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Schalmei/Signal Horn

Postby Ian Easton » Sat May 15, 2004 9:36 am

This is a Schalmei/Signal Horn apparently.

Any idea how they worked (Klaus?): valve depression to bell assignment, notes playable?

Cheers,

Ian Easton

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Postby imperialbari » Sat May 15, 2004 10:24 am

Some scholars with some right may maintain, that brass instruments are not musical instruments, but only honkers of social signals.

Anyway this categorisation would fit the Schalmeien instruments even more. Basically they are orchestrated duck-calls in the huntsmans' sense having metal tongues as their tone generators. The valves were not fingered in the brass instruments' sense. They are simply routers towards the intended tongue sitting at the inner end of its resonance bell.

Their history goes back some 8 or 9 decades. The socialdemocratic workers' movement in Germany was inspired by the Wanderbewegung (trecking movement), which promoted guitars, mandolins, and recorders as their musical tools.

The Schalmeien were more powerful soundwise, and they didn't call for refinements of embouchure, intonation, tonguing, or any other skill but blowing out ones lungs and pressing the buttons as learned by rote.

They came in different versions:

8 note melody (with the variant of 16 note coubled octaves)

8 note altos

8 note baritones

5 note chord honkers providing tonic and dominant

4 note basses, sometimes in helicon shape.

Apparently these instruments were not too contaminated by nazi connotations. Anyway they had a renaissance in the GDR.

I have only heard them once, oddly enough after the wall fall. Whatever one may think of the GDR, it actually had some social qualities, which were lost by the wall fall. Extensive support of the arts being one of them.

At a rally for authors of the former GDR, some of them formed a 15-or-so-piece Schalmeien street band, which marched the streets of Dresden or another large eastern town.

The sound can only be described in terms not allowed on a decent board. Terrible is modest word in this context!

As I have a huge number of photos not yet uploaded to my galleries, I have prioritised the upload of Schalmeien down. What you will find is this:

Thumbnails of Weltklang and Martin German Schalmeieninstrumente (metal reed instruments):

http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/yo ... nstrumente

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Postby imperialbari » Sat May 15, 2004 10:28 am

One addition:

By deduction from the notes available the Schalmeien only can play in C major.

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Postby schlepporello » Sat May 15, 2004 10:34 am

These horns are still available through a company in California called "Lark in the Morning".
http://www.larkinam.com/MenComNet/Busin ... arkhp.html
They've got a wide variety of stuff that you won't find anywhere else.
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Postby imperialbari » Sat May 15, 2004 11:25 am

Lark in the Morning has many remarkable qualities.

One of them being the size of their mark-up.

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Postby Chuck(G) » Sat May 15, 2004 11:57 am

These things are sometimes called Martinshorns, after Max Bernhardt Martin, the Markneukirchen manufacturer of these things.

These are reed-horns and first cousins to the European Ee-ah police and ambulance horns (which are also known as Martinshorns). Judging from the MP3s I've heard, the signal application of these things is much preferable to the musical one.

Here's a page with some details (from Denmark, no less, Klaus!):

http://musikmuseum.dk/1SCH1.HTM
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Origins of Schalmei

Postby montre8 » Sat May 15, 2004 1:16 pm

The word Schalmei is German for Shawm. Pipe organs builders began creating imitative reed stops (Regal type construction in a similar fashion to the original - bascially an tunable encapsulated reed) of the Shawm in the mid 15th Century. In France it was called Chalumeau and Italy, Piffaro. These little brass bicycle horns, though......... are quite something, and I quite agree with Klaus about the "Nieman-Markup" qualities of Lark in the Morning!

Cheers,

Moises
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MP3 sound sample

Postby imperialbari » Sun May 16, 2004 1:04 am

http://www.schalmeien.com/index.php?action=cd

The link is below the play-list.

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Postby imperialbari » Sun May 16, 2004 1:37 am

Current bass models with Monel valves, four notes (G, B-natural, C, d) ,tuba- and helicon shape respectively:

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Postby Ian Easton » Mon May 17, 2004 7:23 am

Excellent information!
I was visiting an antique instrument site, looking for serpents. I'll definately save my money and not buy a Schalmei, after this advice!

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