Crumhorn

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The crumhorn is a reed-cap instrument which was particularly popular in Germany and the Netherlands during the 16th century. Its name derives from the German word krumm, meaning crooked. It is made by turning and boring boxwood. The lower end is then steamed and bent to produce its distinctive umbrella-handle shape. The curve has no effect on the sound, and is merely there for aesthetic purposes.

Praetorius describes the crumhorn as having six finger holes and a thumb hole, although his illustrations depict seven finger holes. Its musical range was one ocatave and a note, which severely limited the amount of music it could play.

In the early 16th century there were four sizes of crumhorns, soprano, alto, tenor and bass, which seemes to have been pitched in G and D rather than F and C. A standard four part consort of crumhorns consisted of one alto, two tenors and a bass.

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