Definition of chalumeau in English:


nounPlural chalumeaux

  • 1A reed instrument of the early 18th century from which the clarinet was developed.

    • ‘He even has information on the chalumeau d' amore!’
    • ‘Early clarinets did not play well in the lower register, so chalumeaus continued to be made to play the low notes and these notes became known as the chalumeau register.’
    • ‘The chalumeau instrument was designed to have a good chalumeau register with an almost nonexistent clarinet register.’
    • ‘It was developed from the chalumeau by J. C. Denner in Nuremberg in about 1700.’
    1. 1.1 The lowest octave of the clarinet's range.
      • ‘The effect of volume on timbre is most pronounced in the chalumeau register.’
      • ‘These short pieces, partly original compositions and partly transcriptions from my own music for other instruments, are suitable for beginners and are all situated within the chalumeau register.’
      • ‘Katz's woody chalumeau register also lent depth and a hint of menace to the sinister, lurching ‘March’ and the slow, fantasia-like ‘Nigun.’’
      • ‘Students should have an appropriate level of technique before enrolling: a good basic sound, ability to play comfortably and fluently in the middle and chalumeau registers, with some experience of the altissimo register.’
      • ‘On top of hissing electronic flutters, one reedist begins by expelling delicate breaths until they gather into chalumeau register tones, while the other quacks and flutter tongues.’
      • ‘The Adagio is in A-flat, dipping into the clarinet's low, chalumeau register and the through leaps and runs which it shares with the flute and bassoon.’
      • ‘This piece is entirely within the chalumeau register and is about a grade 1 standard.’
      • ‘The limitation to the chalumeau register has been made at the specific request of a clarinet teacher.’
      • ‘Some of the solos are scored primarily in the chalumeau register, with only brief extensions in the clarion register.’
      • ‘We still refer to the lowest register of the clarinet as the chalumeau register.’


Early 18th century: from French, from Latin calamellus ‘little reed’, diminutive of calamus.