Ocarina is a musical instrument and it is famous for it’s own beauty and sounds. Many Ocarina enthusiasts around the world can make nice and melody with it. However, ocarinas are not only musical instruments but are also a form of visual art. In this article we are going to speak about Ocarinas and it’s beauty.
In Budrio, Italy, there is an annual ocarina festival, where musicians gather and play beautiful music with their ceramic or clay instruments. The small town is also home to many famous ocarina makers like Fabio Menaglio and more. Another common place to see ocarinas are in Yingge District in Taipei, Taiwan.
Where does the art of ocarina-making come from? It is widely believed that many cultures came up with the idea of making ocarinas independently. In fact, we can see it in many cultures, such as the Chinese xun flute and some examples found in South America. However, what we usually call a sweet-potato ocarina today is a modern instrument developed in Italy by a man by the name of Giuseppe Donati. The pendant ocarina was invented by John Taylor, an Englishman who dropped out of music school.
How does this work? Ocarinas are ceramic instruments, makers can colour them in all sorts of pigments and shades. It is also possible to create ocarinas in many shapes and sizes. Ocarinas can be so small you can wear them as necklaces or something so large you have to put it on a stand. You can encounter these in museums or shops. Generally, ocarinas are plainer as playing music comes to mind first, though it is possible to transform them into visual works of art.
Some Songbird Ocarinas were designed to be aesthetically pleasing. The Dragon Tooth line of ocarinas is fired with beautiful patterns and colours. Its other lines also feature crackled or floral patterns. This adds a whole new level to artistic expression, as one can ‘see’ the music being played by the performer.
Not all ocarinas have fancy glazes or patterns, but there are some made in shapes of common objects. You can place them on a shelf or table as an art piece to decorate your room or you can pick it up after showing it to friends and family and then play a little tune. Both choices are forms of art, only the latter combines the visual aspect of the ocarina with the aural aspect.
Yet another unique type of ocarina that combines multiple aspects of art exists. Meet the teacarina, or an ocarina in the shape of a teacup. While perfectly functional as an ocarina, albeit having only four holes, you can also drink tea out of it. Invite some guests over and show them your set of cups, then make some tea before playing. You will surely captivate them and spark some conversation about these lovely pieces of art. Why look at a beautiful teacup when you can play music and sip tea out of it too?
I have a lot of experience with ocarinas, as I used to study in Taiwan and learnt how to play under a teacher. I also happen to have been to Yingge once or twice to buy some ocarinas for practicing. While I have not been to Budrio, perhaps one day I will have the opportunity. Playing them has taught me that ocarinas are not just musical instruments, but they can be charming decorations for others to admire before playing a joyful tune with them. The first thing many people say before I play my ocarina is either ‘wow, so pretty!’, ‘what a cute instrument!’, or something similar. It is clear to me that the instrument has to capability to impress visually as well as aurally too.
Truly, ocarinas are a unique form of art. Very few instruments can look pleasing to the eye as well as make music. As such, the ocarina is not just pleasing to hear, but art to admire with the eye.