/shawm/, n.
an early musical woodwind instrument with a double reed: the forerunner of the modern oboe.
[1300-50; ME schalme < MF chaume < L calamus stalk, reed < Gk kálamos reed; r. ME schallemele < MF chalemel (see CHALUMEAU)]

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Double-reed Renaissance woodwind instrument, ancestor of the oboe.

Its conical bore and bell are wider than the oboe's. A disk called a pirouette usually supports the player's lips. Shawms were constructed in many sizes, from treble to great bass. They were in use in the Middle East perhaps 2,000 years ago, and they were introduced into Europe during the Crusades. With their powerful tone, shawms were classed with the "loud" or "outdoor" instruments and were used in dance and ceremonial music.

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      (from Latin calamus, “reed”; Old French: chalemie), double-reed wind instrument of Middle Eastern origin, a precursor of the oboe. Like the oboe, it is conically bored; but its bore, bell, and finger holes are wider, and it has a wooden disk (called a pirouette, on European shawms) that supports the lips and, on Asian instruments, holds them away from the reed. The tone, intended for open air, is powerful.

      It appeared near the beginning of the Christian Era and was widely disseminated by Islāmic influence. Numerous varieties (including the Indian shahnāʾī and nāgasuram, the Chinese suo-na, or so-na, and the Balkan and Middle Eastern zurla and zurna) are still played from Morocco eastward and in Islāmic areas of West Africa. They are generically called either shawms or oboes.

      The shawm was introduced into Europe during the Crusades and was widely used in dance and ceremonial music. Instruments of various pitches, from treble to great bass, were constructed in the 16th century. Though it declined in Europe after the 17th century, it survived in Spain, modernized with complete keywork, as the tenora (tenor) and tiple (treble), which lead the bands for the sardana, the national dance of Catalonia. Its compass is about two octaves.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shawm — Classification Double reed Related instruments Sorna Rhaita Suona Sopil …   Wikipedia

  • Shawm — Shawm, n. [OE. shalmie, OF. chalemie; cf. F. chalumeau shawm, chaume haulm, stalk; all fr. L. calamus a reed, reed pipe. See {Haulm}, and cf. {Calumet}.] (Mus.) A wind instrument of music, formerly in use, supposed to have resembled either the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shawm — (n.) medieval oboe like instrument, mid 14c., schalmeis (pl.), also schallemele (late 14c.), from O.Fr. chalemie, chalemel, from L.L. calamellus, lit. a small reed, dim. of L. calamus reed, from Gk. kalamos. Mistaken as a plural and trimmed of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • shawm — [shôm] n. [ME schalme < MFr chalemie, altered < OFr chalamel < LL calamellus, dim. of L calamus, reed: see CALAMUS] an early double reed wind instrument resembling the oboe …   English World dictionary

  • Shawm — El shawm es un instrumento de viento de lengüeta doble, predecesor del oboe. Su campanilla y pared interior cónicas son más amplias que las del oboe. Una rueda llamada pirueta, por lo común da soporte a los labios del músico. Los shawms eran… …   Wikipedia Español

  • shawm — noun /ʃɔːm/ a mediaeval double reed wind instrument with conical wooden body , 1985: There are four flutes, a harp of twenty strings, a mournful shawm, and a number of drums of oxhide, some to be struck, others spanked. Anthony Burgess, Kingdom… …   Wiktionary

  • shawm — /ʃɔm/ (say shawm) noun an early woodwind instrument with a double reed, forerunner of the modern oboe. {Middle English schallemelle, from Old French chalemel, from Late Latin calamellus little pipe, from Latin calamus reed} …  

  • shawm — noun Etymology: Middle English (Scots) schalme, alteration of Middle English shalemie, from Middle French chalemie, ultimately from Latin calamus reed more at calamus Date: 15th century an early double reed woodwind instrument …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Shawm — A wind instrument similar to an oboe, with a double reed. [< MdEngl. shallemalle < OldFr. chalemel < Lat. calamus = reed] …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • shawm — ʃɔːm n. ancient wind instrument that had a double mouthpiece (predecessor of the oboe) …   English contemporary dictionary

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