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A woodwind instrument of the Renaissance and early baroque period, similar to a bassoon but with a smaller range. Also called curtal.

[Alteration of Old French douçaine, doucine, a kind of wind instrument, from douce, feminine of doux, sweet, pleasant, from Latin dulcis.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Instruments) a Renaissance wooden wind instrument that was the precursor to the bassoon
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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org.uk TUESDAY Syrinx Performing on a wide array of double reed instruments ranging from shawms and dulcians to the oboe and bassoon.
The Dulcians have no weapons, so when the evil Dominators and their robotic minions, the Quarks, invade, the pacifist inhabitants are powerless to resist.
The Dulcians have no weapons, so when the evil Dominators and their robotic minions, the Quarks, invade the tranquil world, the pacifist inhabitants are powerless to resist.
This last material is then elaborated in the chapters on specific instrument families: shawms, curtals (dulcians), krummhorns, and other cylindrical- and conical-bore instruments.
Spanish 17th- and 18th-century oil-paintings, carvings and frescoes incorporating large and small dulcians (bajones and bajoncillos) are quite common.(12) This is not surprising in view of the instrument's widespread presence in Spanish cathedrals during this period and its continued use even later in some churches.
Kenyon de Pascual, `The dulcians (bajon and bajoncillo) in Spain: an updated review' (forthcoming in the proceedings of the STIMU symposium on doublereed instruments, Utrecht, 1994).
There is one thematic group of Spanish pictures, in particular, that features the dulcian with some frequency: namely, paintings of the Virgin or Mare de Deu (Mother of God) of Montserrat.
The artist's keen observation and attention to detail would also have applied to his depiction of the musical instruments (a cornett, two shawms, a sackbut and a dulcian).
The anonymous author of Der musikalisches Bettlermantel put the book together 'by begging and stealing' details on a variety of musical subjects, including string instruments (particularly the theorbo), cornetts and sackbuts, dulcians, reed making, recorders, even the comb and paper.
Flemish painting of the Golden Age is a relatively fruitful source of dulcian iconography.(2) One thematic group of paintings which sometimes include a dulcian, among many other instruments, is that comprising allegorical representations of the sense of hearing or of music.
Perhaps the best-known example of Flemish dulcian iconography, reproduced in the 5th edition (1954) of Grove's dictionary and in various histories of the bassoon, is Denis van Alsloot's 1616 picture of the part of the Brussels 1615 Ommeganck procession devoted to the religious orders and the clergy (Madrid, Prado).
Three instruments are involved -- a cornett, a dulcian and a trumpet.