minstrel: shawm embouchere questions

Mary Hodges hodgemary at onewest.net
Tue Nov 8 00:25:03 PST 2005


I bought an alto shawm in F.  It's a lovely thing, and I can get 
recognizable tunes out of it, more or less on pitch.  But I don't like 
the sound I'm getting-it's kind of dead.  The problem is undoubtedly my 
embouchere or lack there of.  I received the Steinkopf book with the 
shawm, but it assumes that I already know where and how to put my lips 
on the reed.  This shawm has a pirouette.  Do I hold the reed in my 
mouth sort of like a bassoon?  That's what I'm doing now, and if that's 
the answer what's the pirouette for, and why can't I get a better tone? 
  If I don't hold the reed in my lips, the sound is freer but very hard 
to control.  Any shawm teachers out there?  Can you recommend another book?

Best regards,
Jehane de Saint Michael, in the wilds of Artemisia

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