shawm

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shawm (from Lat. calamus, ‘reed'; Eng. shawm, shalm; Fr. chalemie, Ger. Schalmei). Woodwind instr., double-reeded forerunner of the ob., made in 7 sizes from sopranino to great bass, with keys. Some shawms were described as bombards. Had piercing brilliance of tone, with great carrying power outdoors. In Middle Ages, had broad cane reed controlled by player's lips. On largest sizes, reed was placed on end of crook (as in bn.); on smaller, it was placed on a staple inside a pirouette. All shawms had a number of vent-holes, placed between little-finger hole and end of bell. Modern reproductions have been made.

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shawm / shôm/ • n. a medieval and Renaissance wind instrument, forerunner of the oboe, with a double reed enclosed in a wooden mouthpiece, and having a penetrating tone.

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shawm (hist.) medieval wind instrument. XIV. ME. schallemele, pl. chalm(e)yes, schalmes, later (sg.) schalmus, shawme (XVI). — (i) OF. chalemel (mod. chalumeau) :- Rom. *calamellus, dim. of L. calamus reed — Gr. kálamos; (ii) OF. (unexpl.) chalemie; (iii) OF. chalemeaus, pl. of chalemel.