trumpet vs. cornet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by christineka, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. christineka

    christineka Pianissimo User

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    I know I could google and read up on this, but I like to read different perspectives, experiences, and opinions.

    I know that a cornet is conical and a trumpet cylindrical. Historically, the cornet is a band instrument and trumpet for everything else. (Orchestra, jazz, etc.) The cornet plays in the same range as trumpet.

    What are the differences in tone and how it plays? Why aren't they played much any more? (Why do all the bands have trumpet players, not cornet?)
     
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    The ratio of conical to cylindrical tubing on modern cornets and trumpets is pretty close to the same. The main difference is in the leadpipe/tuning slide area and the bell - a good cornet will be more conical than a trumpet in those two areas.

    I may just be more involved with cornets, but it seems that cornets are making somewhat of a comeback as people who are open-minded try them. It's pretty cool to hear or participate in a band that has cornets on the cornet parts and trumpets on the trumpet parts, just like the composer/arranger intended. There's also increased popularity with British-style brass bands in the U.S., and cornets are the rule there. They can also be used effectively in some jazz situations, just as a flugelhorn has its place. There are a few orchestral pieces that call for cornet, but that's mostly a trumpet world, as is big band music.

    If played correctly, a cornet has a richer sound than a trumpet, with less of an edge and a bit less projection. A cornet is a little more agile than a trumpet, and is easier to make sing in lyrical passages. I say "played correctly" because many trumpet players pick up a cornet and play it like they're used to playing the trumpet, and the cornet ends up sounding like a trumpet. They don't see any difference and discount the cornet as a trumpet that doesn't project as well as a "real" one. There's also a view that cornets are for beginners and that as you progress, you "move up" to a trumpet. That's not the case, as they are two distinct instruments that take a different style and attitude to play correctly and get the best out of both.
     
  3. leftmid7

    leftmid7 Mezzo Piano User

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    (ha, Dale, we must have been posting concurrently)

    Well, now days, even the cornet is phasing out. About the only place you see it is brass bands, not even marching. It's funny, because I read a blurb written by Herbert Clarke, if I'm not mistaken, to another colleague back in the day about how the trumpet was just a fad and that the cornet was the clear choice as a solo and band instrument.

    To the trained ear, the cornet has a more mellow, lyrical sound, less brash. My wife can't tell the difference between my cornet and my trumpets. I liken it to non-guitar players when they hear a Strat and a Tele (strat, trumpet - tele, cornet). Prevailing wisdom is that the bore styles account for that. They don't play that much differently to me mechanically, the same as how any trumpet differs by brand and model. The best cornet I've played was a Getzen Capri, not even considered super top end, but that thing could really sing.

    My nephew just started school band and I was going ship my Conn Director up to him and his band director didn't even know what a cornet was and thought 'it wouldn't work' in the trumpet section. *sigh. I teach PT at a school and we just gave all our 5th graders trumpets, not cornets. I suppose it is just easier with availability now. When I was in band in the 80s we all started on cornet.

    I've always thought the cornet would be great for small jazz combo with its tone, have no idea why they're not used more.
     
  4. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

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    Our band has zero trumpet players - all cornet players.

    Previous descriptions on tone, agility, etc are spot on with me - won't even bother to +1 them (oops...guess I just did).
     
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    This is a classic example of the cornet sound. It sits naturally over other conical bore instruments of lower pitch like the euphonium and the tubas



    Trumpets don't do this stuff very well.

    But what trumpets do very well is sit over a bed of (cylindrical bore) trombones and shout "STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND LISTEN!!!"

    Hundreds of examples to pick, but this is a piece I really enjoyed playing



    A cornet simply doesn't have the power and brilliance to compete in this sort of stuff. It'd be swamped.
     
  6. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

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    I do believe, good sir, you mean to say a cornet is much too refined to ever be involved in such a melee! ;)
     
  7. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    When you're storming the enemy artillery positions at Balaclava, you don't call up the Women's Institute
     
  8. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

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    Nah, you just choose the appropriate weapon. Any number of vintage cornets (Besson, Boston, etc.) and even some modern ones (Benge, Wild Thing, etc.) can do all the traditional cornet stuff very, very well. If you have to fend off a herd of trumpets, you just reach for an Olds Opera cornet and blow them away. [N.B. - In side-by-side comparison, an Olds Opera cornet even made a Wild Thing short model cornet sound mild. That's not normally the case.]
     
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I have a cornet (Conn 76A) that will lay waste to trumpets if I plug in a Bach 10-1/2C mouthpiece. That .484 bore will put out some sound...
     
  10. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

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    Every so often I regret selling my Buescher 400 cornet.

    But, what the heck, I have stellar trumpets so I get by.

    Tom
     

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