History, Facts and
interesting information about Medieval music,
Description of the Shawm
Definition and description of the
Shawm: The Shawm can be described as a reed instrument with vent holes.
Description: A woodwind instrument of music, formerly in use, resembling
either the clarinet or the hautboy in form.
The body of the shawm was usually made from a single piece of wood
ending in a flared bell like that of a trumpet. The Shawm had a
piercing, trumpet-like sound well-suited for out-of-doors performances
and therefore favored by the Waits. The largest of the Shawm family of
instruments was called a Bombard. It is the
predecessor of the modern oboe.
Family of Instruments: The
Shawm belongs to the family of
Medieval Musical Instruments
Medieval Musical instruments, including the Shawm, would be used by the musicians
of the period including the Waits,
Troubadours. There were three categories of musical instruments in the Middle Ages - wind, string and
percussion. Terms of description were Bas instruments and Haut instruments. Bas
referred to soft instruments (literally, "low," but referring to volume,
not pitch) which were suitable for the chamber which
included the vielle, rebec and other bowed strings, the lute and other
plucked strings. Haut referred to loud instruments
(literally "high" but referring to volume, not to pitch) which were
suitable for outdoors which included the shawm,
sackbut, pipe and tabor. Read the above history, facts and information about the Shawm.
The Medieval Times website provides interesting facts, history and information about the
musicians and styles of music which scatter the history books including
Shawm. The Medieval Life and Times Sitemap provides full
details of all of the information and facts about the
fascinating subject of the lives of the people who lived
during the historical period of the Middle Ages. The content
of this article on Shawm provides free educational details, facts and information for reference and research for schools, colleges and homework for history courses and history coursework.