Ever since my teen years I have loved musical instruments, especially the wind instrument genre. However, it was not until two years ago or thereabout that I discovered ocarinas. My first impression when I saw amateurs playing the transverse type of ocarinas (vessel flutes usually made of clay or ceramic) was that those instruments were ugly and a bit out of tune. However, when I saw the different types of ocarinas and heard them being played in the hands of masters I melted and was forever hooked by their sweet, endearing tone.
The 12-hole soprano ocarina
The 12-hole transverse soprano ocarina is not hard to play as the fingerings mirror those of a recorder. Still one wonders how such an inexpensive instrument made from clay can sound like a little bird and at some points voice the intricate fingering of Almartino at youtube.com/watch?v=ao0kcbRcmiw .
The Triple Ocarina
The Triple Ocarina can play three octaves like the flute but Ocarina Willy as he is known on Youtube, has extended techniques that make this instrument flutter and sing like a bird even more than its simpler 12 hole counterpart. The finger movement is a delight to see and hear. It is probably one of the two best performances with the Triple Ocarina on the internet at present if not the best. Hear him play at youtube.com/watch?v=ITGas0eHE5I.
HaoLunHsu also plays this instrument and plays two parts at the same time at certain points of his performance. The rapid finger movement as well as the sound is a joy to any music lover. Check out his performance at
The Mountain Ocarina
It is a delight to hear Almartino play the mountain ocarina with his ornamented style. It is indeed a haunting instrument in his hands. He certainly brought his saxophone playing experience to this instrument. Hear him play at youtube.com/watch?v=dOEvnE4pdfc.
The mountain ocarina is so sweet that I must give yet another clip, this time from my favorite mountain ocarina player known on Youtube as Ubizmo. He, too, plays other wind instruments so he brings his expertise to this seemingly humble instrument. Hear him play “The Lonesome Boatman” at youtube.com/watch?v=NsSBH1iS5-8 and “Down By The Salley Gardens” at youtube.com/watch?v=3ftjDIarPLY.
There are many other types of ocarinas – the pendants which I have heard Docjazz4 play very expertly on Youtube, the transverse alto, tenor, bass and wooden and plastic ocarinas as well. However, the selections I chose were the ones that I liked the most. All of these selections I have found myself playing and re-playing, enchanted by the sweetness of the different types of ocarinas and the intricate skill employed in playing such a humble-looking instrument. Quite frankly the ocarina puts many an expensive instrument in the shade.
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