In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: August 10, 2023
Prime Sound is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Wind instruments such as the clarinet, flute or saxophone are very well-known among most people. What most are not aware of, is that the thinking and technology behind these famous instruments largely stem from one of the oldest wind instruments, known as the ocarina. The ocarina is an ancient wind instrument and is referred to as a type of vessel flute. The sound is created in an ocarina through the passing of wind through an enclosed space and released through different valves. Ocarinas typically have somewhere between four to twelve finger holes, producing an octave range of notes.
But what are the best ocarinas currently available to purchase? This article aims to help you in the purchasing process of these beautiful melodic instruments. Factors we consider important when working out the best ocarina to suit your needs include shape, chambers, material, holes, pitch, size and weight. You must take your time to read as much research as possible before purchasing, to give you the best chance of buying a great value ocarina.
Information for this article has been taken from a combination of manufacturer websites and online customer reviews to give you the best and most informed insight. The article begins with a comparison table of products, followed by 5 in-depth product reviews which include a product description, pros/cons and key features. The buying guide outlines all of the factors you should consider when before purchasing as well as some FAQ. In the conclusion, we rank our top three best ocarinas.
The OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina is a classic-looking ocarina that will certainly appeal to traditionalists who to purchase an ocarina that is made from wood. The construction of the OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina is made from elm, which is known for its robustness and solidity, ensuring the instrument is robust to any potential damage.
The OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina is made in the C major key and has a range of pitches from A-F to including sharps and flats. This gives more than a sufficient range of notes to experiment with and will be easy to use if you already familiar with playing the ocarina.
In addition to purchasing the instrument, OcarinaWind offers a variety of additional accessories. These include a songbook which is perfect for beginners to become acquainted with the challenges of learning the ocarina as well as a nice protective bag which can help maintain the instrument when it is being transported. The bag also protects the wood from chipping.
Another great advantage of purchasing the OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina is that the instrument is very light to hold. A common issue some find when learning the ocarina is the challenge of navigating an instrument that can be deceptively heavy. The light wood design of the OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina overcomes this deliver a decent quality ocarina that is straightforward to navigate. Purchasing the OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina is an investment in a classic ocarina style, as well as a great quality instrument both in terms of sound and style.
The Forest Whisper Ocarina is one of the best premium range ocarinas currently available to purchase. Handcrafted from high-quality ceramic material, the instrument not only looks unique with the mysterious monster tone thanks to the luster glazing but also produces a distinctive, full-bodied ocarina sound.
The Forest Whisper Ocarina comes fitted with 12 holes which create about an octave’s worth of notes. This gives a fantastic range of note offerings for you to experiment with. The location of the holes will be familiar for experienced ocarina players which makes the instrument easy to play if you are transitioning from a different ocarina.
One of the biggest appeals of the Forest Whisper Ocarina is its supreme sound quality. No matter whether you are an experienced player or a beginner, you will be amazed by the fantastic quality produced by the instrument. Although beginners may be put off by the high price if you are purchasing an ocarina with the ambition of performing it in public, investing money in a high-quality instrument such as the Songbird Dragon Tooth Ocarina may be your best option.
The Forest Whisper Ocarina also sells a story. As part of the purchasing offer comes a free copy of the Legend of the Dragon Tooth Story as well as a songbook to help you learn many of the classic ocarina tunes. The Forest Whisper Ocarina is not only a high-quality musical instrument but also the gateway into a mysterious, magical world.
The TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina ocarina is known for being one of the best-handcrafted ocarinas currently available to purchase. Constructed from a beige ceramic, the instrument contains the image of a resting face which embodies the sweet and relaxing tones that the ocarina instrument can produce.
The TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina is hand-sculpted by Jonathan Bickart who is a World-Renowned Artist. This adds value to the instrument, making it a premium range ocarina instrument. In addition to the craftsmanship, the sound from the Songbird The Muse ocarina is somewhat lower than the standard tenor ocarina. The note ranges from Octave and a 4th range from F to Bb, which creates a wonderfully rich and mellow tonal character.
The TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina purchasing offer also includes plenty of accessories. These include a free songbook for you to peruse as well as a tutorial exercise to get you started on the instrument. The premium velvet casing adds an extra layer of quality to the purchasing offer, allowing you to protect the instrument during transportation.
The fingering layout and shape of the TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina are slightly different from the majority of ocarinas. As such, even if you are an experienced ocarina player it may take a few practice sessions to get used to the shape and feel of the TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina. The size of the instrument is also larger than some may expect, which for beginners may make playing seem more complex.
If you know a Zelda fan, they are sure to like the Deekec Zelda Ocarina which authentically models this iconic instrument. This ocarina is made with high-quality fired ceramics and it is professionally tuned to ensure an optimal playing experience. Speaking of playing, this ocarina is easy to play and you can master the instrument in next to no time. This will allow you to play new scales, harmonies and pieces that are sure to delight family and friends alike.
The Deekec Zelda Ocarina has an Alto C pitch of A4-F6 with sharp and flat notes. The 12-hole instrument is glazed in an attractive cobalt blue color and accented with a metallic silver band and the distinctive Triforce logo in gold. The variations possible on this ocarina are impressive and it’s possible to play complex pieces. Practicing your technique, building up speed, precise note transitions and rhythmic playing are all possible. This allows the player to experiment with different styles of music beyond the scope of the games.
This ocarina measures 6” long with a depth of 3.5” and it comes supplied with a neck cord. Deekec have included an attractive protective bag and a stand to hold the instrument when it’s on display. Finally, there is a song book that helps a new ocarina player to get started playing the instrument.
What do we love it for?
This is a very well-built instrument with an attractive dark blue cobalt finish.
The natural ocarina sound is fully chromatic and beautiful.
This is a great first instrument for a gamer that wants to learn how to play.
What were we disappointed with?
One user reported that the included stand wasn’t durable enough to hold the ocarina in place.
The Focalink Ceramic Ocarina is a single-chambered ocarina that is tuned to the key of Alto C. It is known for being one the best affordable ocarina’s currently on the market and is a great purchasing option for those on a limited budget.
Constructed from ceramic, the Focalink Ceramic Ocarina keeps much of the similar physical and musical characteristics associated with classic ceramic ocarinas. The range of the instrument is from A to high F, allowing players to experiment with 13 notes. This note range compares well with more expensive ocarinas, some of whom have as few as 7 notes to play with.
The design of the Focalink Ceramic Ocarina ensures that the instrument is incredibly easy to play despite the low price. Focalink uses precision engineering and tests every instrument before it is made available. This gives a certain guarantee over the musical sound. For a budget product, the Focalink Ceramic Ocarina is also well-equipped with extra accessories. These include a bag to protect the instrument when being transported, a polishing cloth as well as a metal channel cleaner to maintain the most challenging cleaning areas.
In addition to the instrument, the Focalink Ceramic Ocarina also comes with a fingering chart which is a perfect learning tool for beginners to use. The chart contains simple instructions and illustrations to help you learn the ocarina step by step. The combination of affordability, sound quality and accessories, makes the Focalink Ceramic Ocarina one of the most sought-after ocarinas.
What are its best features?
Slick black ceramic design
Great accessories to help beginners
What could be improved?
Ceramic is more fragile to breaking
Things to Consider
Before purchasing your ocarina, there are many things that you need to consider to help you find the best one for your money. This buying will give the information that you need to buy the best ocarina for your musical needs.
Sound anew – what you should know about the ocarinas
There are different ocarinas depending on the culture they are from around the world. They have a variety of visual differences but in general, they have between 4-12 holes that enable them to create different notes.
There is some discussion as to where the ocarina originates from. Some suggest Italy, with others highlighting the Central American influence, with Mayans, Aztecs Incans developing the instrument from clay. The instrument is known for being shaped similarly to birds or other animals, highlighting the ancient origins and also the intimate connection between the ocarina and nature.
Depending on where the ocarina originated and its manufacturer, it will be decorated differently. Some manufacturers are now making ocarinas that look like Zelda, the video game to attract fans. Younger players can easily learn the ocarina as it is an instrument great for learning how to create melodies and read music.
Beginner tips for ocarina enthusiasts
The following tips will help you to learn and play your ocarina in no time:
Look at your ocarina as you hold it in your hands to keep it safe.
If you have a 4-hole ocarina, support your instrument by putting your thumbs on the thumb rests. If you are playing a 6-hole ocarina, close the thumb holes with your fingers.
When the mouthpiece is in your mouth, make sure that your top lip does not get in the way of the whistle-hole.
When playing, the string end of the ocarina should be pointed towards the ground.
Breathe into your ocarina with a steady and warm breath.
The following YouTube video explains more about ocarinas:
The sound of money
Before purchasing an ocarina, consider your budget and needs. The high-quality ceramic ocarinas are generally expensive but the wood ocarinas are cheaper. The ocarinas reviewed above range from $30 to $130 meaning there is one for everyone.
Consider the following features to choose the best ocarina
Below are a few features to consider when buying an ocarina:
Ocarinas come on different shapes. Transverse ocarina, also known as sweet potato is the traditional and most popular style used. It is held horizontally and requires two hands to hold. This style can either come in 10- or 12-hole style.
Pendants are another style of ocarinas. They can either be English or Peruvian. English style has between 4 and 6 holes and is very small while the Peruvian style has between 8 to 9 holes, designed with animal images and is slightly larger.
You can also find an ocarina with a blend of the transverse and pendants style known as the inline. It has more holes than the pendant style and is compact and small.
Some ocarinas are multi-chambered which can either be double or triple. They can resemble the transverse, pendants and inline ocarinas but they have a more complex and varied range of tones and is mostly used by experienced musicians.
Ancient ocarinas were made from clay, but today ocarinas in the market are from different materials including wood, plastic, ceramics, metal, glass or silicone. Each material produces its unique sound; therefore, it is important to test each one out so that you can find one that is suitable for you.
Plastic ocarinas are cheaper and more durable but they will sacrifice some tones for the convenience that they give. Plastic ocarinas are also more likely to have electronic features due to the complementary properties of plastic with electronics.
Since ceramic ocarinas such as the TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina are handmade, each one of them is unique. They provide more vibration hence producing a better resonating sound.
Metal ocarinas are highly durable and produce a louder and clearer sound.
Silicone ocarinas are similar to plastic ones but are softer to touch.
The ocarinas reviewed above have holes ranging from 7 to 12 depending on the notes that you want to produce. Most ocarinas will have a songbook when you are purchasing them and they will support you in learning the basics and the opportunity for learning melodies as well.
To build enough confidence for playing the ocarina, you can learn simple and recognizable melodies such as Happy Birthday and you can know if you are getting it right by just hearing the sound.
The number of holes in an ocarina will determine the range pitch that it produces. Most skilled musicians would prefer a large ocarina with more holes because of the wide range of pitch options they offer. However, if you are a beginner, an ocarina with fewer holes is a great place to start to get a feel of the instrument and the sound.
Sometimes, the pitch is connected to the size of the ocarina, so knowing the measurements between the holes will give you an idea of how far your fingers need to reach. The best way to know if the size will affect the pitch, hold the ocarina first before purchasing it.
Size and weight
Choosing the right size of your ocarina is very crucial as it will determine the pitch and the tone produced. Smaller ocarinas produce soprano ones, larger ocarinas produce a tenor and the biggest ocarinas play the bass tones.
Bigger ocarinas such as the TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina will have bigger holes, therefore consider the size of the fingers of the person who will play the ocarina. A smaller child will play a smaller ocarina as their fingers can cover the holes. For an adult with larger fingers, a bigger ocarina with big holes is alright.
Ocarinas should be held comfortably; they should not be too big or too small. Tenor ocarinas are mid-sized, hence the most popular choice for most players.
There are ocarinas of high quality that can play a range of pitches and tones independent of the size, but a bass ocarina will always have a deeper tone than a soprano ocarina. Tenor ocarinas have the advantage of reaching more pitch and tone ranges than their counterparts.
Ceramic ocarinas are normally heavier than plastic and wood ocarinas. Depending on your choice, purchase an ocarina that you can hold comfortably and is not heavy for you.
Before you buy, read the answers to these most frequently asked questions:
Ocarina is an easy instrument for children to learn how to play. By just blowing the ocarina, you can immediately hear the sound and get a note. You can easily change the pitch of the notes by covering the holes, hence children can immediately gain the effect from learning every note.
Children can be motivated by the quick achievements that they get from playing the ocarina and they become quickly engaged as the instrument is simple and easy to play.
The ocarina is an ancient vessel flute that has been played for over 12000 years. The origin of ocarinas can be traced to different cultures of the world. In South and Central America, the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas created and performed using clay ocarinas which were always designed like animals or birds.
Ocarinas shaped in animals or birds could also be found as early as 5000BC in India. China had a more rounded and egg-like ocarina called a Xun.
Buying a ready-made ocarina will save you the time. But if you wish to make an ocarina on your own, there are plenty of lessons for you to explore. Here we have an example of work on wooden ocarina here:
Hopefully, this article has given you all the essentials you need to know before purchasing the best ocarina to suit your musical needs.
Our verdict on the top three best ocarinas is:
The OcarinaWind Wooden Ocarina finishes top of our rankings because of the lightweight, classic wooden design which goes back to the design origins of the instrument.
The Forest Whisper Ocarina comes second in the rankings due to its top-of-the-range ceramic material and the ease with which the instrument can be played.
The TMP1105 Nice Ancient Ocarina comes third in our rankings due to its unique handcraft design and the rich, mellow sound which is not commonly found on ocarinas.
Before you commit to purchasing an ocarina, do take your time to consider all the purchasing options to give you the best chance of selecting a great value instrument.