Ocarinas are made in Pakistan from glazed clay, come with six finger holes, can play over an octave of tones and each has a braided leather necklace.  Although the term ocarina is less than 200 years old, the first known ocarina-like instrument appeared in South and Central America about 12,000 years ago.  Ocarinas shaped like birds and animals could also be found in India as early as 5,000 BC.

In 1527, Cortez sent a group of Aztec performers to Spain where theye introduced the ocarina to Europe.  They remained a popular toy for more than 300 years until 17 year old Giuseppe Donati originated the first pitched diatonic scale ocarina.

To play the ocarina, hold it at a 45 degree downward slope from your lips.  The thumbs cover the bottom two holes and the index and middle fingers of each hand cover the top holes.  Angling the ocarina up so that your upper lip impinges on the labium window will create sharps, or flatten the tones.



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