are cornets easier to play?

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by tom turner, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA
    Junior Member

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    Posts: 59
    are cornets easier to play?
    « Thread started on: 10/13/2003 at 14:17:28 »

    are cornets lass fatiguing to play than trumpets?
    their bore sizes are often larger.
    does the conical bore speak easier than the cylindrical bore?
    I'm searching for the combination that will let me practice longer.

    used, beat up, MAX trumpet: Bach 5V


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    Re: are cornets easier to play?
    « Reply #1 on: 10/13/2003 at 14:52:44 »


    In many ways a cornet IS easier to play than a corresponding trumpet . . . most of the time.

    Reasons cited include:

    1. Greater length of conical bore tubing
    2. More turns to the "wrap" in the tubing
    3. Bell end closer to the ears for enhanced "player feedback" (psychoaccoustics)
    4. Better balance (closer to the body . . . so the APPARENT weight of the horn is reduced . . . sort of like changing the balance of a sea-saw by moving the seat board.

    All these reasons are probably somewhat true, but I lean heavier to attribute this fact to #3 and #4.

    All performers have experienced the "crash and burn" of sounding great in preparation . . . only to then go outdoors and have a terrible outdoor concert! The "problem" experienced was a psychoaccoustic one for the most part . . .

    --Indoors we get our sound immediately bounced back to our ears (listener feedback) and we sound "great" . . . sort of like singing in the shower.

    --Outdoors we are not MENTALLY prepared for the "letdown" that occurs when our sound goes out---out------------out . . . and never returns! No "reverb" outside, no "shower effect" . . . just our sudden FEAR that we sound weak and lack "body." Mentally we overblow to try to compensate, and the chain of destructive events begins that causes us to crash!

    With the cornet bell closer to the ears, more direct feedback from the horn reassures us things are fine psychologically and so we don't subconsciously end up overblowing!!! Practice is more "fun" too!


    A trumpet and cornet have to be held away from our bodies by our arms. The farther the center of the horn's gravity is away from the chops, the heavier the apparent weight of the horn becomes. As the weight begins to take its toll it is normal to end up mashing the lips.


    If I were dictator of the world, I'd rule that all young students begin on cornets! They are easier to hold (thus reducing the inclination and possibility of mashing the lip and developing pressure problems), easier to really "hear" yourself and funner than a barrel of monkeys to play!

    Hope this helps!

    « Last Edit: 10/13/2003 at 15:19:52 by tomturner » Logged


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    Re: are cornets easier to play?
    « Reply #2 on: 11/03/2003 at 00:25:39 »

    I have taught with a good friend for many years.. he just retired last year.. but for the 20 years we taught elementary band together in this school system, I have hundreds of times heard him say that he wished beginners could start on cornet... and actually in his earlier days of teaching back in the 60's and early 70's he did make his kids start out on cornet. I'm sure he would agree strongly with Tom's conclusions about the cornets being FUNNER to play

    JACKKANSTUL Pianissimo User

    A horn that is more conical takes a different kind of air stream to sound. Not so tight and therefore feels easier to play. A trumpet is more cylindrical and is harder to push air through. Something that is conical also produces more sound, try rolling a piece of paper in a conical fashion and speaking through it. It acts like a megaphone. When you roll it up in a cylinder it doesn't project the same. Now if you were to combine that principle in a trumpet think what it could do!!! :p :p :p To find out give me a call or email me. I have a trumpet just like that.

    To The Conical Bore-May it come back in all it's beautiful force.

    Jack Kanstul
  3. working-kirk

    working-kirk New Friend

    Mar 24, 2004
    First, I've got to say Hello Jack This is Kirk one of your former students. I have been doing well This is the first year when I decided to make a go making a living with my horn. I didn't do well the first few months but starting last December I actually was able to pay my rent, food and all my bills. You probably got an idea what I been doing with my I need a gig auction. I will get back to cornet but Jack you must promise you won't faint.

    Is a cornet better than a trumpet? Yes,... for Juggling! I have one of Jack's top of the line cornet a gold-plated 1531 and while it has a great sound it is the best horn I have for juggling. I remember showing you the horn and you tried it and said It a great horn but that's the way my dad builds them. Well you may not realized but it is perfectly balanced like a juggling club. Not only is a cornet better balanced for juggling but it is more veratile. With a trumpet I can either be jazzy or classical. With a cornet I can be jazzy or classical or voice of doom or sound more like a flute in the upper ranges and a trombone in the petal tone but most of all I can be CORNY!

    Jack I know you like testimonials about your horns but you might have never expected "A Kanstal makes the perfert horn for juggling like in the old vaudeville days.

    Well until I get a Monette to juggle with (What? That fool is juggling with a Monette!") your horn will have to do.

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Every horn is conical in some way. No horn in the same size from mouthpiece receiver to bell section! In fact, I believe the bore size and shape has little to do BY ITSELF with playability and sound. Now in combination with leadpipe, mouthpiece, bell flare, metal alloy used, etc. it is comes into play.

    A cornet can be VERY stuffy. A trumpet very open. It just depends. And what is "easier?" More free blowing? More resistance to help fatigue? It is not hard to have a cornet sound like a trumpet. Put a full-wood mouthpiece on a trumpet it may sound more like a flugelhorn. (BTW Jack, I would love to try the "woody" mouthpiece by Kanstul -- if I save a few bucks I just might to that).

    There are many factors, and a few definitions of what easier means.

    Traditionally, to get a cornet sound, the bore was more conical than a trumpet. But that is only one of several factors.

  5. acwells

    acwells New Friend

    Sep 7, 2004
    Ajax, Ontario, Canada
    Having played trumpet for 20 years before even trying a cornet having then purchased one and never looked back. I would say they are not neccesarily easier but different.

    Different in response and tone. I would also say that they are less tempermental than trumpets as I find the response is more even throughout the registers.

    I actually had never intended to buy a cornet. I was actually shopping for a better trumpet and just happened to see a shiny new YCR-6335H on the wall and asked to try it..I must have played for a good 30 minutes in the store. I figgered they were toss me out soon so I actually bought it.

    I went to a high school reunion where the current director put together an alumni band and decided that even though for fun I could take the horn that got me through HS I would take the cornet. Needless to say I was the only one there with a cornet out of 30 trumpet players. What a blast it was. Made even more interesting by one of the alumni appraching me (as a fellow cornet player LOL) to join a brass band. Been playing the cornet daily now and never looked back. I stil like playing trumpet and play subbing in for a few groups but I wish I had found out about cornet WAY sooner...
  6. cornetmike

    cornetmike New Friend

    Nov 12, 2004
    Hemet, California
    Based on my (6 yrs.) experience and my horns, I'd say yes, my cornet is easier to play than my trumpet. I find it easier to get a greater range of emotion out of my cornet. And my shepherd's crook cornet is closer to my face. I feel more intimate with that horn. A plunger mute is a breeze to use!

    I don't know whether it's me or the horns, but it's easier to make mistakes on the trumpet, irrespective of the mouthpieces. In my capacity as 2nd "trumpet" in the local community band, I'm grateful the director let's me play my cornet!! :D ....Yes, I agree. Cornet is funner!

    warm regards

    p.s. Curiously, my trumpet is a pro model while my cornet is a beginner's! Go figure.... :p
  7. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I haven't looked back since changing to trumpet.

    WAY more fun :D
  8. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    conical horns

    How many of you have tried a Couturier Conical Bore Trumpet? I own two of them and am in love. I cannot visualise ever selling either of them.

  9. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 24, 2004
    In all due respect, a Cornet is different; however, don't get too "Jacked-up" about it. It is another "slant" on the capabilities of the Bb - C pitched horns ... "Variations on a Theme", so to speak.

    It's nice to have the miscellaneous versions (Trumpet, Cornet, Fluegelhorn) of the instruments in your "quiver" (or "arsenal"), for whatever application your little heart may desire.

    Think of the instrument as a "tool". Granted, there is a certain "romance" in vintage (and, to some extent, modern-era) horns that have distinctive designs and tonal-characteristics.

    (*** note to self -- acquire ample quantities of each, for fun and games)

    Robert Rowe
  10. fundenlight

    fundenlight New Friend

    Aug 2, 2005
    I would have to say that they are certainly different, not easier. My instructor who is a recognized international soloist and a very respected teacher has played trumpet all his life. Our school was doing a "Salute to Sousa" and he wanted to play his solo feature on cornet. He complained that everyone he had tried sucked. They weren't as open, the sound wasn't as opulent, they just had problems. So, I let him play my cornet. It's a 1949 Bach Mercedes and was built by Vincent Bach himself. My instructor absolutely loved. After a week he gave it back saying while the horn was great, he was simply not accustomed to the differences and didn't feel he would be 100% prepared to play the solo on a cornet.
    I on the other hand, growing up on the cornet have always preferred the sound of the cornet and I absolutely love playing mine when I get the chance.
    As far as the "sound is closer to your head" aspect, I don't find that a bonus to the cornet, I definately prefer the sound being further out on a trumpet.

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