ootocarinaRight out of the box, Songbird Ocarina’s newest Ocarina of Time replica ocarina is a sight to behold. We’ll see if it sounds as good as it looks.

Everything inside the box.

Everything inside the box.

The OoT Ocarina comes with two components: the ocarina itself, and a thin song booklet filled with information and special ocarina notation for a plethora of Zelda songs. No case is provided, though some sort of free, simple holster would have been nice. It’s difficult to find a spot to keep a glazed ceramic instrument.

The first thing to notice about Songbird Ocarina’s new replica is that it’s finally game-accurate. For the first time ever, the ocarina maker is putting out an instrument that actually replicates the Ocarina of Time, down to the golden ring on the mouthpiece, and to an extent the placement of the holes. Songbird Ocarina’s previous replicas were simply blue transverse (or “sweet potato”) ocarinas with a Triforce painted onto the mouthpiece; those also only had four holes.

So, it’s safe to say that this is their most complete replica ever produced – and it looks the part. The entire instrument is hand-crafted, but is done so with excellent precision and skill. I expected the ocarina to be lightweight, hence more fragile, and possibly slightly misshapen from the photos on their website. However, what I got was a rock-solid ceramic instrument that looked almost too beautiful to touch. The glaze makes this ocarina shinier than an Apple product; I was constantly polishing it to get rid of fingerprints in order to keep the instrument looking nice and new.

That said, I do that for most shiny objects. Call it OCD, or whatever you will. However, I’m glad that arguably the most popular OoT-replica producing company has added the shiny golden rim to the mouthpiece, even if it gives me something to polish.

More Holes, Less Difficulty

The entire layout of this ocarina differs from its brethren, who only have four holes as opposed to twelve. I’m partial to the twelve-hole design over the four-hole design – I find using four holes to produce an entire scale of music is rather convoluted. With ten holes on its front, the new OoT Ocarina allows the player to own one hole per note and manipulate sharps and flats with ease using two smaller holes.

I should point out why this layout is so easy to use – how can more holes be simpler? It took me a while to notice this – and in face it had to be pointed out to me – that the twelve-hole layout is very close to that of a standard recorder. The ocarina, however, is held horizontally like a flute. The end result of this combination? If you learned how to play a recorder when you were a little kid, and have the ability to rotate your thinking to playing a recorder sideways as a flute, then you’ll have absolutely no trouble picking up this instrument and playing any song you know.

I find that the above comparison is important – once that clicked, I no longer needed any instruction on how to play this ocarina. The songbook, while full of information and music, became utterly useless to me; everything was so straightforward that I could pick up how to play most songs by ear on my first try.

That said, I’m a very musical person, and I usually learn how to play instruments by ear. When I reviewed Smule’s iPhone Ocarina application, I also didn’t use any of their online tutorials. The less musical among us will find solace in the provided song booklet, which shows the player which holes to cover to play certain notes. As derogatory as this sounds, the song book is essentially dumbed-down sheet music, which makes it a great resource for beginners or the less musically-inclined.

Using the Song Booklet and Playing Music

If you’re just beginning to learn musical instruments, you’ll certainly be enticed by the song booklet that comes with the OoT Ocarina. The songbook itself is full of music from the Zelda series, spanning generations from the intro theme to Ocarina of Time to music straight from Twilight Princess. Each note in the booklet is presented as an illustration of an ocarina with certain holes darkened, signifying finger placements. However, that’s about all the notation provided – it’s up to the player to determine the tempo he or she likes best.

I found this frustrating while trying to read the music. Because no tempo is set, the spacing between notes is not clear in the booklet. I tried to learn to play Saria’s Song using the booklet’s notation, but the odd gaps in between the notes didn’t signify to me how long to hold a note. While I realize that this kind of sheet music is intended for an audience that already knows the songs by memory, I can only imagine how confusing it must be to beginners.

That said, once you’ve figured out how the notation works, you’ll find you’re playing notes correctly (and hopefully in the right order). As I said before, the booklet is only great for real beginners; if you’ve ever played any musical instrument at all, you can pick up how to play this ocarina within a day and ignore the song booklet – you’ll probably learn music faster that way.

You’ll notice after playing a while that your fingers might hurt a bit. I’m not sure if it’s my fault for holding the ocarina wrong, or if the ocarina just isn’t as ergonomic as it could have been. I’m under the impression right now that, while playing, the pinky hole for the right hand is meant to always be covered unless one needs to play higher notes. After playing for a few minutes, my pinky always cramped up. I did play around with finger placements quite a bit and found this to be the best placement for me – I’m sure others hold their ocarina differently.

As with a recorder, the holes must be completely covered when playing. This is what takes the most practice – I still slip up and move my thumbs. The instrument itself is naturally about a quarter-step sharp (says my tuner), so accidentally opening up holes really messes up the situation and skews the tone of whatever you might be playing. As I practiced, I became much more adept at covering up the holes – but I did have to practice, and so will you.

There are other quirks to playing an ocarina that make it similar to the recorder, such as the dynamic range of pitches. Depending on how hard or soft you blow into the mouthpiece, you can raise or lower the pitch by a half-step. These sorts of quirks make the instrument much more interesting to play, and I’m sure I haven’t discovered half of all the techniques that go into playing an ocarina, which will make this instrument entertaining for a long time.

Worth the cash?

The OoT Ocarina sells for $99.95, a pretty penny if you’re not working or are saving up for other purchases. I’ve always envied Songbird Ocarina’s instruments, in a way, because I could never afford them – or could never justify the purchase of such an expensive instrument. Their newest instrument only takes this price point higher, but at the same time raises the bar for replica ocarinas.

If I had a spare hundred smackers, I might have decided to spend it on this instrument. I can imagine that somebody unfamiliar with purchasing musical instruments might not understand why the cost is so high, but $100 for a precision-crafted musical instrument is actually a reasonable asking price. Of course, I found that I mostly played this instrument for fun. Although the OoT Ocarina is incredibly well-crafted and sounds beautiful, you might not be inclined to spend that much money just to play “for fun.” However, that’s speaking as a musician, and not as a Zelda fan – my inner Zelda nerd can’t get over how great this ocarina looks, and if you’ve been after an ocarina that actually looks like the Ocarina of Time for the last decade, you’ve finally found it.


  • Excellent construction
  • Hand-painted, and in the right colors!
  • Incredibly easy to play
  • Sound is pitch-perfect
  • Most accurate replica to date
  • Increases your nerd cred


  • Doesn’t come with any holster or case
  • Not very ergonomic; fingers might hurt after a while
  • $99 price tag is steep, but reasonable

If you want to buy the ocarina, all you need to do is head to Songbird Ocarinas’ website.

I’ll leave you all with two songs I tried playing on the OoT Ocarina – whether or not they’re played well is your judgment, though don’t be too harsh! I’ve only had this ocarina for a few days, and it’s mostly been played for fun. I can imagine this would sound great if I took the time to record several tracks on top of one another, but until that day…

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  • Zelda fan

    I think played very well……I like bratja the best though.(wasn't that song from an anime?)

    • Yep – it's from Fullmetal Alchemist. I thought I'd play it in honor of the new anime they're making 🙂

      • mikia

        i knew i heard that somewhere. what new anime are they making?

  • Koulatio

    I love that FullMetal Alchemist song! Where did you learn to play it? Hard to beleive that you have only had it for a few days/

  • Zelda fan

    Awesome were did you get that song?I'm getting a ocarina soon and really like to know?

  • Feere Gorone

    I got the older ocarina from that company about five years ago and unfortunately it's on my bookshelf collecting dust now. I guess I wouldn't have lost interest if it had been anything like this new one.

  • I would so love to get this thing, but I just bought an ocarina from STL Ocarina a couple months ago as well as a new MacBook just last week…so needless to say, I'm kinda broke right now. =P

  • jwalraven

    Once I get some money saved up, I'm definitely getting one. I have two other ocarinas at home I need to learn to play.

  • Jason…that replica isn't recent..Song Bird has had it for 2 years now…and yes I'm talking about the exact replica…my cousin bought the Song Bird OOT Replica in December 2007

  • thrairth

    I'm jealous. I have a 12 hole from STL Ocarinas, but it's in the key of F :(. I have to do backflips to make it match my piano music… I wants a C ocarina… 🙁

  • Quint

    It's a shame it isn't an official Nintendo-item, so a 'real Zelda-collector' like me finds it worthless. It looks nice though.

    • hextupleyoodot

      =P so? even if it doesn't quite add to your collection, you can't, not appreciate the instrument along with its shout out to Zelda OoT

    • Matt

      That is true, but Nintendo Power is swarmed with advertisements from SongBird. Guess Nintendo relies on them to make their Zelda fans happy.

  • Really great!
    I really wish I had the time to learn to play ocarina. (And the money to pay for it.)

  • Meralia

    I wants…
    One thing that has bothered me for a looong time: why are the replica's always made so you hold it on your left side? The Ocarina in the game is the other way around, Link hold's it on his right. I guess it's a leftie version… This tiny little thing drives me crazy, don't call it an exact replica when it's not, it's a mirrored version! (The nerd in me is greatly annoyed by this ^^')
    Oh well, I must have this anyway, it's stunning. As soon as I have the money…

    • Margar

      well Link is Left-handed, so it's really just a matter of a lef-handed instrument versus a right-handed instrument.

      It's like Jason pointed out- It's exactly like a recorder except sideways, so if you ever played the recorder, this makes it easier. I'm sure they did it like that on purpose.

  • Tess

    I want this. Now. Do you mind if I just steal it from you?

    Nah, I'm kidding. But I'm jealous. D:

  • Guest24378

    I love FMA

  • Shaelyn

    I've been thinking for the last week that I'd get one of their ocarinas. if I wasn't sold already, I am now. I just wish it was in the key of F major – I work in D minor a lot T.T …ah well, that's what transposing is for, right?

  • Katie

    Zelda is actually kind of cool and it has a great storyline and the music is nice and soothing

    • Navi17

      I think music is one of Ocarina of Time's best feature.A lot of the Zelda games have good music, I was a little dissapointed in Phantom Hourglass music tho. Majoras Mask Was really really really great music tho. I love the song in the town and the healing song is absoulutely b-e-a utiful! OoT Has the best music of all of them though!

      • bluefire

        The song of healing is the BEST!

  • wanda


    • Navi17


  • Margar

    Wow that's awesome!
    Nice skills, too. That last song was really cool, but it sounds a lot like the Dragon Roost Island theme song to me 😮

  • Navi17

    I wonder how much it costs…….

  • Navi17


  • Navi17

    I want sarias ocarina…… the fary ocarina…….. they should make thta one. I want them both! You lucky Ducks that even have an ocarina!!! All I got is an Alto Saxaphone. O but I can play Eponas song on my Sax! And I can play the Healing song from Majoras mask!

    • hextupleyoodot

      they do indeed make a fairy ocarina. At least, it's the same shade of orange as the fairy ocarina. It doesn't replicate the in-game design quite like this newer OoT though.

    • DIn

      you can get an exact replica of the fairy ocarina at http://www.stlocarina.com/fairy.html

  • Navi17

    Do they make any other ocarinas?

  • trimph forks

    Yep. 🙂 I haven't the money to get one though. D`:

  • Chesterton

    Random: Why are the dumb digg and facebook buttons vertical now? Way to shove all of that in your face.

  • DarkLink777

    I just got an ocarina, and I can already play Zelda's lulaby, the song of time, and the song of storms. Mine is a 6-hole from songbird ocarinas. I LOVE IT!

  • DekuLink

    NO YOU CAN'T!!! That is sooooooo impossible to learn it that fast!!! You probably don't even have an ocarina!!! You only have a six hole?! HAH! I have a 99 dollar 12 hole, individually crafted ocarina and a carbon-copy fairy ocarina!!! You FAIL DarkLink777!

    • ocarina collector

      Are you retarded a?! a ocarina is one the easiest instruments ever i already learned song of time,clocktown,market,happy birthday,song of healing,the good the bad and the ugly,minuet of forest,serenade of water, bolero of fire,even song of storm and im only a newbie.

    • MKU

      Yeah, (what ocarina collector said).

      Personally, I can figure out how to play any melody I know by ear, as I go, on any tonal instrument, as long as I have a basic understanding of how the instrument works at least (example: guitar string, frets, pluck, wood resonates, o wow), but not everyone can do that.. but that's not really my point.

      The point is, get over your jealousy, lots of people really -CAN- play Zelda tunes right out of the box, so to speak. It's true. The ocarina has an easy learning curve compared to a lot of instruments, and that paired with some musical experience and/or talent can go a long way..

  • DarkLink777

    Jeeze! Lighten up DekuLink! A little while ago is 2 days, and yes I can. BTW, your user name iz dumb.

  • DekuLink

    DUMB!!!!!?????? HOW DARE YOU, OAF! LIAR!!!!!!!!!!

  • DarkLink777

    Oh forget it.

  • DekuLink

    Thats right! BOW DOWN TO ME, FAILURE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SuperNavi

    WILL YOU BOTH SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • DekuLink

    eep! (runs away from computer in fear)

  • SuperNavi

    oh, please.

  • DarkLink

    HORAY! Thanks SuperNavi!!! :v)

  • DekuLink


  • justin

    lol i didnt expect the voice to come from this guy. he looks like a little kid!

  • Navi

    This ocarina looks good but I must disagree with you,the most accurate replice to date (that I have seen) is Spencer Register ocarina's. The only bad this about his is that there very expensive and he rarely sell's them.

  • Rob

    i just bought one of those today! now comes the 2 long weeks of waiting…

    • ocarina collector

      GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!!!!!

  • ocarina collector

    OMG i really want it!!! i would beat up little kids and steal there money for that ocarina! seriously, its the most perfect looking ocarina i've ever seen in my life, why 99.95 why!!!!!!!!

  • ocarina collector

    I want it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gene

    Why is the ocarina in ur pic right handed and the one in the video is left handed?

  • four swords

    i got mine 3 days ago and i already learnd all the zelda songs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I’m looking for some material on Alto Saxaphones and I’ve just stumbled upon this site! A good read which I have found to be of value. I will enjoying coming back to have more time to read more.

  • I just listen to Spencer on the 700 Club a few minutes ago. Today is June 10, 2010 & the show just got over at 10:00 am.

    I am on my Blackberry & did a search as soon as he was finished playing so I could order his CD. I was just so impressed by the sound of the music and his love for God that inspires him.

    I will post this on my Facebook page as my friends have to hear Spencer play too. I know they will be just as impressed as I am.

    God Bless You Spencer. You have an awesome gift of music to share with us & I’m so grateful I watched the 700 Club today of all days to watch & hear your wonderful music.

    I pray God keeps blessing you & your business.


    Pat Watridge
    Topeka, Kansas

  • I just listen to Spencer on the 700 Club a few minutes ago. Today is June 10, 2010 & the show just got over at 10:00 am. I did a search as soon as he was finished playing so I could order his CD. I was just so impressed by the sound of the music and his love for God that inspires him. I will post this on my Facebook page as my friends have to hear Spencer play too. I know they will be just as impressed as I am. God Bless You Spencer. You have an awesome gift of music to share with us & I'm so grateful I watched the 700 Club today of all days to watch & hear your wonderful music.

  • zelda

    dude,you play awesomely i have a thirteen hole ocarina and want to learn how to play songs so please help me learn

  • MKU

    Where are the videos demonstrating its wide range? Or does it -not- have a wider range than their other ocarinas? I have the non-extended-range model, not the special edition, though I don't much mind that it's not an absolutely perfect OoT replica. Its range is C4 – F5, though you can also get B3 basically by blowing a little softer, but C4-F5 is its real effective range.

    That's 6 holes, 4 on the front and 2 on the back. The "4 holes" thing is just one of many things I seem to recall being instances of you misrepresenting something in some way or another. The little pendant ocarinas have 6 holes too.. even the ones from back when he just had a small shop here in Santa Barbara and my mom worked for him (Daryl Songbird), so I don't know where you're getting the 4 hole thing from. 6 to 12 is still a great leap.. no problem in announcing it that way, as I see it.

    I'm gonna stop typing though. To recap: Does that thing have an "extended range" (i.e. wider than 1 octave and a 4th) and if so (only if so), why did none of the videos showcase that wide range?

  • MKU

    @Anyone saying "NO U CAN'T!" to anyone who's said something like 'I just got my ocarina and I can already play zelda's lullaby and etc. etc. etc.': Yes, they likely can.

    My qualifications: being a talented musician. Don't really care what you believe.

    My reasoning: An ocarina is essentially a differently shaped recorder. It belongs to one of the simplest groups of tonal instruments period, and its learning curve is REALLY easy.

    Especially if you already play another instrument, or sing regularly, you're likely to start off slow, guessing and checking various notes, and (hopefully) working on your tone, and blowing hard enough (but not TOO hard), but give it a little time of just playing -with- it, if you already have some musical talent, maybe just experience, you'll be playing.. at least the Song of Time in no time.

  • The Professor

    Just my two cents:

    $99 dollars is steep to a person buying an instrument only if they don't have knowledge of what instruments generally cost. Ocarinas, like doubles and triples can quickly go up into the $300 to $500 range. That is because you're paying for a musical instrument (that had a fair amount of work put into it), not just some collector's item. So $99 coupled with songbird ocarina's amazing customer service and great quality as an instrument is basically a steal.

    You want to talk about expensive? Go look at some prices for a decent violin or cello (or wheatsone concertinas for that matter) XD