How to Play an Ocarina With 8 Holes

By Lee Johnson

Learning how to play the ocarina can be a difficult task, because there are many different sizes and each requires different fingering to produce the same note. The eight-hole ocarina enables you to play a complete tonal range of notes, meaning it can be used to play songs in any key. The ocarina is a wind instrument, which means that noise is produced by blowing into the instrument and the notes are changed by covering or uncovering several holes on the instrument’s body. Learning how to play each of the 12 notes on the ocarina enables you play any tune, provided you practice changing between notes.

Cover all of the holes on the ocarina. Use the index, middle and ring fingers on each hand to cover the six holes on the top portion of the instrument. Cover the holes in the side of the instrument with your thumbs. This position should also enable you to hold the ocarina steadily. Blow into the hole to play the note. Remember that this is a C note, located either in the space above the middle line or one line below the bottom line on a treble (melody) musical staff. Half-cover the hole in the top right of the ocarina -- which should be controlled by your right ring finger -- to play a C sharp, which is located in the same position on the musical staff, with a “#” symbol next to it.

Remove your right ring finger entirely from the top-right hole and blow into the ocarina again to play a D note. This is located one space above C on a musical staff. Half-cover the middle hole on the right hand side of the ocarina to play a D sharp. This hole should be operated by the middle finger on your right hand. Remove this finger from the hole entirely to play an E note -- another space higher on the musical staff.

Cover both side holes and all three of the notes on the left side of the top of the instrument. Blow into the ocarina to produce an F note -- again, one space further up the musical staff. Remove your thumb from the hole on the right hand side of the instrument to play an F sharp.

Take your left ring finger away from the top left hole on the top of the ocarina and blow into the hole to produce a G note. Remove your left-middle finger from the left-center hole on top of the ocarina and blow again to play a G sharp. Take your left index finger away -- so the only hole covered is the left side hole covered by your thumb -- and blow into the instrument again to play an A note.

Blow into the ocarina with no holes pressed down with average force to produce an A sharp note. To play a B, blow into the ocarina very hard. This is the complete tonal range of the eight hole ocarina, and is every musical note.

About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005. His articles have appeared in "Sandman" magazine, the "Crewe Chronicle" and on the website Beyond Hollywood. He is primarily a music journalist but has written on many subjects. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Manchester Metropolitan University.