Instruments | Crumhorn | Renaissance | Classical
Instantly recognizable, the crumhorn (also known as the krummhorn or cromorne) was made out of wood – usually boxwood – that had been bent rather than carved. The bell turned dramatically upwards like a hook, and the narrow cylindrical body flared only slightly, making the instrument lower in pitch than one with a conical bore of the same length. Like the recorder, there was a thumb-hole at the back of the instrument and a set of seven fingerholes running down the front. Concealed inside a wind cap was a reed on a staple, as in a shawm. The wind cap was put to the lips rather than the reed itself. It produced a soft buzzing tone.
In the early sixteenth century, Sebastian Virdung illustrated four sizes of crumhorn, but his description mentions just three: descant; a middle size covering the alto and tenor range; and bass. A century later, Praetorius referred to five standard sizes, with the lowest instruments extended by means of sliders.
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