What a silly title. That song will be stuck in my head all afternoon now (hopefully yours too). In fact, it really doesn’t do justice to the latest musical instrument to enter our household.
Over the past year we have been subjected to the endless sounds (did I say ‘endless’?) of the cello, violin and recorder as our daughters began their journey into music appreciation and learning to play an instrument. Fortunately for us they have both excelled in their respective choices of strings, so the ‘screeching’ hasn’t lasted too long. What I didn’t realize is how quickly they would get an ‘ear’ for music and the proper notes, as well as the ability to read sheet music.
Our oldest brought home a recorder this year and to our amazement started playing all of her assigned songs nearly perfectly on the first day. Given, it isn’t a difficult instrument to learn, but because she had a year of cello behind her, it came to her almost as second nature.
The good folks at St. Louis Ocarina recently provided us with a beautiful 12-hole “Elf” tenor ocarina to try out (and perfect timing with the release of The Hobbit 2 this weekend). Honestly, I was expecting a plastic toy, much like the recorder brought home from school. I couldn’t have been any wronger (is that a word?).
The first thing we noticed was how heavy it was for its size. Made with some type of ceramic process, I can only imagine the detail required to make sure each note is perfect – not an easy task when you’re dealing with a material that shrinks when it is fired.
You hold it very similarly to a recorder, but because of the finger and mouth placement, it is actually more comfortable even though it is heavier. Our model is designed for adult hands, so if you’re considering it for a child I would recommend they be at least 60lbs or larger.
I suppose you’re wondering what they sound like? I could show you a video of some songs we tried with the included Guide, but I think this video better shows what can be done with this instrument by someone who really knows what they’re doing.
They produce an astounding sound, something I’d almost call “fantasy-like”. I can see why they’ve chosen to model many of them after fictional characters like dwarves, elves and hobbits. I also noticed they offer bass versions as well. I may have to pick up another one for myself!
If you’re in the market for a gift for yourself or a discriminating music aficionado, then you really should give these a look-see. They offer quick shipping via their online site, and you can learn more about them and the ocarina on their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter. If you want to see more great videos of their products being demonstrated, head on over to visit them on YouTube.
One drawback (if you can call it that). They’re almost too pretty to play! This ‘Elf’ model is a work of art on its own with an opalescent coating. I can truly see wanting to collect these and display them. Like I need another collection!