How to Play the Pendant Ocarina

Written by edward mercer
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How to Play the Pendant Ocarina
The ocarina can play anything from simple melodies to complicated symphonies. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The pendant ocarina, a small, intricate version of the ancient wind instrument that can be worn as a decorative pendant, is a fairly basic and easy-to-play instrument. Of course, practice makes perfect and experienced pendant ocarina players can produce extraordinary melodies, but even a beginner with a bit of rhythm can immediately start playing songs. The pendant ocarina comes in several variations, each producing a slightly different sound and requiring a different playing style, but the basics hold true for all ocarinas, including the two most common types of pendant ocarinas: the 10-hole Peruvian pendant ocarina and the 4-hole English pendant ocarina.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Hold the instrument near your mouth with both hands. Grip the instrument between your thumbs and fingers and place your fingers over each of the holes in the instrument body. Position your thumbs over the two bottom holes and each of your remaining fingers over the eight holes on the top of the instrument when playing the 10-hole Peruvian pendant ocarina. Make sure you have a good grip on the instrument between your thumbs and place your two first fingers on each side over the four holes in the instrument when playing the English pendant ocarina.

  2. 2

    Cover all of the holes in the instrument with your fingers and gently blow into the open end. This is the lowest note an ocarina can play, usually in the range of a middle C.

  3. 3

    Remove your fingers from all of the holes, making sure the ocarina is held securely between both thumbs. Blow gently into the instrument to produce the highest note on the ocarina, usually in the range of a high C.

  4. 4

    Experiment with different combinations of fingerings to produce different notes and get used to the particular sound of your ocarina.

  5. 5

    Consult the fingering chart for your ocarina in order to relate specific fingering combinations with notes. Play the ocarina against a piano or another instrument with clear tones in order to determine what note each combination makes if your ocarina does not have a fingering chart.

  6. 6

    Blow gently into the ocarina and carefully change fingerings to play full songs or compose your own melodies. Take short breaths and blow into the instrument once you have changed fingerings, adjusting your fingers while you take a breath and prepare to play the next note. Always make sure your fingers are covering the holes completely and do not allow any air to escape.

Tips and warnings

  • The sweet, airy sound of an ocarina is ideal for quick melodies written for wind instruments, but it can also be combined with string or percussion instruments to create an interesting contrast.
  • Ocarinas are very fragile. Be sure you are holding the instrument firmly so you do not risk dropping it.

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