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CORNAMUSE

This renaissance "windcap" instrument is very similar to the crumhorn. Like the crumhorn, it has a double reed enclosed inside the windcap, but it does not have the crumhorn's distinctive "crook" shape. It also, unusually, has a "stopped end" - the bore or windway is blocked at the end and the sound can only escape through the sound holes drilled in the flare at the end. Perhaps designed for indoor use, the stopped end gives the cornamuse a quieter tone than the crumhorn. The large flare of the alto cornamuse shown in the photograph opposite is based on instruments depicted in medieval paintings and drawings.

Photograph of the alto cornamuse - a member of the windcap family

Cornamuse Sound Clips

Alto cornamuse - Wav

play clip ; size : 85 kb

Alto cornamuse - MP3

play clip ; size : 79 kb

Bass cornamuse - Wav

play clip ; size : 86 kb

Bass cornamuse - MP3

play clip ; size : 87 kb

Large printable image of the alto cornamuse

Large printable image of the bass cornamuse

 Photograph of the bass cornamuse - largest member of the windcap family The bass cornamuse, shown left, is the largest member of the windcap family. You can tell that the bass cornamuse is a slightly later instrument because two extra keys have been added at the top to extend its limited range of notes. The enclosed brass key at the bottom enables the player to reach the lowest finger hole. The bass cornamuse has a wonderfully deep, resonating tone which you can hear on several tracks on my Early Music CD. The two sound clips available for download above illustrate the difference in pitch between the two instruments.

Text copyright © James McCafferty 2000 Photographic images copyright © John Credland and James McCafferty 2000