Tuesday, 30 December 2014


First of all, I’d like to say sorry for my silence. I have been going through tough times recently, and therefore had no inspiration strikes at all.. I really appreciate those people who messaged me asking what’s happening (even if I didn't reply). You made me feel so much better, showing me that my ocarina projects here are worth sharing. Thank you.

And now, I am posting my new revolutionary project - OCAtabs! Have you ever found that common ocarina tabs missing such important things as the duration of a note, song rhythm and pitch (how high or low the note is)?

I always had a dream to invent an extended ocarina tab system that will be both informative and fun to use. And here’s what I got!

"Jingle Bells" for 6 hole ocarina  (page 2 is coming soon!)

There is a chart key on the right below, which shows the note lengths (or durations). Same symbols can be found above each note, helping you to understand for how long you should blow into your ocarina.

You can see the song lyrics written below the notes. The notes were then placed on the simplified staff in a form of the coloured dots - that way people can get an idea of how high or low the note is. The lowest note will be placed on the lower line and the highest notes on the upper one! Now you can actually “feel” the flow of the melody!

OCAtabs variations:

6-hole Beginner / 6-hole Intermediate
12-hole Beginner / 12-hole Intermediate

So, what do you think? Please let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Coca-Cola Ocarina!

Make beautiful music out of junk. Geotjakra EpiCai is playing his original improvisation on the hand-made ocarina, made of a Coca-Cola can!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ocarina Source List (constantly growing)

Your number one ocarina resources! :3










EDIT (31 March): Tenrai Ocarinas and Focalink links added.
~ thanks to A.M. the Ocarinist


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Staying In Tune

Reasons of the notes sounding flat or unclear:


#1. If you have Low Notes issue - make sure tone holes are fully covered.
I know that may sound obvious for you, but it's actually quite a common problem around beginning ocarinists. On the low notes, not covering the tone holes completely will make the air to leak out, and the sound produced to be out of tune.

Listen! `¤
Even one not fully covered sound hole will result a change in pitch!

#2. If you have High Notes issue - find the right blowing strength.
That is another common problem around most people who first start playing the ocarina - their air pressure is too delicate. You should blow gently, but firmly, making sure you breath enough air out, especially on the highest notes (as those require a lot of air on most ocarinas).

#3. If you have Tone Quality issue - work on your tonguing.
Do not just blow or "puff" into your ocarina, but breathe out a "tu" or "du" sound instead.

Sometimes the tone becomes better if you tip your chin to your chest on the higher notes. Also, please make sure that your posture is right - sit straight towards the edge of your chair, and do not slouch.


#1 Work on your Lip Position and an Air Stream Consistency.
You need to make sure the stream of air that you blow is strong and steady. Use your own palm to check, saying "tuuu" as if you are playing your ocarina. You will feel the diameter and strength of your air stream, as well as will notice if there's any inconsistency in the flow of air. The flow should not rise and fall, or have any "gaps" or "breaks" in it, as those make the pitch vary and a tuner needle to jump madly.

Experiment with tightening the muscles around your mouth a bit more or pulling your lips in a little to find the best mouth position for you.

#2 Play with an angle of your Air Stream as well as an Ocarina Angle.
Try to angle your ocarina slowly while blowing a long note, so you can hear at which part your ocarina produces the best sound. That way you will see if you are holding your ocarina correctly, and will be able to adjust the angle of your air stream to find the perfect point at which the sound is more clear.

Some ocarinas sound best when you hold them parallel to the ground, and some are better at 45 degrees. But a general rule is to hold the wind way entrance in line with the mouth.

#3 Practice a Scale Exercise each time before you play.
Now this is too important to be missed! Each time before playing some tune you love, force yourself to practice the whole note scale exercise! Follow all the notes in your ocarina's range up and down, holding each note for about four beats.

Keep in mind that each note you play should be nice and clear, and your air pressure good and steady. You can also use a tuner to adjust your breath pressure accordingly.

In fact, this is a truly amazing exercise, as it won't only allow your muscles to remember your ocarina (its shape, the position of your lips or hands, etc), but also the breath pressure necessary for each note. Practising a scale exercise before playing session is a really good habit, since every ocarina is different and requires its own adjustments.

Thanks and stay in tune! ;)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Broccoli Ocarina

You can experience the joy of ocarina in numerous ways!

Join Junji Koyama's YouTube channel to find out how to make ocarinas out of VEGETABLES! Ever seen an ocarina made of apple, carrot ("carrorina"!), tomato, onion or even broccoli??

Make sure to check his chocolate ocarina and see such bizarre things as macaroni panpipes, nose flute and a... toothpaste ocarina! xD

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Pendant VS Transverse - Which is Better?

Here in this article:

Pendant (or English Pendant) - small cross-fingered ocarina, often has 4-6 holes.
Transverse (also Sweet Potato) - larger linear-fingered ocarina, usually with 10-12 holes.

Myth #1. Pendants have poorer sound quality than transverses.

That myth appeared because of those bright and colourful Peruvian "fair trade" ocarinas that many people tend to buy. Those pendants can be nice as souvenirs, but they are very poor quality, absolutely out of tune and totally unplayable as instruments.

There are so many wonderfully made pendants on the market nowadays, so finding the one that will suit you best is not even a problem anymore. Myth busted!

Myth #2. You can play a lot more notes with a 12-hole than a pendant.

Wrong. First of all, there are dozens of tunes that can be played on those little instruments! And secondly, with a proper knowledge and a bit of practice you can extend the range of a 6-hole pendant to make it just one note shy of a twelve hole transverse ocarina! That can be possible by controlling your breath (blowing softer or harder), or using a special fipple bend technique (tilting your ocarina). In fact, there are some pendants available that allow you to extend their range to two octaves! (Think of compact doubles or extended range Tenrai ocarinas)

Myth #3. Pendant ocarinas are limiting.

Are they? Ocarina pendants are much lighter, portable, they can be worn comfortably. You can play in a car, during a break, or while waiting for someone, and practice the fingerings at any time anywhere. Once mastered, wearable ocarinas allow you to play songs much faster than transverse ones, because you have less fingers to move. You can also experience a lot more freedom with pendants, as these are so fun to play! You can even dance while playing without being afraid to drop your precious instrument!

Undoubtedly, portability is where pendant ocarinas really win. You cannot carry your 12-hole with you as easily as pendants. With pendants it is so much easier to do, and so you learn faster. They really keep you motivated, as you wear them around on your neck as a unique jewellery and practice every single moment. It is like a fun little hobby that you can take anywhere!

Myth #4. Transverse fingering system is much easier.

There is no such thing as “Easier” when referring to these two fingering systems. Each ocarina type is different, and the style of playing on these instruments differs completely. Some people instantly fall in love with the transverses, while others keep coming back to their pendants.

Transverse ocarina is certainly a better option for performing musicians and others who work with sheet music often, as the note fingerings are linear and the sound is technically more professional. But a beginner (or a child) without any musical background will most likely use tabs, and won’t even care for notes. A more experienced casual player may also enjoy the portability and beauty of pendants a lot more. So, it really depends on a person.

Myth #5. Pendant fingerings are too hard to memorize!

If you remember the fact that pendant ocarinas are one of the smallest musical instruments in the world, it pretty logical they cannot have the same linear fingering system as transverse ocarinas. Especially considering they have less finger holes than the transverse ones. It is neither good, nor bad, just different. Though pendant fingering pattern may be slightly confusing at first, but with a bit of practice there is nothing you cannot do.

In fact, it is pretty amazing that you can play a full octave with only a 4-hole ocarina! With minimal finger holes, such range sounds just like a small miracle! Now doesn’t that amazing little instrument deserve to be loved and respected too?


There is no “Versus”, as both types are good. Transverse-styled ocarinas will fit high-level musicians or people who find it more natural to learn the linear fingering. And wearable ocarinas are perfect for any casual player who enjoys the freedom and portability of pendants, as well as ready to meet some small but achievable challenges.

And don’t forget! Pendant ocas are cheaper than transverses, so you can have many!!! xD
Besides, they're so FUN to play!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Every ocarina is different and unique. There are so many of them of various shapes and colours, as well as the specific tunings (the note an ocarina starts on) - such as C, F, Bb, Eb, etc.

But the beauty of this instrument is that it's fully chromatic, which means though it may be tuned differently, it does not really have a specific key. Just like on the piano! So at the beginning, you don't really need to care if you have a G-, D- or F-ocarina - you can still play all your favourite tunes in C.

When you feel ready, you could play in the key your ocarina is tuned to, using its specific fingering system, as that will unlock the full potential of your instrument. You will even be having several versions of sheet music to fit the range of your ocarina better.

What can work amazingly for beginners is the Fingering Chart. Even though various ocarinas may be tuned differently, the charts will work all the same.

You can start with the basic C Major Fingering Chart above, which perfectly fits 4, 5 and 6-hole ocarinas. The only difference is that a 4-hole simply doesn't have the 2 highest notes - D and E, and a 5-hole won't have a high E.

Try to learn and memorize the finger combinations and then train your fingers to play the fingerings gracefully.