Differences between trumpet and cornet

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MoominDave, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Somebody whose knowledge I respect tells me that there is no significant difference between the modern trumpet and the modern cornet, that the designs of the two instruments have converged to the point where classifying them has become difficult.

    I find this unlikely, based on my playing and listening experiences - does anyone here have any idea whether this is true or not?
  2. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Well ones long and straight and the others short and curvy :D

    One goes Paaaaarp the other goes pwwwawwa ( depending on vib :D ).

    in answer to your question. Not a clue. I do find differences when playing, but that all comes down to the bore, balance, make of instrument..... You'd need a trumpet and a cornet of the same make from the same factory to tell I guess, as each manufacturer has their own way of doing things.

    I always thought one was straight whilst the other has a concial bore...
    ( not that I'm any technical expert of course )
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Well, both are partly straight, partly conical.
    What I'm being told is that the trumpet has gradually become more conical to the extent that the bore profile is close to that of a cornet - much much closer than it was when the cornet was invented.
  4. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Theres some stuff here http://www.brasscrest.com/instru/instru002.html ( wasn't/isn't brasscrest a poster here? ).

    I don't know much about the manufacture of modern trumpets ( where TrumpetMike when you need him, he's a mine of useless information on trumpets ;) ).
  5. joshy

    joshy Member

    I keep trying to explain the difference to my students (as I play either cornet or trumpet lessons depending on what I'm doing that night) and I have real trouble with it! As far as I know the main physical differences are the conical (cornet) and straight (trumpet) bore and there is more curvature in the tubing of a cornet (which I have been led to believe creates a more mellow sound).

    Where the big differences come in though is with playing a trumpet as a trumpet and a cornet as a (brass band) cornet. This is were differences in style and playing approach make them sound very different. They may be very closely related but if you play brass band and orchestral they become COMPLETELY different from each other. The same can also be said to a certain extent of flugel, piccolo and Eb/D cornet/trumpet playing. When the playing level is high enough they all have their own style and subtleties.

  6. dabhand

    dabhand New Member

    Difference between trumpet and cornet

    They have come closer together, in my experience with Brass Bands, Military Concert Bands, Function and Big Bands
    It was a traditional thing in the past that Cornets were in Brass Bands, Military Concert Bands and the early Big Bands (Beiderbecke etc), but I can only see Brass bands that nowadays stipulate Cornets as the instrument to use
    Perhaps we need to be more tolerant in allowing the use of both Trumpet and Cornet, depending on the type of music being played ; suggestions anyone ?
    Kind regards
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    joshy -

    And these subtleties can potentially be very misleading in this question - the person I spoke to suggested that stylistic differences are much greater than those that are inherent in the shapes of the instruments.

    Re the wrap of the instrument - that this would have any big effect on the tone of the instrument doesn't seem obvious to me; I'd expect any differences at all in conicalness to give much more of an effect.
  8. bumper-euph

    bumper-euph Member

    One's very musical.......and a trumpet isn't.:biggrin:
  9. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    One gets paid....the cornet player doesn't !!
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    . . . unless he's playing The Soldier's Tale, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky etc
    (under the right conductors, of course) ;)
  11. Acky1962

    Acky1962 New Member

    Try telling this to Maurice Andre, Wynton Marsalis, Alison Balsom etc!!!!!!! :cool:
  12. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    That would be the trumpet player getting a doubling fee !!
  13. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Of course there's a difference. You try putting a trumpet in a cornet case.
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    But that doesn't actually tell you how the width of the tubing varies throughout the instrument... (How it is folded up is far less important)
  15. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    One gets featured on national TV and splits nearly every note (Proms)

    One doesn't get featured on TV often and usually practices so they don't split a note
  16. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    OK, so far there has been comment regarding the build of either instrument, some about technique and style, but nothing about mouthpiece. Most brass band players favour a deep cup, regardless of rim diameter, the depth of cup produces the more mellow tone. If any cornet or trumpet player reading this hasn't tried a deep cup and compared it to a very shallow cup, please do so. You will be astounded at the difference in tone.
    A few, but obviously not all, trumpet players favour a shallow cup to enhance the bright crystal sound associated with the trumpet.
  17. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    One can play above a top C...... One's a Cornet!!!......Touche!!!
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    We can take this variable out of the question by comparing cornet vs trumpet with the same mouthpiece - as various doublers do.
  19. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think that's fair. A trumpet may be played on using different types of mouthpieces, depending on the style (e.g. pop music vs. classical music), but I don't think a cornet is supposed to be played on with anything smaller/shallower than a DW4B, imo.

    I'm not a great expert in trumpets, but isn't the bore diameter of most trumpets also bigger than a cornet's? (I'm talking about the L-bore ytrumpets, I know there are ML-bore trumpets as well). in that case your cornet mouthpiece won't fit on the trumpet ;)

    I'd like to remark that ove rhere in the Low Countries, most wind band / fanfare band pieces have parts that are marked as "trumpet/cornet". My band used to have a mix of trumpets and cornets in the same section, but in the last couple of years two cornet players have left and one (me ;) ) switched to flugel, so no we only have trumpets left.

    I still play cornet in a wind band though, along with trumpet players. I noticed that the sound doens't mix very well when I used a DW2 mouthpiece, so I use a 3B now when playing in that wind band.

    Finally there was a remark about A Soldier's Tale earlier. I went to a concert were this was played a couple of months ago. The part was played on cornet, and it sounded great. The player was indeed a professional trumpet player, but if I think he has a brass band background, so he certainly didn't sound as a trumpet player using a cornet :)
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    We're drifting away from my original question - which I'd still love to hear an answer to, btw...

    To rephrase it - how does the bore profile of a trumpet vary relative to that of a cornet? I know the general answer - that it supposedly flares later, but my friend asserted to me that this difference has been getting smaller and smaller over the years, and that it is now negligible. Does anyone know how true this assertion is?

    The question of mouthpiece used is an interesting one, and throws light on how the ways the two instruments are generally played can accentuate any difference in people's minds, but it's not one that advances the answer to the original question...

    "Bore size" and shank size are not the same thing. I'm not a great expert in trumpets either, so I'll give an example that I'm more familiar with - the Willson 2900 euphonium model has a much smaller shank than the Besson Sovereign, but the overall bore size, which is characterised by the inner tubing diameter of the 2nd valve slide (as I recall), is very similar (indeed, a hair bigger, if the specs are to be believed) - .591" vs .59".

    With regard to trumpet/cornet bore sizes, the Bach website describes their professional "Stradivarius" range in terms of medium-large bore of .459" and large bore of .462" - which seems a bafflingly small distinction to make to me, given that modern tenor trombones range in size from .485" to .562". The Besson website lists bore sizes for BE927 and BE928 Sovereign cornet models of .46" and .465". The Prestige BE2028 is bigger, at .47".

    So - there is very little difference in original bore size between Besson Sovereign cornet and Bach Strad trumpet. I'm also fairly sure that they do take the same mouthpiece shank - can somebody comment?
    What I'm interested in is how the bore profile develops - where and how it flares.

    I notice that the Wick cornet mouthpieces have rather wider throats than trumpet mouthpieces. Their trombone mouthpieces also have open throats, and this is something that I personally find to be a defect (although others do not, it must be said) - the sound doesn't focus very easily, and the instrument response suffers. I wonder if the same effect is what makes a cornet with a Wick mouthpiece not blend very well with trumpets?
    [Btw, I've never seen a trumpeter using a Wick mouthpiece. Which is odd, as trumpeters are often mouthpiece freaks! Perhaps this is telling us something about how good Wick mouthpieces are...]
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008

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