Shawms

The shawm is a medieval and renaissance double reed instrument which stands between earlier/traditional reed instruments like the zurna and the „modern“ oboe.

Silke Gwendolyn Schulze playing on two 3D-printed shawms

www.silke-gwendolyn-schulze.com

The shawm was a very present instrument through the medieval and renaissance periods in all sort of settings and combinations, from solo to alta cappella to larger ensembles, even vocal ones. Most shawm iconography portrays rather short instruments (sometimes with huge bells) and surviving instruments are from later times and indeed rather small. Yet, musical practicalities, the will to play certain standard „soprano instrument“ repertoire and the lineage conducting to the oboe has led to establishing the „standard“ shawm in either C or D. 

Most modern players use a C instrument at 440 Hz., which is indeed a very practical choice. More philologically-interested performers argue in favour of a D instrument at 466 Hz.  Nevertheless, no surviving historical instrument plays at either these pitches and both C and D modern copies are actually larger extrapolations and adaptations of museum references. Our model is inspired by several instruments, mostly the ones preserved at the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels, but are no exact historical copy of any particular one. The aim has been to develop practical, reliable and functional instruments for the uses most modern early music players expect out of a shawm.

Our shawm model are made in two pieces with a joint, which is very practical to carry. The weight of the instrument, by clever use of 3D-printed possibilities, is also considerably lighter than most traditional wooden versions, which notoriously increases playing comfort. 

Our models include two slightly different staples, a pirouette and one reed.

Download fingering chart as PDF

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