Playing by numbers

Do you remember painting by numbers? Well we’re going to play music by numbers. So first of all, look at your 4-hole Oc. If it’s not handy, just look at the picture below and see if you can identify…

How many finger-holes does it have? How many different notes can it play?

Okay. We have a 4-hole Ocarina. It plays 11 notes by covering different combinations of holes.

To play by numbers, let’s number the holes 1, 2, 3, and 4 as follows with 0 as all holes open

2 second finger-hole on the left 4 second finger-hole on the right
1 first finger-hole on the left 3 first finger-hole on the right


Playing by numbers

Now play down a pentatonic scale (5 notes) by covering the numbered holes in this order, starting with all open
0, 1, 12, 123, 1234

Now play again and come back up to the highest sounding note
0, 1, 12, 123, 1234, 123, 12, 1, 0

Make up your own tunes by playing these five notes in whatever order you like. Remember you can repeat any notes, swoop up or down by missing out any of the notes in between, experiment, and enjoy!

For a full octave scale (8 notes), try this
0, 4, 1, 13, 12, 124, 123, 1234

Try this down and up and then make up even more tunes. Add different rhythms as well.

Now you’re a composer!

What tunes begin like this…
A] 1 1 1 1 1 1

B] 12 12 12 1234 123 123 1234

C] 0 1 12 1234

D] 1234 1234 123 1234 12 124

E] 1 12 1234 12

And if you need the answers or have any questions, email

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