Cornets are very similar to trumpets and in modern ensembles are often used interchangeably.
The trumpet is the more popular instrument, but the cornet is recognized for its unique, rich tone. This results from the different length and diameter of the horn.
Because of their versatility, cornets, like trumpets, can be heard in every type of music from classical to rock and roll and even in funk music.
There are two types of cornet. The most popular version is the B-flat Cornet, which is used in larger ensembles to give a mellow soprano tone.
Occasionally, there will be an E-flat cornet in orchestras and ensembles. They are not often used, because with their high tone, they are considered difficult to play.
Points to think on
Learning how to take care of your cornet will protect your investment and enable it to last a lifetime.
Trusted brand names for cornets include Getzen and Yamaha.
What to know about buying a pre-owned cornet
Many trumpet players also play cornets. However, because brass instruments can be pricey, they don’t want to spent lots of money on a new one. If they are on a tight budget, they often prefer to buy a used cornet - particularly if it is not going to be their main instrument.
You should be cautious when buying a used horn. The outside might look great, but there might be issues with the internal components e.g. faulty valves.
You will want to check that you are getting a fully functional instrument.
What to know about buying a new cornet
In terms of quality and potential life span, buying a new cornet is a great option - even if they are more costly that used ones.
When buying a new cornet, you know there won’t be any unknown damage inside the instrument.
As with all horns, you will need a suitable protective case, mouthpieces and oil for the valves. These are important extras to include in your budget.
If you are buying the cornet brand new, you may be able to negotiate for a case to be included in the purchase price.