Ocarina

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The ocarina ( /ɒkəˈrnə/) is an ancient flute-like wind instrument.[1] Variations do exist, but a typical ocarina is an enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouthpiece that projects from the body. It is often ceramic, but other materials may also be used, such as plastic, wood, glass, clay, and metal.

Contents

History

The ocarina is a very old family of instruments, believed to date back thousands of years.[2] Ocarina-type instruments have been of particular importance in Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures. For the Chinese, the instrument played an important role in their long history of song and dance. The ocarina has similar features to the Xun (塤), another important Chinese instrument (but is different in that Ocarina uses an internal duct, whereas Xun is blown across the outer edge.)[3] In Japan, the traditional ocarina is known as the tsuchibue (hiragana: つちぶえ; kanji: 土笛; literally "earthen flute"). Different expeditions to Mesoamerica, including the one conducted by Cortés, resulted in the introduction of the ocarina to the courts of Europe. Both the Mayans and Aztecs had produced versions of the ocarina, but it was the Aztecs who brought the song and dance to Europe that accompanied the ocarina. The ocarina went on to become popular in European communities as a toy instrument.[4][5]

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