A popular Medieval and Renaissance instrument, in use from the 13th to the 17th century. The shawm has a widely conical bore and is made of wood. It has a double reed and a particularly loud, rough, nasal tone. The shawm was made in seven sizes and preceded the oboe. They were used in civil ceremonies, and in bands.a double-reed woodwind instrument of the 16th-and 17th-centuries; forerunner of the oboe