AskDefine | Define musette

Dictionary Definition

musette n : a small bagpipe formerly popular in France [syn: shepherd's pipe]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A small bagpipe with a bellows, having a soft sound, and once popular in France.
  2. A dance tune or pastoral air that imitates this instrument.
  3. A small bag or knapsack, with a shoulder strap, used by soldiers.
  4. A small instrument similar to an oboe or shawm.



  1. musette
  2. bagpipe

Extensive Definition

For the smaller version of the oboe sometimes also called "musette," see piccolo oboe.
Musette can refer to several things:
  • A keyless folk oboe or shawm used in various regional folk music traditions of France. Most forms are tuned several notes higher than the modern oboe. Some oboe makers also produce a keyed version of the musette (pitched in E♭ or F above the oboe) which is also sometimes called "piccolo oboe."
  • The tuning used in accordions, also called "wet" tuning, where two or more sets of reeds are tuned slightly off pitch from each other, giving a vibrato effect. True musette tuning uses three reeds, one "on pitch", one slightly below, and one slightly above; however, many accordions only use two sets of reeds tuned slightly apart from one other. The degree of "wetness" is determined by how far apart the reeds are tuned. Musette can also mean a register setting of two middle reeds together (two "clarinet" reeds equaling a "violin" reed) plus a higher octave reed, producing a pleasant, bright sound that is associated with French accordion music.
musette in German: Musette
musette in French: Musette
musette in Finnish: Musette
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