Name of Instrument:
Dulcian, also called curtal or renaissance bassoon
How to Play:
The player places his/her lips on the reed and blows; the fingerholes are opened and closed to produce different notes. The dulcian was not only an outdoor instrument, it was also used in enclosed locations such as churches and as instruments in chamber music.
The dulcian is a predecessor of the shawm and a precursor of the bassoon. Like the shawm, it has a conical bore. The difference is that a shawm has only one bore while a dulcian has two and it is folded at the bottom. Also, dulcians are easier to transport than the shawm due to its smaller size. Dulcians produce sound that is less piercing than the shawm.
First Known Dulcians:
Believed to have emerged during the first half of the 16th century and replaced by the bassoon by the early 18th century. It survived longer in Spain, where it was played until the 19th century.