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ocarina(ŏkərē`nə), musical wind instrument with eight finger holes and two thumb holes, rather egg-shaped, and made of metal, terra-cotta or plastic. Unlike other wind instuments, it produces pure tones that lack overtones. It was invented in the late 19th cent. in Italy and is popular with amateurs for its relative simplicity and low cost. It is occasionally called a "sweet potato" because of its shape.
a wind instrument having a whistle-like structure; a type of flute.
The body (earthenware or porcelain) of the ocarina is oval or cigar-shaped and forms a nozzle that has a mouthpiece and whistle opening. The instrument has between seven and ten finger holes, which are used to alter pitch. It plays a diatonic scale. Ocarinas have been made in the most diverse sizes and varieties (ranging from a soprano to a bass). Some are equipped with a tuning plunger and valves. The ocarina is widespread among all peoples. Any of the ceramic whistles usually made in the form of a bird or fish are considered ocarina instruments.