History of Ocarina 1
     Ocarina (Italian: ‘little goose’). A VESSEL FLUTE with a hollow body,
originally in the shape of a large elongated egg. The standard Western
ocarina was invented and named in about 1853 by Giuseppe Luigi Donati
(
b Budrio, 2 Dec 1836; d Milan, 14 Feb 1925). The term ‘ocarina’ has since
been applied to other vessel flutes; this article will discuss the history of
the vessel flute worldwide.
 Ocarinas are usually made with ducts; that on Donati’s model is
contained within a spout which protrudes part way along the main body of
the instrument. The player’s breath is directed through this extended
mouthpiece to a sharp edge, causing the mass of air in the instrument to
vibrate. On other shapes of ocarina, the mouthpiece may be found at any
convenient point on the body and may also be incorporated into the design
(e.g. in the form of a bird’s tail). Ocarinas without ducts are played by
directing breath over a hole. The sound of the ocarina is largely free of
upper harmonics, and it cannot normally be overblown to play an upper
octave. Ocarinas may be made with or without finger-holes, which may be
placed anywhere on the body since the size of the hole, rather than its
position, determines the tuning. The pitch of the lowest note is established
mainly by the ocarina’s internal volume and, to a lesser extent, by the
dimensions of the mouth-hole and by the angle and strength of the player’s
breath. When all the finger-holes are closed, the ocarina acts as a
STOPPED PIPE, thus sounding about an octave lower than an open-ended
flute of similar size. Vessel flutes with very few or no finger-holes are
classed as whistles when used purely for bird calls or as signalling devices
(e.g. cuckoo whistle, sports whistle); when used for musical purposes they
are classed as flutes. The most versatile ocarinas have four or more finger-
holes for playing up to 20 chromatic notes. They may be made with a single
chamber or with multiple chambers for playing more than one note
simultaneously.
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Italian Ocarina
Photo by: Chu Po Ming, 朱普明