double-reed woodwind instrument

The shawm was a musical instrument of the woodwind family that was played in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The modern oboe was developed from the shawm. Like the modern oboe, the shawm was played by blowing into a double reed. It was usually made from one piece of wood, with a flare at the end (like a trumpet). It sounded very loud, and was mostly used outdoors.

Two shawms of different sizes

In German the shawm is called Schalmei or Pommer. The first word may have come from the Latin word calamus meaning "reed or stalk". There were many kinds of shawm over the centuries in Europe and they had a variety of names. There were also several different sizes.

Woman playing a bass shawm, (Tobias Stimmer around. 1500)