The parts of an ocarina

While ocarinas are usually formed from a single piece of ceramic, different parts of the instrument are given different names. These are labelled in the diagram below. Note that while a single chambered ocarina is shown, multichambers feature the same components; they just have multiple of each.

Ocarina anatomy


An ocarina's body forms a hollow chamber which is used to produce sound. It also features multiple resting points for fingers, the tail and cappello noted below.

Mouthpiece / windway

The mouthpiece includes the windway where the player blows. It is often slightly angled for ergonomic reasons.


The air exiting the windway crosses the voicing and strikes the labium. This causes the air in the chamber to oscillate and produce sound. The voicing is never covered while playing.

Toneholes / subhole

The ocarina's toneholes are used to play different notes, and are covered by the fingers. Ocarinas have 10 primary holes, 8 on top plus 2 thumb holes. In addition to these, ocarinas can feature one or two subholes, additional holes placed beside another hole. These are used to play lower notes and are played by sliding a finger forwards, covering two holes with the pad of the finger. The ocarina shown here is an 11 hole with one subhole above the right hand ring finger. This can used to play a semitone below the tonic. Not all ocarinas have a subhole.


When not covering its tonehole, the right pinky finger rests on the ocarina's tail beside the hole. This support point is vital to stabilizing the ocarina on the high notes.


The 'cappello', Italian for 'hat', is a support point on the left hand end of the chamber. It is also a support point, and the left index finger may be placed on it while playing the high notes.

What are ocarinas capable of? Ocarina naming conventions

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