Do you love the sound of the flute but find playing it to be intimidating? The ocarina may be a better option because you can get a similar tone on the best ocarinas out there.
By dominating the ocarina, you can play similar tunes as a flute player.
However, you don’t need to spend as much money or worry about getting your lips in such a tricky position.
Whether you’re a fan of Zelda or want to learn a flute outside of the concert family, the ocarina is a great instrument to play. Consider the following options when shopping for your ocarina.
It wouldn’t be a list of the best ocarinas without one inspired by the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The Deekec Zelda Ocarina is a ceramic model with a nice glaze. Like its inspiration, the ocarina has the tri force symbol.
This model can play fully chromatically from the A above middle C (A4) to the F almost two octaves higher (F6). It comes with a neck strap, display stand, and bag. You’ll also get a Zelda songbook so that you can learn famous songs from the game.
That songbook features a fingering chart and information on how to play the ocarina. If you don’t like dark blue, you can also get this ocarina in sky blue or red. The model isn’t too expensive, and it’s easy to start playing.
- Easy to play
- Good material
- Nice tone
- Comes with a songbook
- Some quality control issues
- Plays a little flat
The OcarinaWind Ocarina is another excellent instrument to consider. It’s a ceramic model with a white ice-crack pattern, but it doesn’t have physical cracks. The 12 holes allow you to play chromatically from A4 to F6.
OcarinaWind tests the tuning twice before finishing each instrument to make sure it will play in tune. Along with the ocarina, you’ll get a protective bag, a fingering chart, and a book of songs. That way, you can start learning the instrument.
Getting a sound on the instrument is easy, though it can be uncomfortable to hold. Still, it’s an affordable option and perfect for ocarina beginners.
- Easy to play
- Nice tone
- Decent range
- Can be uncomfortable
- Somewhat sharp in pitch
Another instrument from OcarinaWind, the Forest Whisper Ocarina is a ceramic model with 12 holes. You don’t need to use a ton of air to get a good sound, so this model is excellent for people of all ages.
The black ocarina has a bit of a smoky smell due to the firing process. But OcarinaWind does test the tuning before firing the instrument to help with intonation. You’ll also receive a book of songs from Zelda, a neck strap, and a protective bag.
Because of the production process, no two ocarinas will be exactly alike. That can be good or bad, since you may not like the ocarina you receive. However, you can exchange it to see if you like a different one better.
- Easy to learn
- Unique sound
- Comes with songs
- Good for children and adults
- Tone is a bit airy
- Somewhat expensive
The Focalink Ceramic Ocarina is a single-chamber ocarina with 12 holes. It has the same standard range of A4 to F6 as other alto ocarinas. You can choose from a variety of colors and patterns to get the look you want.
Either way, the ocarina will be easy to play and easy to keep in tune. The instrument’s listing claims you can get 13 notes, but you can play more notes if you include accidentals. Those fingerings can be awkward but aren’t too hard to learn.
You’ll also get a polishing cloth, a metal channel cleaner, and a protective bag. That way, you can keep the instrument in good condition for many years. If you want this ocarina, be sure to save up because it’s one of the most expensive ones.
- Easy to learn and play
- Good range
- Comes with cleaning supplies
- Different colors
- Not for people with big hands
All of the other ocarinas in this list are ceramic, so consider the Night by Noble Plastic Ocarina. The plastic is great if you want to play the instrument outside or if you need something more durable. It can stay in tune, and you don’t have to be as delicate with it.
The company pitches this ocarina at 442Hz, which is standard for many groups. That makes it an excellent choice for playing with other musicians. Plus, you can play the same range as some other ocarinas.
This model comes in black or white, so you can get the color you prefer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a songbook or other accessories. But it can play just as well as ceramic models or even better than them.
- Easy to play
- Good tuning
- Standard range
- Can break
- A little sharp when playing in A=440Hz
What to Look for in an Ocarina
When looking at the best ocarinas, you should consider a few factors. Some models may fit your needs much better than others. Here are a few things to think about before you buy your next ocarina.
All of the ocarinas on this list are alto ocarinas, so they play from about C5 to F6. These ocarinas also have sub holes that let you play down to the A below C5. However, you’ll also find bass and soprano ocarinas.
Bass ocarinas play an octave lower than the alto, so their range is about C4 to F5. On the other hand, soprano ocarinas play an octave higher than the alto, at C6 to F7.
You should also consider the pitch of the ocarina. Some are tuned to A=440Hz, while others are at 442Hz. This may not matter if you only plan to play by yourself, but it can be an issue if you want to play with a piano player or another musician.
Number of Holes
The ocarinas on this list all have 12 holes, and that’s pretty common. However, you will also find ocarinas with as few as four holes. An ocarina with more holes will have more flexibility and a wider range.
But there may be a time when you want to play an ocarina with fewer holes. Maybe you want to play a specific piece or get a particular tonal quality.
You might also want an even smaller ocarina to take on the go. Or if you collect ocarinas, you may want to find some with different numbers of holes. Be sure to look at the number of holes to determine if an ocarina will meet your needs.
It’s also important to consider the material of the ocarina. Many ocarinas are ceramic, so the makers form the ocarinas using clay, and they fire them in a kiln. You can get an excellent tone on a ceramic ocarina.
However, plastic ocarinas can be cheaper. They may not sound as good, but the lower price is nice for beginners who aren’t sure if they’ll stick with the instrument. A good plastic ocarina is also useful when playing in extreme temperatures due to its durability.
You may even come across porcelain ocarinas. They can offer a fantastic sound, and professional players tend to use them. But they aren’t necessary for beginners or casual players.
Which of the Best Ocarinas Will You Choose?
The ocarina is a fun instrument to play. You don’t need to know a ton of music theory or even take lessons to learn the foundations of the instrument.
Whether you love Legend of Zelda or not, give the ocarina a try. Be sure to select one of the best ocarinas as your first instrument. Then, you’ll have the best chance of getting a good tone and having the motivation to practice and improve.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.