Trumpet Cornet - the Difference

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    I've read that the innovation of bars, brothels, and speak-easys led to the development...instead of politely quiet concert halls now instruments had to carry over the din of people talking, laughing...clanking glasses....etc. Especially peashooters lent themselves to this function and were considered gauche by the proper concert crowd (that's probably why I am so attracted to peashooters)...
    Or so the narrative I've heard goes.
     
  2. FireandAir

    FireandAir Pianissimo User

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    The thing is, it's looking like they don't really sound all that brighter. It wouldn't surprise me if it were just a matter of it looking different and "cooler" to someone back then. Wouldn't be the first time that a musical instrument design was changed for pure style, and to distinguish the people who played it from those other folks over there.

    Funny how it ended up being the classical instrument of choice, though ... didn't it used to have, like you said, a sort of sleazy reputation as a "jazz" instrument? Someone here posted a turn-of-the-century commentary from a fairly high-placed instructor somewhere to the effect that the trumpet was a tacky flash in the pan and would never compete with a cornet for taste and class.

    I mean, if there's no substantial change in color, response, or loudness between the two instruments, then the takeover has got to be cultural.
     
  3. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    Well, the TYPICAL cornet of the early 1900's WAS generally a much softer-spoken instrument than the TYPICAL (there are exceptions) trumpet-like cornets of today.
    Deep vee mouthpiece cups, more cornicity...they generally were a different breed then.
    Why the obtuse evolution?
    Yeah, culture changed. The middle class grew, and the art form evolved more to a brash new shape. And, once the trumpet cat was out of the bag, the newness was appealing to youth, the old form considered passe~, and being more PENETRATING how are you going to compete without joining rank?
    PLAY some examples of some early cornets...they were quite different animals than most of what you see today.
     
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Yes, during the transition period 1800s to early 1900s, cornets were the soprano voice of the internationally famous John Philip Sousa's band. If he didn't make the comment above about trumpets, from all that I've read and heard about Sousa, I perceive such was his attitude about trumpets. Too, he was against having his music recorded.
     
  5. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    Hmm.
    I suppose he was against recording because the systems of the time rendered a very unfaithful copy/playback?
     
  6. FireandAir

    FireandAir Pianissimo User

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    He used to say that recording music would shrivel the national voice, and divide music into professionals and listeners. Basically, that it would kill amateur music-making. It hasn't killed it entirely, but it has had a negative effect, I think.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, when we look at history, the "invention" of the trumpet came very early. A long tube with a bell was known in biblical times. The development into a melody instrument happened in the rennaissance. That trumpet sound held until the end of the 1800s having been carried on by the F trumpets commonly found in european orchestras until then. In fact, these instruments had a great proportion of cylindrical tubing - far more than the roughly conical trumpet. The Bb rotary trumpet still is a member of the trumpet family. The piston trumpet essentially was a soprano horn from the beginning (my definition of a horn: more than 50% tapered tubing).

    The difference in sound of a "real" trumpet and a cornet is quite substantial. There is a brazen sheen, the articulation is much different.

    Fast forward to the late 20th century: trumpet building goes mad with ever increasing loudness. To get this, even more trumpetyness is comprimised.

    Today, the last modern member of the trumpet family (besides certain rotary trumpets) is the trombone.

    To address the question about standing waves and bends in the pipe, the Bose waveguide is perhaps not a good comparison as it was never designed for the creation of music, rather the playback of entertainment. A bend or bow where the tube stays the same diameter actually increases the effective diameter at the bow. This turns part of the "tube" into a volume based resonant object. In theory, more bends means slightly less length, all else being equal.

    It is actually the mathematical imperfections of the tube, of the volume, of the application of horn theory that makes the trumpet playable.

    To get back to the differences for the player: the traditional british cornet sounds the way that it does because it is built to the expectations of the players looking for that traditional sound. The artisan could stretch it out and make it look like a trumpet, but would have to experiment a lot to get the same sound due to the longer bell and shorter leadpipe of the trumpet. The problem is, no cornet player would buy it! To keep the cornet player, the artisan places braces for more feedback to the player. The traditional player themselves takes care of the rest with a traditional tapered cup on the mouthpiece as well as a different attitude about what comes out of the bell.

    I performed Prokofievs Romeo and Juliet last year. There is one cornet part and two trumpet parts. The cornet is often with the horn section, but there are tutti passages at FFF where the cornet plays the highest notes. That may not fit with some of the concepts of the cornet assumed by those not playing much more than Arban, but does show what at least was possible.
     
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    One observation that has emerged from study of pressure waves in oil and gas pipelines that might be helpful. The path around the inside of a curve is shorter than the path around the outside by pi x bore for a 180 degree turn. So waves on the inside run reach the exit a little sooner. Moreover, the higher frequencies are less able to follow a tighter turn and tend to get scattered.

    This results in a 'smearing out' of the pressure wave making the system less resonant across all frequencies, but particularly so for the higher frequencies. This is a good thing for pipelines as it makes them a little less liable to burst.

    But for brass instruments, do lots of curves give a more mellow sound with less top end? Comparing a French horn with a trombone, I'd say it's a definite 'could be'.
     
  9. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    I went to see the EYMS band a few years ago, sat if I am honest a bit close but not sitting on the principle cornet's lap, good job too he was a big bloke. Now they were loud, unpleasantly so I mean ear hurtingly horribly loud. What upset me even more though was the sound of the cornet section. They honestly might as well have been playing trumpets. (I have heard this criticism from others too) There was no sweetness no real darkness to the sound, (Actually to say they were too trumpety is unfair because a lot of trumpeters have sweeter richer sounds than these guys) I don't know what this says about what they were doing "wrong" technically in terms of fizzing solos and fast fingering etc they were bang on but ughh that sound)

    I do think that the trend in Brass Bands is to play louder and higher than of old but this band had gone too far in my eyes, (They are a Championship section band). Bearing in mind I went to see the Railway Institute band a few weeks later and there sound was much nicer, as a unit they were warmer sweeter and far nicer to listen to and I was sat so close that I could have played of the prins music if I wanted. (well almost) So again we are back to approach and perhaps mouthpiece choice to a certain extent.
     
  10. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    Double post sorry
     

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