top of page
  • esc442

War instrument: Shawm


The shawm, the ancestor of the oboe, is a loud double-reed instrument. It first appeared in the third century and by the end of the Middle Ages had become the most important loud instrument in use, appearing in dance bands as well as ensembles for municipal and court ceremonies.

While appearing near the beginning of the Christian era it spread widely due to Islamic influence. Numerous varieties are still played from the eastern part of Morocco to the Islamic areas of West Africa. Shawms and oboes are the more common names for them.

As early as the 12th century, several woodwind instruments were used in battles and the shawm was mostly used as a military weapon because of its obnoxious noise that made it a psychological weapon. During the Crusades, the shawm made its way to Europe and gained popularity during the Renaissance period and is thought to be a descendant of the zurna.

293 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page