Cromorne is a French woodwind reed instrument of uncertain identity, used in the early Baroque period in French court music. The name is sometimes confused with the similar-sounding name crumhorn, a musical woodwind instrument probably of different design, called "tournebout" by French theorists in the 17th century (Boydell 2001a; Boydell 2001c).
By contrast, the crumhorn (also known by names including crum horn, crumm horn, Krummhorn, Krummpfeife, Kumbhorn, cornamuto torto, and piva torto) is a capped double-reed instrument usually shaped like a letter "J" and possessing a rather small melodic range spanning a ninth (i.e. just over an octave) unless extended downward by keys or by the technique of underblowing, which increases the range by a perfect fifth (Boydell 2001b). However, this instrument was apparently little used in England—despite listings in the inventories of Henry VIII and the earls of Arundel at Nonsuch House, and mention in a poem by Sir William Leighton, they are conspicuously absent from inventories and other documents of English town waits (Boydell 2001b)—or France and was called a "tournebout" by French theorists including Mersenne (1636), Pierre Trichet (ca 1640), and even as late as Diderot (1767) (Boydell 2001a; Boydell 2001b; Boydell 2001c).
These instruments became an influence on Heckel as he gathered ideas for his Heckelphone, a wide-bore type of baritone oboe in C sounding one (not two, like the basse de cromorne) octaves lower than the oboe, that has been called for by a variety of 20th-century composers including Strauss, Copland, and Hindemith. This instrument is still manufactured by Heckel in Germany.
Jean-François Dandrieu – Basse de Cromorne from Organ Suite in D
- Boydell, Barra R. 2001a. "Cromorne (i)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
- Boydell, Barra R. 2001b. "Crumhorn". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
- Boydell, Barra R. 2001c. "Tournebout". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.