Nursery Rhymes

Cor Anglais

Medieval life and Times

Definition and Description of the Cor Anglais
Definition and description of the Cor Anglais: Another name commonly used for the Cor Anglais is the English Horn. However, despite its name it is not a horn - it is more similar to an oboe. The Cor Anglais can be described as a double-reed woodwind instrument similar to an oboe, but lower in pitch. The cor anglais differs slightly in construction from the oboe; the conical bore of the wooden tube is wider and slightly longer, and there is a larger globular bell and a bent metal crook to which the double reed mouthpiece is attached.

The origin of the name derives from the French meaning 'English Horn' or could have been derived from a corruption of 'cor angle' which was given on account of the angular bend of the early instruments of this type. A woodwind instrument formerly much in use it had evolved from the Shawm which was gradually developed into the hautboy which was in turn  improved and provided with key-work. It is not known exactly when the change took place.

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

Medieval Musical Instruments - Cor Anglais
Medieval Musical instruments, including the Cor Anglais, 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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