Nursery Rhymes

Hautboy

Medieval life and Times

Definition and Description of the Hautboy
Definition and description of the Hautboy: The correct name for this instrumnet was Hautbois from the French words meaning haut ("high, loud") and bois ("wood, woodwind"). The use of the hautbois was widespread throughout Europe, including England, where it was called "hautboy", "hoboy" or "hautboit". The Hautboy can be described as a slender double-reed woodwind instrument with a conical bore and a double-reed mouthpiece.

A woodwind instrument formerly much in use it had evolved from the Shawm into the hautboy and then the oboe. It was sounded through a reed, and similar in shape to the clarinet, but with a thinner tone. Now more commonly called an oboe.

Family of Instruments: The Hautboy belongs to the family of Woodwind instruments.

Medieval Musical Instruments - Hautboy
Medieval Musical instruments, including the Hautboy, would be used by the musicians of the period including the Waits, Minstrels or Troubadours. There were three categories of musical instruments in the Middle Ages - wind, string and percussion. Terms of description were Bas instruments and Haut instruments. Bas referred to soft instruments (literally, "low," but referring to volume, not pitch) which were suitable for the chamber which included the vielle, rebec and other bowed strings, the lute and other plucked strings. Haut referred to loud instruments (literally "high" but referring to volume, not to pitch) which were suitable for outdoors which included the shawm, sackbut, pipe and tabor.

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