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building a cornetto/zink



 
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vivace
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: building a cornetto/zink Reply with quote

hey everyone,

after having some fun with Tim's dual belled trumpet, I though about how much fun tinkering aorund with instruments would be. Although I don't have much access to a shop with metal stuff, my artist friend (and musician, and linguist, etc.) said that maybe building a cornetto would be not only fun but a little more easy, since it is wood and not brass and torches and stuff.

Anyway, after 2 days of searching, I haven't come up with much. I am trying to find some dimensions as far as length, diameter, bore(mouthpiece reciever and bell), etc.

or even if there are some plans/diagrams that you know of.

The closest thing I have come up with this:
http://www.serpentwebsite.com/Sqworm_Construction.PDF

it is called sqworm, or a square worm, the baby version of a sqerpent (square serpent)

It is a start, but it is a 5th higher, in G. I am looking to make one in C.

So, any ideas, plans, stuff you know? Or if you have a cornetto, if you wouldn't mind maybe measuring for me?

This is all just for fun, somethign to do over the weekends when we don't have tests and what not. But hey, it will be a lot of fun, and if it turns out nice, alright!

Thanks guys,

mat
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Fin Du Monde
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try to find a used Christopher Monk resin cornetto to copy. They are comparatively inexpensive and actually play very well.

Good luck
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rwbanks1962
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, you'll probably get alot more use out of a "g" cornetto, than a "c" cornettino. The "g" instrument is also non-transposing, has an additional fourth of range on the bottom, and is alot easier to tune the high "d" (d")on.

The monk resin cornetto is available in 440Hz, but IIRC, the cornettino is pitched in "high chamber pitch" (something like 450Hz or 465 Hz).

Also cornetti don't really slot any notes, so playing them at proper pitch will take a bit of getting used to. It usually takes me a day or so after being away from the instrument to feel comfortable on it again.

Holding one of the instruments is a little bit like trying to catch a raw egg that's been thrown at you (without breaking it), so once you make a zink, you might want to check out the cornettozink list for ideas on how to keep the tension out of your right hand while playing one.

Take care,
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Biber
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="rwbanks1962"]FWIW, you'll probably get alot more use out of a "g" cornetto, than a "c" cornettino. The "g" instrument is also non-transposing, has an additional fourth of range on the bottom, and is alot easier to tune the high "d" (d")on.

Not to mention that it is the instrument for which 95% of cornett literature was written

The monk resin cornetto is available in 440Hz, but IIRC, the cornettino is pitched in "high chamber pitch" (something like 450Hz or 465 Hz).

[color=red]Monk resin instruments are VERY serviceable. I know of several who play them professionally.
The cornetto is pitched a fourth higher and, as with all cornetts, may be had at either high (465hz) or modern (440hz) pitch. Last I knew, Roland Wilson was making them even higher, at around 490hz. Historical specimens are mostly high at 450, 465 470 490+ hertz. Only a very few exist at 440 (the Christ Church instruments). There are also a few alto instruments that come in slightly lower than 440. a treble instrument at a lower pitch is really an anacronism.

Also cornetti don't really slot any notes, so playing them at proper pitch will take a bit of getting used to. It usually takes me a day or so after being away from the instrument to feel comfortable on it again.

This couldn't be more wrong. If you truly are having this problem there must be something wrong with your setup or you're doing something wrong

Holding one of the instruments is a little bit like trying to catch a raw egg that's been thrown at you (without breaking it), so once you make a zink, you might want to check out the cornettozink list for ideas on how to keep the tension out of your right hand while playing one.

Practice is the only real remedy for this

Good luck

Biber
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a book that has 2 designs you can build - a curved cornetto and a straight one (called a 'mute' cornetto). Also has plans for a brass renaissance trumpet.

I have photocopies of the plans somewhere. I can't recall the name of the book at the moment - will have to search around to find the plans. I am reasonably sure it is this one http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0870233122/102-4392438-7265704?v=glance&n=283155

There is also an Excel spreadsheet for calculating optimum taper rates and finger hole placement and sizes on the web. Don't have that to hand but you might find it on the web. The designs in the book I mention are good according to this spreasheet. I may have a copy of the spreadsheet somewhere.

Have fun!

Michael
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The construction method for the curved coretto is to cut a piece of wood in half and carve out the bore on the flat then stick it together. Easy to do, but requires patience and care to do a good job. The only tools you need are a saw and chisels.

The straight cornetto can be made like this but it is probably better to make a reamer to do the job. For that you need a lathe, or take the design to a toolmaker. You might get away with doing step-bores with various sizes or auger bit then smoothing it out with a tapered file or sanding tool.

Michael
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Biber
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcamilleri wrote:
You might get away with doing step-bores with various sizes or auger bit then smoothing it out with a tapered file or sanding tool.


That's how Serge Delmas (perhaps THE most popular maker these days) makes his instruments. I once asked him how he came up with his bore profile and he showed me a facsimile of a 16th century treatise and went off on a tangent on mathematical proportion.

For some bore measurements check out old issues of the Galpin Society Journal. BTW, X Rays are available from Nuremberg.

Biber
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The straight or mute cornetto is less common than the curved. Having built up a mock straight prototype (square bore for ease of construction) I can tell you one reason the curved one is preferred. The straight one really forces the lower hand into an very awkward position to finger. The curved one follows the natural planes of movement of the arms and hands better, especially if you play it out of the mouth corner which is the traditional way they were played. Cornetto in G/A is about as low a pitch as you can go before finger stretch gets too large and keys become necessary.

One thing is for sure, you are in for a real adventure!

Michael
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plunkett
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a Monk resin cornett and recently moved to a McCann wood version. If you want, I can send you a picture with a ruler next to it. I have found the wood version to be MUCH nicer, BTW. It is more "lively", slots better at the high end, and just plain sounds nicer! I try to play it a little every day, but be warned that it is a difficult instrument to master (I'm not even close). You do have a BIG jump being a trumpet player, though. I was also a little concerned that the little mouthpiece would mess up my trumpet embouchure, but that hasn't proven to be true. Hand position does take some getting used to, though! Biggest problem is finding like-minded people to play with...

Have fun and good luck. Oh yeah, just for grins, I made a straight one out of PVC pipe, using the hole distances from my McCann. It does play, but I think the most critical part of the whole process is getting the taper right.

Pat
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It must have a true conical taper to get the harmonic series in tune. Otherwise it behaves like a clarinet, jumping up in 13nths or something like like. A 1:32 taper gives a good series if I remember correctly.

The wooden instruments tend to play better because they are handcrafted and adjusted, and have the undersides of the tone holes rounded off. This alone really smooths out the tone. Most moulded plastic instruments have sharp edges on the tone holes. With proper adjustment a well designed plastic instrument can sound nearly as good as wooden one.

I sounded like #$#@# on my mock up so never went ahead with a real one. A tough instrument to master, but sublime in the hands of a master. My hat is off to anyone that can make music with one.

Michael
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rwbanks1962
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biber,

My experience with the Monk cornetti comes from the early (mid 1970's) instruments I own. I believe that the design may have been changed before Jeremy West took over the business, as the bore taper and profile on the early instrument wasn't patterned after any particular historical example, and may have actually been plotted by a mathematician for Christopher Monk. I know he also used to offer a more curved version that is much easier to hold for a beginner, and for those with small hands.

The slotting comment I made could well be due to the setup on my instrument, but after playing on my early Monk Cornetto, my early Monk cornettino, and the equally early Lysarden I played at UNT, at least those instruments didn't slot any where near the same way that a trumpet does.

Monk cornetti do have definite pitch centers, but because you can bend the pitch very easily (at least on the monk instruments I have played), you do have to be thinking about what you're doing until you get the feel for how the instrument responds.

On holding the instrument you're right -- practice is the key, and in my experience I found that the less you "try" to hold the earlier less-curved Monk horns, the easier it is to both hold and finger the right hand positions.

Don't get me wrong, the Monk/West resin instruments are great, but like alot of early instruments that are built to a price point, the sacrifice in authenticity to make a profitable product comes with a few drawbacks, such as weight, slight timbre differences, etc. Drop an unbound resin instrument (at least the early ones) and you wind up with shards of acrylic resin -- been there, done that. However without the Monk instruments alot fewer people would have gotten the chance to hear, much less play cornetti -- they were worlds better that the instruments that Moeck offered at the time. Even with the concessions to profitability, they are still a blast to play.

Matt,

While the wooden instruments made by McCann are a definite step up from the Monk resin instruments, there's no reason that a home builder can't achieve decent results too. It's just going to take enough time spent doing research, picking up the woodworking skills, leatherworking skills, and for the builder to be willing to accept that it may take a few goes at it before they wind up with useable instruments. The upside is that with sharp tools, a little experience and a developed method, carving the bores won't take that long. Cutting the diamond shaped facets is one of those things like cutting lute rosettes that looks alot more difficult that it really is as well. Getting the octagonal shape established on the exterior, and voicing the instrument will take about as much time as the rest of the construction, but are worth spending additional time on anyway, as the facets don't look right otherwise and obviously voicing the instrument is important. Learn to sharpen your gouges first, because carving the bore on a curved cornett will involve alot of cutting across the grain on fairly hard woods. Sharp tools are safer, cut faster/more cleanly and are easier to use.

Trevor Robinson's "The Amateur Wind Instrument Maker" is a good place to start if you can take it at face value that you'll not be creating really historically accurate instruments from the book's information (hence the title). Trevor's work is important in that it was the first manual out there on the subject, but even Trevor (a Biochemist) never intended the work to be a scholarly reference on the subject comparable to Bob Barclay's "The Art of the Trumpet Maker."

In addition of some good links over at the the musical instrument makers forum (www.mimf.com), a good point to start from are organological articles on specific instruments found in journals such as The Galpin Society Journal. The Christ Church Instruments are described in detail (including bore dimensions), in a GSJ article by Julian Drake in one of the issues (I'll get the exact citation for you if you like).

An important thing to remember about making instruments based on museum copies is to not get too wound up about irregularites of specific instruments, as few will have precisely conical bores (or even completely round sections of the bore). The irregularities can be due to shrinkage differential expansion, cumulative effects of thermal cycling, and more often than not early mass production. In the eras before machine production and .0001" tolerances, etc., it is common to see tool marks, and irregularities (to a certain point) even in instruments that were produced by a master's shop. It is best to study a few instruments (even if only through articles), before accepting any feature as archetypal.

Also Matt, if you decide to give it a try, I'd like to encourage you to not take shortcuts when building your first instruments. Routers, and lots of power tools aren't really necessary to make cornetti. A few good sharp gouges, some files, scrapers, a spokeshave and a plane can do wonders.

Take Care,
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rwbanks1962
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For any folks who might be interested, here is the citation for the Julian Drake article on the Christ Church Cornetti:

Drake, Julian. "The Christ Church Cornetts, and the Ivory Cornett in the Royal College of Music, London." The Galpin Society Journal, NUMBER XXXIV : MARCH 1981, pg 44.
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rwbanks1962
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For any folks who might be interested, here is the citation for the Julian Drake article on the Christ Church Cornetti:

Drake, Julian. "The Christ Church Cornetts, and the Ivory Cornett in the Royal College of Music, London." The Galpin Society Journal, NUMBER XXXIV : MARCH 1981, pg 44.
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vivace
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow guys,

thanks for all the info. Turns out John McCann's workshop is in Sandy, UT. That is like 45 minutes away. I am hopefully going to go up to his workshop sometime in the near future and actually see a cornett and learn some more history about it and what not. He seems like a very friendly guy.

I thought the majority ofmusic was for the C cornetto, sicne on the sqqworm site it shows their g cornett next to a real one and it is much longer. I guess that is what happens when you assume.

But this is just all going to be for fun, and I would really like to start getting into woodworking, so what a great project.

thanks again guys.
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cornetto in G ends up having a similar to the violin, and can play parts interchangeable (well, if the player is good enough).

Master instrument makers use a lot of trial and error in making their instruments, they don't simply turn them out to a pattern. They test and adjust until they are happy with it, and in some cases this can mean that they have steps in the bore or odd tool marks in some strange places. I have read several accounts of studies of historical instruments that have these features and they genuinely improve the instrument, sometimes radically. Mathematics has it's limits, and a straight and perfect bore is not always best musically.

If you buy a block of wood from a supplier then you will be doing a lot of cross-grain cuts. Some types of wood cut across the grain much easier than others. Making a sensible choice of wood (not necessarily those used for clarinets and recorders) will make life a lot easier. So will learning how to sharpen your tools properly.

Fruitwoods are often used for woodwind instruments - pear, peach, cherry, lemon etc. If you hunt around you should be able to find some fruitwood prunings the right size and curve for a cornetto, either from someones backyard or a commercial orchard. This will make carving a lot easier. Trouble is you may have to season the wood for a year or so before carving.

If you ask Mr McCann nicely he would probably sell you a piece of stock wood ready to carve, though if it is costly I would save it for your second cornetto. Some other music supply shops sell wood stock, though they tend to sell it in clarinet and recorder sized blocks. In principle you could glue small pieces like this together before carving, and align the wood grain to match the curve.

BTW, steam bending is another way of getting curved stock, although not all woods are good to bend.

Michael
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ford850
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cornetto is a fun instrument but is proving harder to play than I thought; I bought the resin one from Pat and am having fun with it.... it is a nice horn.
I had the opportunity to go to an early music concert Sunday and was able to hear Bruce Dickey, from what I have been told, one of the best cornetto players in the world...the guy was amazing. He told me the resin one I have is capable of making a very nice sound. I hate to think he is mistaken but I haven't found that sound yet.
I was confused about the key of the instrument. From a trumpet player's perspective the instrument is in the key of C. If you play a C with it the sound is a C on the piano.....but it is called a G instrument...go figure. Pat explained why it is a G instrument but it could not play duets with a G trumpet. Good luck it sounds like a lot of fun. Mark
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A C is a C is a C - it is a non-transposing instrument, like C trumpet.

The G refers to the pitch of the lowest note, played all fingers down and lipped down a tone, assuming I have recalled the chart correctly.

Michael
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