! Does anyone here have one?

I think I want one! But I don’t want to invest heaps of money getting it here and then find out that it’s not all that good.

A thread on mastering the ocarina, and nobody’s given poor Doc a Link?? :smiley:

Whistleworks has a fair assortment of animal ocarinas that come with a songbook. The fingering charts are easy to follow and the book has a fair range of songs. You can also buy the book separately if you’ve no pressing need for a dragon or whale ocarina just now.

Thank you all for the links. I’ll start practicing.

I’m still curious as to how you determine the quality of an occarina.

You can buy a plastic recorder at Walmart for a dollar. The holes crack. The walls are too thin. It’s out of tune. etc.

How do I tell if the occarinas I bought at garage sales (I soaked them in rubbing alcohol for a few days after purchase) are crappy, passable, or fine instruments?