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Zelda Week #5- Ocarina of Time: Ocarinas

 

BT

B.T.

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Ocarina of Time: Ocarinas

 

A History of the Ocarina.

As I’ve stated before and will probably will mention many, many more times I like history. And as far as I can I’m going to be doing more of these kinds of posts partially because doing some research to find information on these things has been actually enjoyable to me. Learning is something we as beings do well after our school years but that said lets get to the subject of this post the Ocarina. There’s two points we have to talk about the history of the Ocarina in the series up to Ocarina of Time (OoT) and of course the instruments actual history abridged of course.

Starting with the history of the Ocarina in universe of course many gamers may assume that the Ocarina started as an item in this N64 game however they would be wrong. The Ocarina was actually an item first in the games previous that being a Link to the Past (LttP). However it has to be stated that in a LttP it was renamed to that of Flute in the English versions of the game. It is assumed to be that of a mistranslated. Whether mistranslated or not there may have been concerns by Nintendo that English speakers especially North American ones wouldn’t know what an Ocarina is. It’s not to far a point but soon as you see one you know what it is: it’s a wind instrument.

In a LttP the Ocarina was used to summon a duck/bird that would transport the player to one of eight specific points around the map (nine if it’s the Game boy Advance version of the game). While the “flute” can only be used in the light world when used in conjunction with the magic mirror allows the player to reach places previously unreachable. The Ocarina reappears again before OoT which happens to be the game that was released one year after a LttP; Link’s Awakening. In Link’s Awakening the Ocarina can play three songs though before learning any song it can be used but will play random notes with no meaning or abilities.

Of the three songs, Manbo’s Mambo a song learned by a large sunfish is the only one that teleports the player the other two songs are songs of “awakening” they are used to revive the dead or awaken people sleeping they are Frog’s Song of Soul, and Ballad of the Wind Fish (a reoccurring song in the series).

Finally of course the Ocarina appears prominently in OoT allowing the player to solve various puzzles in a variety of ways as well as travel to the entrance of several of the games Dungeons. In addition to this the Ocarina is an item that you yourself can make real songs on within the game which is just an added bonus for the most bored of gamers.

Of course the Ocarina of Time the main item of OoT itself also appears in Majora’s Mask and is a critical game item in that N64 game as well. An Ocarina also appears in the the game The Minish Cap. Within that game the Ocarina is called the Ocarina of Wind and works like the “flute” from LttP. That wraps up the history within the series of Cannon games it does make some non canonical appearances such as in one of the Tingle games as well as the Hyrule Warriors series.

Now let’s us briefly talk about the instrument and its real world history. The Ocarina is considered an Ancient wind instrument and is believed to belong to an old family of instruments dating back 10-12,000 years ago. It has been important to both Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures as such it is through the Chinese that Japan learned of it and has utilized it themselves even calling it Tsuchibue (literally “earthen flute”). European cultures were introduced to the instrument thanks to several expeditions to Mesoamerica bringing them back. It has been credited to the Aztecs for it being brought along with knowledge of songs and dance associated to this instrument.

A Chinese Xun- a relative to the Ocarina dated to 200 BCE (BC) – 220 CE (AD)

The Ocarina was very important to Asian and Mesoamerican cultures but for the European cultures it would go on to become a toy instrument for awhile that said a neolithic instrument very similar to the Ocarina was found in Runik, Kosovo and has been named the Runik Ocarina. It wasn’t until the 19th century that ocarina’s would become a more comprehensive instrument playing more than a few notes when instrument maker Giuseppe Donati of Budrio, Italy invented the “Classical Ocarina”.

Now most Ocarinas are similar in that they have an enclosed space, a mouthpiece and typically four to twelve holes. Most commonly made out of clay or ceramic but they have been made from various other materials such as bone, glass and metal. The curious thing tho is that Ocarinas are very difficult to become good with consistently as blowing air through the Ocarina in various ways alters the pitch making it difficult to have a dynamic range or stay in tune. Unlike other wind instruments or instruments in general there is no way to tune an Ocarina once the holes are set there is only so much different tones and pitches it can make.

But music is important to culture all over the world. That’s it for this event for me, thanks to everyone who has visited the site and continues to support us. I’ll see you all hopefully on the next event.

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Swordless Link – Pokemon RBY’s Route 4 Song

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