Surma (сурма; shawm). A wind instrument made of wood. Generally conical with a flaring bell, double-reed mouthpiece, and five to seven finger holes, this oboe-type instrument has a long history, stretching back to Sumer and ancient Egypt. The surma in Ukraine is known from the Princely era of the Kyivan Rus’ state. It is depicted on an 11th-century fresco in Kyiv's Saint Sophia Cathedral depicting skomorokhy (see fresco of skomorokhy). The Cossacks used it primarily as a military instrument; eventually its musical function was supplanted by the trumpet. Today the surma has been revived and is often featured in folk instrumental ensembles. Prominent surma players include H. Fedkin and V. Zuliak.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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