Ocarina (Italian means little goose). Ocarina is a vessel flute with a hollow body, originally in the shape of a large elongated egg. The standard Western ocarina was invented and named in about 1853 by Giuseppe Luigi Donati (born in Budrio, 2 Dec 1836; deceased in Milan, 14 Feb 1925).
The earliest predecessors of the ocarina were made of natural materials such as stone, wood, bone, shell and gourd. By 4000 BCE the Chinese were making clay whistles and early versions of the Xun.
Throughout Latin America, pre-Columbian clay vessel flutes were made in large numbers and various forms, including those of animals, birds and people. In Africa, vessel flutes are made mainly from gourds and fruit shells. Kenyan bushmen blow into animal shells or cupped hands to imitate the call of the honey-guide bird.
The basic form of the Italian ocarina has remained largely unchanged, although its length can vary from as little as 6 cm to 48 cm. In Eastern Europe, a simplified seven-hole version has been made. In 1928, Japanese sculptor and musician Takashi Aketagawa invented 12-holed ocarina which has grown and flourished attaining every bit as much popular appeal as Europe.