© MIM Photo Anne Deknock
  • IND ?> Inv. number


  • CN/NP ?> Common name / Nominal Pitch

    Walking-stick ‘Oboe’

  • TS ?> Type or system

    No keys, 8 finger-holes, 2 vent-holes.

  • MK ?> Maker


  • PL ?> Place of origin France – Basse Auvergne
  • DM ?> Date of making Instrument difficult to date.
  • MATERIALS Plum-wood with horn and ivory mounts, and one brass ferrule.
  • Body Length c.933mm
  • TJ length (body + tenon) c.186mm
  • MJ length (body +tenon) c.448mm + 48mm
  • B length c.295mm

    Walking-stick with 3 detachable joints.

    1 ivory mount, 2 bone or horn (?...turtle, according to the museum archives) mounts and a brass stick point ferrule.


    The head joint has a narrow top opening and is hollow inside with a cylindrical diameter of 17mm.

    There are 9 finger-holes on the middle joint: 1 thumb-hole, 6 ‘normal’ finger-holes, 2 alternate holes (left/right) for the bottom note, the left one being plugged now.

    There are 2 vent-holes on the middle joint, below the finger-holes.


    Since the bottom joint is stuck, the bore could not be checked accurately but it is likely cylindrical, perhaps slightly flared at the bottom of the middle joint.


    The bottom joint is closed and does not have any acoustical function as far as could be observed.

  • FL ?> Faults

    Fair condition. Looks like some ivory mounts have been replaced by horn, bone or turtle. 3 (repaired?) cracks in top joint. Bottom piece is stuck.

  • UP ?> Usable Pitch

    Instrument could not be played because of the cracks in the top joint.

  • PO ?> Previous Ownership

    Ex-Stavast (museum acquisition in 1991).

  • Remarks

    According to museum acquisition archives the provenance of this instrument would be the village of Charbonnière-les-Vieilles in the Basse-Auvergne region (France).


    Although catalogued thus, this seems – speaking organologically – not to be an oboe, but rather a cylindrical reed-cap instrument like the Praetorian Cornamusa:

    • The top joint has a ‘blowing-hole’ that looks like a reed well at first sight, only where do you put your reed if you’re walking with the stick?
    • The top part turns out to be a wind-cap with tenon and socket. The internal diameter is c.17mm. The actual reed well is the top opening of the middle joint.
    • The blowing-hole on the top joint is somehow worn with a cylyndrical marking. Possibly there has been a kind of wooden or ivory mouthpiece (cf. crumhorn) that made the blowing easier. One could put this mouthpiece in a pocket of a jacket, and put it on before playing.
    • Of course one could take off the top joint and blow directly on the reed, being inside on top of the middle joint. But then the question comes up: why is there a hole in the top if one does not play on the head joint anyway?