POMMER, or Bombard (Fr. hautbois; Ital. bombardo, bombardone), the alto, tenor and basses of the shawm or Schalmey family, and the forerunners respectively of the cor-anglais, bassoon or fagotto, and double bassoon or contrafagotto. The main difference to the casual observer between the medieval instruments and those of our orchestra which were evolved from them would be one of size. In the Pommers no attempt had been made to bend the tube, and its length, equal to that of an open organ pipe of the same pitch, was outstretched in all its unwieldiness in an oblique position in front of the performer. The great contrabass Pommer was 9 ft. long without the crook and reed, which, however, were bent downwards. It had five open fingerholes and five keys working inside a perforated case; in order to bring the holes within reach of the finger, they were cut obliquely through the tube. The compass extended from F below 8 ft. C to E or F in the bass stave, two octaves in all. The other members of the family were the bass Pommer, from 8 ft. C to middle C, corresponding to the modern bassoon or fagotto; the tenor or basset Pommer, a fifth higher in pitch; the alto pommer or nicolo, a fourth or a fifth above the tenor; and the high alto, or Klein Alt Pommer, an octave higher than the tenor, corresponding approximately to the cor-anglais.
- (K. S.)