Name: Chalumeau.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Single.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: France, Germany & England.
Region: Continental Europe.

Description: The chalumeau [in English: in IPA: /ˈʃæləmoʊ/; in French: in IPA: ʃ]; plural chalumeau] is a single-reed woodwind instrument of the late baroque and early classical eras. The chalumeau is a folk instrument that is the predecessor to the modern-day clarinet. It has a cylindrical bore with eight tone holes, seven in front and one in back for the thumb.

The chalumeau has a broad mouthpiece with a single heteroglot reed [i.e. not a continuous part of the instrument’s body] made of cane. Similar to the clarinet, the chalumeau over blows a twelfth.

Etymology: The word chalumeau first begins to appear in writing during the 1630s, but may have been in use as early as the twelfth century. Several French dictionaries in the sixteenth century use the word to refer to various types of simple, idioglot reed-pipes all with tone holes.

The heteroglot style reed was later adopted in the seventeenth and into the eighteenth centuries. These single-pipe instruments probably evolved from earlier multiple-pipe instruments through the abandonment of the drone tube.

Usage: The use of the chalumeau originated in France and later spread to Germany by the late seventeenth century. By 1700, the chalumeau was an established instrument on the European musical scene. Around this time, well-known Nuremberg instrument maker Johann Christoph [J.C.] Denner made improvements to the chalumeau, eventually developing it into the Baroque clarinet.

The chalumeau is distinguished by two keys, thought to be added by Denner, cover tone holes drilled diametrically to each other. The position of these tone holes prohibits the instrument from overblowing, limiting its range to only twelve notes. In order to counteract the limited range, multiple sizes of chalumeau were produced ranging from bass to soprano.

Citations: Bibliography: Birsak, K. 1994 ~ The Clarinet: A Cultural History. Buchloe: Druck und Verlag Obermayer GmbH. Hoeprich, E. 2008 ; The Clarinet. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press ; Rice, A.R. 1992 ; the Baroque Clarinet. New York, NY: Oxford University Press ; Kroll, O. 1968 ~ The Clarinet. New York, NY: Taplinger Publishing Company “Tupian Chalumeaus”. Tupian Chalumeaus ;

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