Side Note

This assumes you understand octave registers and how they space named. If not, please check out "Octaves and scale formation".

You are watching: How to play a 12 hole ocarina

The transverse ocarina offers a straightforward linear fingering system similar to the tin whistle and also Boehm flute. Single chambered ocarinas have actually eight main holes on peak of the instrument and two thumb holes—one hole because that every finger and both thumbs, which are labelled in the diagram below. This eight finger holes and also two ignorance holes are universal across all single chambered ocarinas, regardless of if you have a 10, 11, or 12 hole ocarina. The far right hole of the 4 right hand finger holes is sometimes split into two smaller holes, but should it is in treated as a single hole.


Ocarinas constantly have at least one an ext hole dubbed the voicing, which is labelled above. This is whereby sound is produced, and it need to never be spanned while playing. Ocarinas may additionally include one, two, or hardly ever three subholes, one of which is displayed below. Lock are extr holes positioned alongside one the the eight key finger holes, and allow you come play lower notes. Subholes need to not be puzzled with split holes; a break-up hole is a solitary hole which has actually been separation into two smaller sized holes to make an inadvertently (sharp or flat) simpler to play.

Under regular circumstances, you have the right to treat a separation hole as a single hole, covering both of the holes through the pad the the pinky finger. In ~ naming conventions, split holes also count together a solitary hole. When an 11 hole ocarina through a break-up hole technically has "12 holes" in the feeling of having actually 12 holes to be extended by the fingers, the is quiet an 11 hole ocarina in naming and also practice.


The organic notes

The 10 key finger holes, not consisting of the subhole(s) if applicable, can be taken into consideration "home base". At any time they room covered and also the right press used, the ocarina will certainly sound the note of the key—C if you have a C ocarina. The diagrams listed below depict equivalent fingerings because that a 10 feet ocarina v a split pinky hole, and a 12 feet ocarina through "Taiwanese" format subholes. Different subhole configuration exist i m sorry are described later. An alert that the fingerings of the 10 key holes does not change.

The one positioned next to the diagram represent, indigenous left come right, the left and right thumb holes. Black method that the hole is covered, and also white way it is uncovered.

10 hole


12 hole


As one ocarina"s pitch relies on the full area of open holes, you deserve to play higher notes by opening holes. Beginning at the fingering given above, you have the right to play a major scale through lifting your fingers from ideal to left. The examples given here show a C ocarina, but the very same fingerings use to ocarinas in any kind of key; just substitute the note of the key, such as G A B C D E F♯ G for a G ocarina. The fingerings room as follows:

First, lifting the appropriate pinky sound the 2nd note the the scale.Lifting the ring finger sounds the third.Lifting the middle finger sounds the fourth scale note.Finally, lifting the index finger sounds the fifth.

Note the low C on the staff technically refers to C4 or center C. Ocarinas commonly consider this "low C", nevertheless of their octave.


The following notes are played through the left hand:

The 6th is played by lifting the left ring finger.The saturday of the range is played by lifting the left center finger.Lifting the left table of contents finger sound the octave.

I have actually seen a many of human being instinctively elevator the left pinky rather of the ring finger, which is wrong. The pinky is provided to support the instrument and to play one of its highest possible notes. Incidentally, this pattern of utilizing the ring finger is the exact same as the concert flute, recorder, and tin whistle.


There are two various fingering equipment in presence for the 2nd octave: Asian and Italian. The asian system is the many common. In this fingering the high notes are played together follows:

The 2nd octave begins by lifting the left ignorance to beat D.The appropriate thumb is rolled turn off to play E.Finally, the left pinky is lifted critical to sound the highest possible note.

The Italian fingering is practically identical, and also just reverses the ordering of two notes. Rather of playing the E ~ above the right thumb (assuming a C instrument), friend play that on the pinky. This is arguably remarkable as it allows one more note come be played without relocating the best thumb and thus removing the instrument"s major support point. The downside of this system is that it renders the pinky feet a lot bigger i beg your pardon is impractical for lower pitched ocarinas, and also can be a problem for people with little hands.


Subhole notes

Many ocarinas have actually subholes, which include a variety extension listed below the fingerings shown previously. On one C ocarina, subholes allow you to play B and, theoretically, A top top a 12 hole. They are handled by slide the finger forwards, spanning two holes with the pad of a finger. The fingerings for a 12 hole ocarina are shown below. On an 11 feet ocarina, the fingering is the same, but the 2nd subhole does no exist and also the single subhole may be put on either finger.


As was detailed in "Ocarina keys and pitch ranges", subholes do have limitations. 12 holes is top top the border of what an ocarina is physically able come do, and also having 2 subholes has tendency to be a compromise. The 2nd subhole is normally tuned with a press drop leave the note very quiet; in practice, the is more useable as a B♭. This notes also have ergonomic troubles as sliding fingers is harder than lifting and placing them.

Several different configurations the subholes exist. In the Taiwanese device one subhole is positioned on every hand for the middle fingers. If the 2nd subhole instead appears in the place of the best index finger, the ocarina has "Japanese" subholes. The numbers indicate which order they room covered in as soon as descending the diatonic scale.

Taiwanese subholes


Japanese subholes


11 hole left hand


Personally, ns don"t uncover subholes really useful. They deserve to serve together passing weak notes, but you normally wouldn"t desire to start or end up a power on them unless you space deliberately aiming because that a weak effect. If you great to use lower notes in a performance, ns think playing a multichambered ocarina in a lower key is superior, such together a twin alto G.

The chromatic notes

In many cases, the ocarina"s chromatic notes carry out not have actually holes of your own. They space played through "cross fingering", spanning the holes the end of sequence. This works as the totality chamber is always oscillating, and also the sounded pitch is figured out by the full area of open up holes. The complying with shows some instance cross fingerings, however do note that the pitch created by a overcome fingering counts on the acoustic behaviour of a offered chamber. Consequently, the ideal tuned fingerings vary from one ocarina come another, and especially in between ocarinas in various octaves. Ns recommend instead using the fingerings provided in the fingering chart for her ocarina.


The over fingerings present the application of a separation hole, spanning only one of the feet to play the sharp. Overcome fingerings result in well tuned accidentals on higher notes since there are many possible combinations available, so there is a great chance among them will certainly be well tuned. This is not true of the low notes, and playing C♯ through a subhole forces a compromise in between the below hole and also the C♯. Break-up holes can significantly improve the tuning of the accidental, as they give it a devoted hole.

Split feet are usual on 10 feet ocarinas, together the only method to beat the spicy otherwise is to partially vent a hole. Separation holes space also very common top top the greater chambers the multichambered ocarinas because that the same reason.

Alternate fingerings

Because the pitch of an ocarina depends largely on the full area of open up finger holes, you can generally play notes utilizing fingerings different from the persons shown. These space sometimes offered in the fingering graph for your instrument, but often you have to work them the end by experimentation. Alternate fingerings can be provided for a variety of reasons, including to simplify a fast passage, play microtones and, with enough skill, to create volume dynamics.

Generally, the fingerings offered in a fingering graph are preferred such the the breath curve rises smoothly in between sequential notes. This is frequently not true of alternate fingerings, which may require an irregular boost or decrease in punch pressure. Due to the fact that of this, the main fingering should be wanted as it will certainly balance better with the volume of neighboring notes.

Alternate fingerings regularly play in tune at a different pressure, and thus deserve to be offered to deliberately make notes stand out. Lock can likewise be advantageous at speed. When playing fast, rhythmic errors are often much more obvious than the pitches of separation, personal, instance notes. Consequently, that is yes to allow tuning to drift contempt if it permits you come play smoothly.

See more: Which Type Of Organism Is Most Likely To Undergo Sympatric Speciation By Polyploidy?

Finally, alternate fingerings permit you to vary the volume the the instrument. This have the right to be completed by finding a fingering the is sharp or flat, climate compensating by changing your pressure, and thus correcting the pitch and an altering the volume. Girlfriend can additionally do this by partly venting holes, yet doing so repeatedly takes a many skill.