Workshop: Music for a Medieval Street Band

Workshop: Music for a Medieval Street Band

  • £26.00

Please tell us which instruments you play under "special instructions for the vendor" when you check out

The International Guild of Town Pipers, Blondel & Colchester Early Music present:

Music for a Medieval Town Band
A workshop on Wind Music from the 14th & 15th centuries

10.00am-5.30pm Saturday 18th November St Andrew's Church & Hall, Marks Tey, CO6 1LW



Belinda Paul

Lizzie Gutteridge

Emily Baines  



 Play in a medieval street band for a day

  • Try a shawm
  • Learn some easy but impressive ornamentation tricks
  • Join in band sessions—blast through catchy dances, brilliant fanfares and bold ceremonial works
  • Learn how how to get the most out of your reeds - cleaning, storage and minor editing procedures.

A one day workshop covering technique, reed maintenance, ornamentation skills and plenty  of ensemble playing for medieval loud winds (shawms, slide trumpets, sackbuts & cornetts and capped reeds). Instruments such as bagpipes, recorders and strings can also be used in most sessions and there will be a chance to try the shawm for the very first time if you've not done it before.

Repertoire: Music from the 14th & 15th centuries which works well on wind instruments. We will be focussing on the classic Medieval Waits combination of shawms, trumpets and sackbuts, although there will also be some sessions where bagpipes will work alongside the shawm band and where either drones or quieter instruments will come into their own.

Many of the pieces we’ll work on started life as chansons, but we’ll be playing plenty of dances and fanfares as well.



Committee Room






tutti session lead by Lizzie

Introduction to the shawm for complete beginners Belinda

Recorder maintenance with Emily


tea/coffee break




Ornamentation session with Emily

Drones & friends session with Lizzie

Reed instrument maintenance with Belinda


Lunch break




“Medieval avant-garde” with Belinda & Emily

“Gut zu blasen” with Lizzie



tea/coffee break





Tutti session showing pieces covered






Blondel performs ceremonial fanfares and intimate chansons, dances and theatre music on shawms, bagpipes, recorders, curtals and a variety of percussion—all reconstructions of historical instruments.

It is easy to imagine how the bold tones of a shawm band cut across the hustle and bustle of dance and banquet halls, or even a city square. More surprising to modern ears is the joyful and sophisticated beauty that results from this uniquely blended sound.

Blondel’s past performances include concerts in the Cheltenham Festival (broadcast live by the BBC) Cambridge Early, King’s Lynn Festival, Beaminster Festival, Leeds International Medieval Congress, the Wimbledon International Music Festival and Colchester Early Music. The Agincourt600 Committee commissioned us to record a CD based around the life of Henry V which is available as a free download.

Session details:

The morning tutti session with Lizzie will offer a chance for loud wind players to get warmed up playing together before we start to specialise. The repertoire covered will be (relatively) simple.


Belinda's beginner shawms session offers a chance to have a blast on a shawm, even if you don’t own one! Including a short introduction to the instrument: its history, how it works, and what you can do with it, a quick overview of basic technique and fingerings, a playing session in which everybody will be able to take part & a chance to ask questions about playing the shawm/shawm technique


Emily will take recorder players through some basic maintenance for their instruments.

Emily's ornamentation session will give some ideas of how you can elaborate on your part in Medieval music with a variety of types of ornaments including gracing and divisions.


Lizzie's drones & friends session will combine bagpipes, gurdies etc. playing in G (&D) with other wind instruments as often found in Medieval iconography. We'll be playing arrangements of dances and of popular songs. Percussionists also welcome.


Belinda's hands on shawm maintenance session, equally useful to players of curtals and other double-reed instruments. Covers cleaning and storing reeds, cleaning crooks and staples, leaning and oiling instruments & instrument set up. You should leave knowing how to keep you instrument in tip-top condition, and how to prolong the life of your reeds, and most importantly, how to stop them turning black before your eyes.

Belinda and Emily's “Medieval avant-garde” session is a chance to dip your toes in at the more extreme edges of Medieval writing: crazy canons, wacky harmonies, polyrhythm and polytonality, macaronic motets and melodies that invert on themselves. We’ll start gently and see where we end up! This will be a quieter session for recorders, strings etc.


Lizzie's “Gut zu blazen” session will look at some of the more fanfare-like instrumental pieces to be found. Percussionists welcome.

 The final tutti session will offer the opportunity for a final play through of favourite pieces from the day's workshops. Participants will also be able to find out some of what happened in other sessions.


In addition there will be a concert by Blondel in the church the following afternoon as part of the Colchester Early Music series (19th November, 2.30-3.30pm, see below). Workshops participants will be entitled to a £1 discount on concert tickets.

Please see for further details.