Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 9 ~ Holiday Gift Guide ~ STL Ocarina Flute Review & Giveaway

St. Louis Ocarina was established in 2005 to help revive interest in the art of ocarina playing.

The STL Ocarinas have appeared with major symphony orchestras under the direction of such notable conductors as Pierre Boulez and Michael Tilson Thomas. The ocarinas have been used in performances with the New World Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, Chicago Symphony and most recently, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in their holiday concerts.

History of Ocarina...

Early History...
The ocarina is an ancient instrument. The first known ocarina-like instrument appear about 12000 years ago. The ocarina’s origins can be traced back to many different cultures. In South and Central America, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all developed and performed on clay ocarinas which were often shaped like birds or animals. Ocarinas shaped like birds and animals could also be found in India as early as 5000 BC. China had its own form of ocarina called a Xun which was more rounded and egg-like in shape.

16th-19th Centuries...
The ocarina eventually made its way to Europe. In 1527, Cortes sent a group of Aztec dancers and musicians back to Emperor Charles V to perform at the royal court. The performance was well received and the Aztecs were sent to perform at various exhibitions throughout Europe. According to legend, a baker in Rome saw such a performance and was so impressed with the ocarina that he decided to make his own. (Bakers at that time often would make small pottery objects in their ovens to use up the leftover ashes.) It was nicknamed “ocarina” meaning “little goose.”

20th Century...
During the first and second World Wars, servicemen often were provided with a pocket-sized ocarina to boost moral. With the release of the popular video game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” in the 1990s, the ocarina has reached a new level of popularity in America, Asia and Europe.

The ocarina is an ideal instrument for families. The ocarina is easy to learn, affordable, compact and versatile — making it accessible to all ages. Ocarinas are played by blowing into the instrument and covering or uncovering finger holes to produce a variety of notes in a soothing, melodic tone.

Beginners will have little difficulty learning. All they need to learn are the fingering techniques to create different notes, minimizing the noisy and embarrassing squeaking noise that can be a problem with other instruments. St. Louis Ocarina makes the process even simpler by supplying fingering charts and method books that can help all ages learn the ocarina and begin playing songs more quickly.

Ocarinas come in many shapes and sizes. St. Louis Ocarina has the perfect ocarina for everyone — some look exactly like Link’s from the video game, some are very simple, others are shaped like animals, and some even have intricate designs painted on them. Ocarinas come in a wide variety, so there is something to please everyone.

And, they are made for all skill levels so as beginners progress, they can still be challenged by the more complex types of the instrument. Most are compact so they are easy to transport. Many even have a place for a cord so they can be carried
around the neck.

Transverse (Sweet potato) - This is the best known style of ocarina. It has a rounded shape and is held with two hands horizontally. Depending on the number of holes, one just needs to open one more hole than the previous in order to ascend in pitch. The two most common Transverse ocarinas are the 10-holes (originated by Giuseppe Donati in Italy) and the 12-holes.

My Thoughts~!!

The STL Ocarina has got to be one of the neatest musical instruments that I have ever had the pleasure of playing.  The sound is remarkably wonderful to hear and it is very VERY easy to use.  I was skeptical at first, it looks very daunting, however, it didn't take me long to get the hang of it and blowing out some sweet notes~!!

I found the music books that were included quite easy to understand and I was blowing along with it in no time at all.  The first song I practiced was "Happy Birthday", it just happened to be my birthday that day and I thought it was appropriate~!!

My husband is the kind of guy who can play any instrument by ear...**envy**...and he was blowing tunes out that I didn't even know could be played, he loves old Celtic music and the notes sounded beautiful issuing from the Ocarina!  My husband is also a songwriter and he is trying to incorporate the ocarina into his music, he has a fife but feels the ocarina makes a nicer sound~!!

I love the tie-in with Zelda and Link and I remember well when The Legend of Zelda first appeared on the scene and the fascination with the Ocarina.  I never realized it was based on an actual ancient instrument and I loved reading the historical aspect behind the Ocarina.

I think this would make an excellent Christmas gifts for your musical and NON-musical loved ones.  It's simple to use, easy to learn and wonderful to hear!!

Want to win one of your very own??  The groovy grand folks at STL Ocarina and Mad Moose Mama are giving away one mystery won't know what one your getting until it arrives...SQUEEEE...I'm soo excited~!!  Good luck to ALL~!!
The Rafflecopter form below shall help you and your luck shall do the rest~!!

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** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **