This is an instrument of the globular flute family and has a beaked mouthpiece. It is egg-shaped, made out of clay and has a mouthpiece that joins the whistle to its side; there are eight finger holes. The more recent history of the Ocarina can be traced to the Italian village of Budrio, located some twenty kilometres from Bolonia.
According to local legend, it is named after its resemblance to the head of a goose. The creator of the most common model and the one still in use today, was Giuseppe Donati, a baker who was born in this small village at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The introduction of this “new” instrument, in around 1853, was hugely successful in the music world at the time, and allowed Donati to become a full-time soloist, playing with other musicians. Under his watchful eye, several makers rose up within the region, including Cesare Vicinelli.
Cesare Vicinelli launched his own ocarina workshop in 1887 on Jovellanos Street in Palma de Mallorca, marking the beginning of Mallorca’s Ocarina tradition. There were ocarina factories in Palma, Manacor, Buñola and Pollensa. There were ocarina groups that performed concerts in churches, for the acoustics.
The Mallorcan range consists of 7 different sizes (from the 10cm soprano to the 35cm double-bass) Today there is a Mallorcan ocarina collection on display at the Porcíncula Museum in Palma.