Tenor and alto
Kortholts based on drawings by Michael Praetorius
One way to look at the kortholt is that a kortholt is a sordune with a
windcap. This is not really true as the sordune has a bocal between the
wooden body and the reed while the kortholt only has a short staple for the
reed, a longer bocal would not fit under a windcap.
Due to the windcap the kortholt can only be played at one sound level
while the sordune is more flexible like all other direct blown double reed
The curtal, kortholt and sordune have a number of things in common: all
three instruments are developed during the renaissance, all three have a
double bore connected at the bottom of the instrument, and all three are
double reed instruments.
The main differences are: The reed of the kortholt is under a windcap
while both the sordune and the curtal use a direct blown double reed. The
dulcian has a conical bore finishing in a bell, while both the sordune and
the kortholt have a cylindrical bore with the same diameter at the reed and
at the end opening at the side of the instrument.