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Chalumeau in key of D

The "chalumeau" is a primitive form of the clarinet, which use is dated back to the middle age.

Since the barroco period, it is more particularly related to a single reed instrument.

It is only from the 17th century that Johann Denner added a bell and some keys to extend its scale and thus giving birth to the clarinet.

Chalumeau XVIIème siècle, MET, NY

Chalumeau from the XIX th century, copied from an instrument from XVII th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

This chalumeau is made of boxwood and has a standard clarinet mouthpiece. The bottom ring is made of cherry wood. Rather than making a classical bead ornament, I have chosen to break the symmetry carving an oblique bead.

The bore is cylindrical and has got 8 holes. The scale is diatonic in the key of D major, there is a sub-tonic in F#, and a thumb hole for reaching the high D. It's scale is thus one octave plus 2 notes.

My plan is available in the download section.


The fingering is similar to the one of a simple flute  :

C# D E F# G A B C C# D
Scale and fingering :
thumb L X X


index L X X X X X X X O O O
middle L X X X X X X X X O X
ring L X X X X X O O X O O
index R X X X X O O O O O O
middle R X X X O O O O O O O
ring R X X O O O O O O O O
pinky R X O O O O O O O O O

The playing on this instrument is easy, with a soft reed, the sound production is very fluent and the playing can be very dynamic.

We can play also in different nuances, from the smoothest, jazzy to the most vigorous.

Here is a sound sample :


   Boxwood, natural color, just polished.

Ring, done in very old cherry (actually a piece of wood from the bed where my mother was born  smile )

     The diagonally carved  bead.

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Creation date : 01/12/2013 : 10:41
Last update : 24/03/2014 : 09:38
Category : Luthiery work - Woodwinds
Page read 13640 times

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