by pfh, published
This shawm is about the same size as an alto recorder. The pitch is an octave above alto voice.
Thanks to John Boshua for the excellent print. The STL files are slightly updated from the shawm in the photos, with a decorative end flare and improved finger hole geometry.
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It's a motor skill which is a bit hard to explain but should come with practice. A matter of applying a certain amount of pressure with the lips on the straw, at a particular position, and blowing with a certain amount of pressure, and with a little bit of a "ta" to start the note.
The upper register can be reached with by cracking the top hole open slightly, and it's also to do with exactly how much pressure you're putting on the reed and so on. Also how far into the upper register you can get is very dependant on the reed. For this size instrument, with this design, it's only a few notes.
As usual, the instrument can't have any tiny holes, eg in the joints, or it will tend to leap straight into the higher registers or not play at all.
The reed is also critical, and might require some experimentation.
I finally got the four-part folk alto shawm built, and am very very slowly figuring out how to actually make all the notes play. Any tips?
Most of the musicians I hang around with play recorders, which are generally named an octave above human voice (I play SCA). The finger spacing is comparable to an "alto" recorder, as is the pitch. It is a point of confusion, and I'm open to suggestions for a less confusing naming scheme.
This is only modelled after a historical shawm in fairly general terms. For the moment I'm just trying to produce something that is in tune and has the same general characteristics: conical bore, finger holes, double reed, loud.
A tuning hole above the bell would be easy to add. As I'm doing a numerical simulation of the instrument before making it, I don't need it in order to tune the instrument. Even the flared end is purely decorative in terms of tuning. It would be interesting to see the affect of this on the tone. Something to experiment with.
I find the register hole helpful getting into the second octave. With this instrument I can play a little under halfway into the second octave, and it takes a fair degree of control. It's a start :-). I think the upper octave being in tune also improves the tone of the instrument, even if it is hard to play. Better reeds might make a register hole unnecessary. The rauschpfeife needs a register hole because the reed is enclosed in a windcap and is less controlable, presumably.
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The whole instrument in one go
OR segments 1-of-2 and 2-of-2
OR segments 1-of-2 and 3-of-4 and 4-of-4
OR segments 1-of-4 and 2-of-4 and 3-of-4 and 4-of-4
Make a drinking-straw reed using the instructions here:
The straw should be ~4mm diameter.
Use some sort of grease to make tight seals between all the joints, and with the reed.
More sizes of shawm are available in the "pre-built" design pack downloadable from:
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