A family of windcap instruments

The crumhorn is a double reed wind instrument. Its name comes from the German word "krumm", meaning curve and the word "horn". It is part of a family of "windcap" instruments; the reed is enclosed in a small compartment (the windcap) and does not come in direct contact with the player's lips. The small diameter of the instrument's cylindrical bore gives the crumhorn a difference from other windcap instruments, mainly a gentle sonority.

Music of the renaissance held an important place for windcap instruments, but even so the crumhorn didn't survive beyond the baroque period. The instrument was known throuout France until the middle of the 18th century; by this time it was generally known as a "tournebout".


In 1619 Praetorius noted that there were five different sizes of instruments in the crumhorn family, each one tuned a fifth apart from the other.

Here in the photo, a tenor crumhorn made by Bryan Tolley.
Below, a family of four crumhorns; soprano, alto tenor and bass.



Une famille de quatre cromornes