Ocarina Musical Instrument

Classical music is a broad term that usually refers to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, Western art, or ecclesiastical and concert music, in the period from the 9th century to the 21st century.

Classic music is still played by many of today’s musicians. The instruments used in classical music were mostly invented before the middle of the 19th century. Some of them had been designed even earlier, and codified in the 18th and 19th centuries

It does not matter if you’re musical or not, but surely you are must aware of most classical instruments, including classical musical instruments are  guitars, harps, trumpets, violins and the like. However, have you stumbled upon the ocarina before?

Origin of Ocarina:

The first known musical instrument ocarina appears about 1200 years ago. The ocarina’s origins can be traced back to many different cultures. In South and Central America, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all developed and performed on clay ocarinas which were often shaped like birds or animals.

How it looks:

Ocarinas are a family of vessel flutes, featuring a closed chamber riddled with finger holes. Interestingly, it is able to play a lot more notes than it has holes and can have any shape a craftsman wants. Shape and the hole locations make almost no difference. This fact enables an ocarina to come in a lot of forms and be kind of a piece of art in itself. The pinnacle of this is probably the dragon tooth ocarina.


An ocarina can made out of virtually all materials clay, ceramic, plastic, metal, stone and so forth. Because of this artistic freedom, I sometimes describe it as the “paradise bird” among flutes. The ocarina comes in all imaginable forms, sizing and colorations, whereas other wind instruments such as recorders need a particular material and a certain form to function.

Brief History Of Ocarina:

I find this fact remarkable! The oldest musical instrument ocarina and its older brothers have been with mankind over all of its history. They were altered in shape and cultural use, but their sound remained the same. Any standard classical musical instrument is an infant when put next to vessel flutes.

Basically, different peoples have invented stone or clay instruments independently from one another. For instance, the Chinese have the xun. It is over seven thousand years of age and is still popular today. Then there’s the medieval German gemshorn. It was made out of the horn of a goat. Lastly, don’t forget the Aztecs, who used these flutes in their traditional music and rituals. After the Aztecs had been conquered, their clay flutes found their way to the European continent and eventually Italy, where Giuseppe Donati changed them into what we know as the ocarina.


The United States got the classical musical instrument ocarina early in the 20th century, and Ocarina was very popular among American soldiers. Many carried ocarinas with them during World War 1 and played them to boost their morale. In WW2, the US military actually issued these instruments to soldiers all over Europe, which reflects how important the instrument was back then.

After the war, public awareness of the ocarina decreased. It never became a part in the western lifestyle. Nonetheless, it was used in a few well known songs, such as “Wild Thing”.

Throughout the East, the ocarina has always been much more common. Virtually every Asian knows the instrument the way you are aware of the piano. Because of this, it frequently finds a role in film, music or video games. And it is due to this that the ocarina is getting ever more fashionable in the west. Particularly through Japanese games, the classical musical instrument ocarina has found a way right into popular culture and into the minds and hearts of young and old.

How to play ocarina:

To play the ocarina, start by putting the mouthpiece in your mouth so the holes on the instrument are facing up. Then, cover some of the holes with your fingers, and blow into the mouthpiece to play a note. You can play different notes by covering different holes with your fingers.

You have a 4-hole musical instrument Ocarina. Ocarina plays 11 notes by covering different combinations of holes. Make up your own tunes with ocarina by playing these five notes in whatever order you like.

But the musical instrument ocarina is much more than a simple clay flute or a toy made popular by a game. As a matter of fact, classical musical instrument Ocarina is a professional musical instrument that is designed for ensemble play. It has an ancient sound different from all other flutes, simply because it won’t make over-tones. That circumstance grants it a very mellow, gentle tone, clean and concentrated on that one note it creates each and every instant. This otherworldly feature of its music is just as unique as its shape and history.


The quena is the customary flute of the Andes. It has different terms used to specify it including hispanicized spelling of Quechua qina, also written kena in English language.

It has 6 finger holes and is traditionally made of wood or cane. It consists of one thumb hole, and is usually open at both ends or the bottom is choked. The player closes the top end of the pipe in order to produce sound with the flesh between the chin and lower lip, and a stream of air is blown downward, along the alliance with the pipe, over an oval notch cut into the end. It is typically in the key of G, with G4 being the rock bottom note with all holes covered.

The size and shape of the blow-hole of the kena is of prime importance and significant regarding the prospective volume, tone and the precision of the octave. Its notch is designed differently in several regions, and changes even conferring to shape it may be U or V shaped, angular, presenting various proportions and fleeting forms that even blend with each other. The angular air notch is indistinguishable from that of flutes. The most significant difference between the common flute and the quena is presented by the closed upper end of the flute by a stopper, and a thin stream of air channels which blow air to the air notch; in the result, the shape and size of the air column does not change.

 The totally open upper end of the quena is covered by the player and he plays flute whilst supporting it with the lower lip and chin. The breadth of the air column, its shape and direction are synchronized by the lips in fact, it is necessary to learn how to sound the instrument for players much in the same way as the traverse flute. The quena flute produces highest and the deepest flute sounds.

Traditionally Quena is frequently used in Andean music. Quena was used in 1960s and 1970s by several nueva canción music experts. This use was credited to particular cases of songs. It was not used as a standard instrument, but some groups of musicians such as virtuoso player Facio Santillan have used Quena regularly. It was also incorporated in some of the songs by some post-nueva rock groups; Remarkably Soda Stereo  and Los Enanitos Verdes in Lamento Boliviano. The quena is also pretty much common in world music. Quenas are generally played in pairs and in harmony. In Peru, white quenas can be seen made from the leg-bone of the condor.

According to popular beliefs the instrument quena was also used to whip due to which it was used as threat for children. “vamos a ir a la quena” was the sentence told to children to scare them in the region of Andes.

Zampona Music Instrument

This wind instrument is from the family of pan-pipe,  and is made using varying sizes of a series of cane tubes bound together, which form one or two rows the musical note is dependent upon the size of tubes. It is available in the variety of length depending upon the region it is manufactured in because the quantity and length of tubes vary from region to region. It is very popular in the region of southern Peru, and played in all the festivities particularly in department of Puno.

Origin of Zampona is in the Tiahuanaco culture, which was flourished near the border of Bolivia and Peru around 700AD.  It was called Siku since its origin and players were called Sikuris. The inspiration behind the notes of this instrument was Andean peaks and players composed music particularly to honor their deities including condor, land, sky and moon. It was performed in the ceremonies as well.

In order to play a scale completely, one out of two split rows of Siku must alternate with every note. Two musicians were required traditionally, to play the siku, each one had to take one row of the instrument. Ira and arka were two parts of the instrument.it has spiritual significance according to which Ira is male principle and Arka in female principle. When it is played by chorus of musician, which is usually divided into two parts, one play ira and other play arka, gives the stereophonic sound to Andean music.

There are varieties of siku having 3 rows with chromatic scale, with pitch distribution like that of chromatic button accordion. The pipes are braced with the right hand and held in the left hand to play Siku correctly. and braced with the right. Wind is forced right to the bottom while playing Siku. As with most wind instruments the player blows downward and breathes from the diaphragm. Although it is difficult for beginners as they learn to avoid breathing through the pipe. They have to learn breathing techniques in order to avoid dizziness. The experts know how to produce two melodies at once. The sound is between a European flute and a modest tin whistle.  It has a breath-like eminence that evokes the wind of the elevated peaks.

diatonic scale is used in Siku. Siku ch’alla is modified in E minor / G major, arca: D-F#-A-C-E-G-B and ira:E-G-B-D-F#-A. The individual pipes resemble to the standard notes of the scale: Si, Sol, Mi, Do, La, Fa, Re; and La, Fa, Re, Si, Sol, Mi.  The Inca tonal scale consists of five notes.

There are many different sizes of siku, typically tuned is an octave apart. The smallest of the family is called ika or chulli (Quechuach’ulli). The next greater size, the most common, is called malta (Quechuamalta). An octave minor than the malta is the sanka or zanka (Quechuasanka). The prime of the family is the toyo (Quechuat’uyu) or jach’a (Aymarajach’a). The longest pipe length of the toyo is usually around 4 feet (120 centimeters).