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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Schalm(e, Schawm(e, n. Also: schallme, shalm(e; shaum. Pl. schammes. Schalomond. [ME and e.m.E. (pl.) schalmeis (c1350; v.rr. schalmys, schalmes, schalmuses), shalmyes (Chaucer; v.rr. chalemyes, shalemeyes), shalmes (1513), shaulmes (1533), (sing.) schallemele (Gower), shamulle (1524), shalme (1542), shaulme (1565), OF chalemel (12th c. in Larousse), MF chalemie (14th c. in Wartburg), low L. calamellus, L. calamus a reed.] A medieval wood-wind instrument resembling the oboe, a shawm.(a) c1450-2 Howlat 762 (A).
The dulset the dulsacordis the schalme of assay
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 503.
Hard I play and sing … On croud, lute, harp, with mony gudlie spring. Schalmes, clariounis, portatiues, hard I ring
1503 Treas. Acc. II 399.
To ane of the menstrales … to by him ane schalme … xxviij s.
1505 Ib. III 109, etc. 1535 Stewart 5726.
The schalmis schill gart all the schawis s[ch]aik
Ib. 10349.
The buglis blew, the schalmes schoutit schill
Ib. 3614. 1537 Lynd. Depl. Magd. 136.
Thow suld haue hard the din of instrumentis, Of tabrone, trumpet, schalme, & clarioun
c1552 Id. Mon. 2505. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 626. a1568 Scott ii 45. a1578 Pitsc. I 379/29.
1562-92 Wode's Psalter lxxxi.
Go take vpe the psalmes, The timbrel with shalmes
1587-99 Hume 54/55.
Mak shouting shalms and persing phiphers shill
1603 Philotus 194. 1607 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 26.
Jhonn Orley, Inglisman … sall serve the toune in his calling and with the musicall instruments of schalmes, howboyes and sicklyk be himself and four expert musicianes … and thai to pas playing and singand upoun thai said instruments throw the town Cowgaitt and all ilk morning
(b) 1460 Hay Alex. 941.
The trumpettis, schawmis and menstrallie Maid sic ane reird it was gret melodie
1505–6 Treas. Acc. III 179.
To the boyis that playis on the schawmes, xiiij s.
1507 Ib. 378. 1513 Doug. ix x 67.
With tympanys [etc.] … And bos schawmys of turnyt buschboun tre
1533 Boece 161.
In all partis sonyt war trumpettis and schawmys
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1586.
1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 43.
The rabble-rowt … whirl'd, When pipe and shaum together skirl'd
(c) 1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 220.
Quha playit befoir Sanct Geill … on the schammes

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"Schalm n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 May 2024 <>



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