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Cornet & Brass Band Instryments Generally



 
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John Pereira
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Joined: 28 Feb 2019
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:33 am    Post subject: Cornet & Brass Band Instryments Generally Reply with quote

Is the cornet easier to play than the trumpet? in what way?
I have heard that it speaks more freely and is less fatiguing.

What features make one cornet easier to play than another cornet? is it the expansion of the bore? Over the 20C, so I am told, the design of the so called cornet has progressively been modified in the direction of the valve trumpet so that the difference between them has become quite minimal. Are the trumpet-like "cornets" of recent decades also trumpet-like in playing characteristics?

I have been surfing the internet a bit in search of a cornet that really exemplifies true cornet character. Am I chasing a chimera? What date can be realistically regarded as a watershed and are there conservative makers who were slower to modify their designs?

Any information would be gratefull received.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, the cornet is not “easier to play” than a trumpet, or any other standard brass instrument. Playing well, in the particular style intended, is an art that takes a lifetime to master.

There are many turning points in the history of cornets, and in many ways, the dominant form today is harkening back to a century plus ago.

The cornet evolved out of the cornopian, which had a rounded form as a result mostly of the stotzel valves used for these instruments that have one port on the bottom. Stotzel valves were available some 2 decades ahead of transposition rotary valves, and there were Berliner & Vienna valves that eventually led to piston valves all by 1842. Each of these alternatives to the Stotzel valve allowed for a more compact form of instrument to be built (though a few makers built some impressive circular top-action rotary valve cornets anyway before the Civil War). By 1860, over-the-shoulder form top action rotary cornets were quite common, as were older cornopians and Saxon-style side clock-sprung rotary valve cornets.

These cornets defined the sound of the first brass bands which were largely associated with the military. After the war, these forms would transition to piston valve dominance in the United States, Britain and parts of France, led by two successive earlier innovations in Paris.

The first of these was, as the cornet began to look like a cornet, moving the valves from the outside (called a French Model) of the leadpipe and bell stem as was normal for a cornopian, to between them (called the English Model) and creating what we think of as a cornet today. French Model forms date back to the 1838 introduction of the Perinet piston valve. English Model forms appear around 1854/1855 at Courtois and catch on in the 1860s.

The second innovation was Courtois’s design of the Arbuckle cornet, which would become the standard wrap for cornets ranging from French firms to the American firms of Conn and Boston. The most distinctive feature of this form is the double or “wish bone” spit key on the low points in the leadpipe in its first crook and in the dipping crook in front of third valve as it loops back. This form is very compact and typically a small bore. These cornets would define the later half of the 19th century and the popular music that typified it.

Shortly before the dawn of the 20th century, a socio-cultural transformation in the United States as it became a world power combined with the aging of cornet bands as popular music to transform the cornet in the US. The surviving instruments suggest that in the late 1890s, Henderson White began experimenting with designing a cornet based on the Bohland & Fuchs models he had been stenciling for his shop. As the serial numbers in the 600s increase, these horns get progressively bigger. The end result is what he appropriately dubbed the King Long Model. Long Models, which are less conical, much larger bore, elongated, and a more open wrap, moved in the direction of trumpets, though the trumpet at that time was much harsher and typically a small bore instrument. Long cornets retain some of the broadness and warmth of the cornet, but can definitely carry with more power than a short cornet.

At the same time in Britain, short cornets slowly grew larger and more open, but retained their conical dominance and many other traits of the earlier compact cornets.

This split the cornet world into 3 types with Saxon style rotaries still surviving on the continent in town bands, these larger traditional short cornets defining the British Brass Band sound, and American long cornets finding a home in the emergent Jazz scene. This was really the third period of cornet evolution, and some feel it was the final.

Today, there are both British style short cornets (Yamaha Xeno YCR-8335 for instance) and American Long Cornets (Bach 181 for instance). There has been a resurgence in short cornets in the United States so here it seems like this is a fourth period in the evolution of the instrument, but really its just the continuation of the third.

So what cornet to play? Depends on what you will use it for.
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Dennis78
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!
Great post OSE.
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etc-etc
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dennis78 wrote:
WOW!
Great post OSE.


Indeed - well done!
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Eliot
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Joined: 05 Nov 2018
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSchoolEuph wrote:
... Playing well, in the particular style intended, is an art that takes a lifetime to master.

There are many turning points in the history of cornets, and in many ways, the dominant form today is harkening back to a century plus ago. ...


"Playing well ... " Oh so true ... hours and hours and years of practise - the "hard" slog.

That'a a very interesting history lesson on the development of the cornet. Thanks greatly for taking the time to tell it. Much appreciated.
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TKSop
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And yet there are principal players in top level (EBBC, British Open, etc) bands in their twenties and even teens.

If it took a lifetime to master then we'd expect all the best players to be old, but often that isn't the case in brass banding circles.
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