Why are my ocarina's high notes flat?

Most often, an ocarina's high notes will be flat as you are not blowing hard enough.

Ocarinas are tuned with a breath curve, where pressure must increase as you play higher notes. If your high notes are flat, there is a good chance that you are not blowing hard enough.

As holes are opened, air can escape the chamber and the high notes become increasingly airy sounding. To compensate for this, ocarinas are tuned with a pressure curve that ramps up towards the high end.

A graph visualising the breath curve of a well tuned single chamber ocarina. Pressure increases smoothly from the low note to the high note

Using a chromatic tuner or your ear, finger one of the high notes and vary your pressure, gradually raising it until the note sounds in tune.; you may be surprised just how much pressure they need relative to the low notes.

Other reasons for flat high notes

There are a number of other reasons an ocarina may have flat high notes, including:

  • Playing in a cold environment.
  • Shading finger holes.

These are discussed in the FAQ item Why does my ocarina have airy high notes?