Bombarde in G
Hervieux et Glet
Le Val, 56350 Rieux, Brittany, FRANCE
Tel +33 2 99 91 90 68

A member of the double reed family, the bombarde is a cousin of the oboe of today and the shawm of earlier times. Variations of this type of simple double reed instrument can be found in musical cultures from Japan to North Africa. It is fingered much like a pennywhistle but usually sports keys or extra holes at the bottom to extend its range. It is in some ways “a bagpipe without the bag.” Indeed, the first bagpipe was most likely developed as a means to play such a difficult and loud instrument continuously without the need to stop the music to take a breath, the bag acting as a reservoir for air.
The role of bombardes in Breton music today varies widely. In addition to the pipe and drum ensembles common since the mid-twentieth century and the traditional sonneurs de couple, modern folk ensembles of three or more members have become predominant at Breton dances and festivals. Bands such as Ar Re Yaouank, Skeduz, Kurun and Storvan have set new standards of musicianship not only in Breton music but in world and folk music at large. All these groups feature the bombarde and have transformed it from a rather quaint if strident traditional instrument to an instrument capable of powerful driving melodies and even complex and subtle harmonies.

I commissioned this particular bombarde from Hervieux et Glet in 1996. It is made of French boxwood and has an octave key and two keys below the tonic to play F# and F.

Larry Rone

Bombarde FAQ



Poor Man's Fortune Home