B Flat Cornet

The cornet, pitched in Bb or Eb (soprano cornet), is similar to the trumpet, but has conical tubing in the first section of pipe while the trumpet has only cylindrical tubing other than the bell. The cornet most used in brass bands is the short-model cornet, which has a "shepherd's crook", an extra bend just before the bell. The tone is sweeter than that of the trumpet, and has far less of the brassy edge which is the hallmark of the trumpet sound. The cornet is thus ideal for lyrical playing, though it has just as much flexibility and dynamic range as the trumpet. As such, the Bb cornet is used for much of the melodic and solo work in the brass band, while the Eb soprano is more often used for ornamentation with a descant sparkle. A strong Eb player can easily be heard above a whole section of 10 Bb players, somewhat like a piccolo in an orchestra.

The typical brass band contains one Eb cornet, 4 solo Bb cornets, 3 seconds, 2 thirds, and one repiano cornet. This last term is a misspelling of the Italian "ripieno", meaning "supplementary"; this part backs up some of the solo cornet parts and some flugelhorn parts, but the instrument is still a Bb cornet.

Thanks to Eric Woodsworth for contributing this article.