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Cornet in A


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matthes93401
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:40 am    Post subject: Cornet in A Reply with quote

Hello TH,

As I see it, there were a handful of Cornet-in-A parts written for well known late romantic works by composers such as Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, and Sullivan. As I understand it- during this period and into the early portion of the 20th century- some Cornets and Trumpets were built with an extra shank or special main tuning slide with rotor to open extra tubing length of the instrument from Bb or C to the key of A.

Question 1: Of such cornets and trumpets that survive to this day, which are the most true in [modern] pitch and mechanically reliable? Are there contemporary options like mouthpiece adapters?

Question 2: Early in my TH days (2006/2007), I recall there was someone manufacturing a special main tuning slide with a key that opened up extra tubing to low a Bb trumpet's key to A. I don't recall the name and if it was only for Bach trumpets or certain cornets. Do you recall?

Thank you.


P.S. I recognize it's possible to transpose down a half step. It would be fun to play on an A instrument. Occasionally there are trumpet/cornet parts that transposition to A requires faculty in the peddle tone range. I'd like to avoid a discussion about transposition or peddle tones. There are many quality TH threads on those subjects. Thanks again.
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patdublc
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Practically speaking, I have always played A cornet parts on a C cornet because the transposition if friendlier than the half step. But, there are definitely some good old Conns out there designed to play in multiple keys. That's probably the easiest thing to find.
I'm interested to see what others say as this is an interesting topic.
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Didymus
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:21 am    Post subject: Truevee Bb to A adapter. Reply with quote

Truevee makes a Bb to A adapter for trumpet. They claim using it doesn't require the player to adjust the slides, but I can't be sure because I only know about it, I've never used it myself.

Bach used to offer "fast change to A" options for their Bb trumpets. I no longer see it in their current catalogs.

I am unaware of any current manufacturers that make an A cornet or a Bb/A cornet. Maybe boutique shops like Monette will make them by request.

I think Stomvi offers a 4-valve trumpet in A as a regular production model. The trick is finding one to try out.

Over the years I have read that any Bb trumpet based on the French Besson design can be "pulled to A". You can think of it as a deprecated feature of the design; few manufacturers will say that their instruments will do so and your mileage may vary depending on how much their instrument departs from the original design specs of the OG French Besson.

The normal pull lengths I have seen on chat boards which broach this topic are:

3/8" for first valve slide
1/8" for second valve slide
1/2" for third valve slide
2" for main tuning slide

Again, your mileage may vary depending on the make or model. Try pulling the slides the distances given above and testing the intonation using a tuner. Adjust as necessary. Make sure your first/third valve slide stops are also adjusted or jury-rigged accordingly.

Be advised that your trumpet will play or feel/respond differently than when it's in Bb. If you think you can work with the result, practice it at that setting like it's another trumpet in another key..... don't just "pull and pray" when you need to do it. If you're a player like me, with middling ability and a substandard ear, you're going to sound bad (or in my case, even worse) unless you have good feel for how the instrument's response will change.

A while back I asked a similar question about certain brands of cornets. I'm not sure the above slide pulls will work for Bb cornets, as they often come in a greater diversity of designs than trumpets.
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Last edited by Didymus on Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:46 pm; edited 2 times in total
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't exactly answer either of your questions but I have a vintage Conn 80A which is designed with a quick-change mechanism that adjusts all the small slides the required distance when you pull the main slide into either Bb or A. Though these are quite old they're not hard to find and frequently not too expensive. And this model has quite a few fans except for the BBB types, best I can tell.
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matthes93401
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Appreciate the inputs!

The Conn 80A Quick Change looks like an ingenious design. Those 1920's(?) designers really were clever.

The Truevee looks like a possibility for me. One of my older trumpet friends had a similar adapter for his Burkbank Benge, and I always wondered where he got it (he passed away so I can't ask). From what I remember him telling me, his Benge was very similar to the classic Besson design.

I just sent an email to Tuevee asking if they had a similar adapter for Bb cornet.

Thanks!
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
Doesn't exactly answer either of your questions but I have a vintage Conn 80A which is designed with a quick-change mechanism that adjusts all the small slides the required distance when you pull the main slide into either Bb or A. Though these are quite old they're not hard to find and frequently not too expensive. And this model has quite a few fans except for the BBB types, best I can tell.

Back when I played in a community orchestra a fair amount, the "Cornet in A" parts were a pain for me - as I generally avoid C trumpet. Transposing a half step is annoying. Anyway, I considered getting one of these 80A's for these occasional parts to do in A. It seemed like the best bet - fairly modern in terms of instruments that are semi-built in A, not too expensive, and malleable in terms of sound. I didn't do it, but I considered it.
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Didymus
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:23 pm    Post subject: Keep Us Updated! Reply with quote

matthes93401 wrote:
---snip---
I just sent an email to Tuevee asking if they had a similar adapter for Bb cornet.

Thanks!


Can you let us know what Truevee says about making a similar adapter for Bb cornet?

Incidentally, the guy who designed their Bb to A adapter for trumpet passed away a few years ago.
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matthes93401
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Keep Us Updated! Reply with quote

Didymus wrote:
matthes93401 wrote:
---snip---
I just sent an email to Tuevee asking if they had a similar adapter for Bb cornet.

Thanks!


Can you let us know what Truevee says about making a similar adapter for Bb cornet?

Incidentally, the guy who designed their Bb to A adapter for trumpet passed away a few years ago.


I spoke with Michael at Truevee, and he said a cornet adapter is possible. After I relayed some measurements, he said he'd build me one.

I'll let you know how it goes after I receive the part.
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ChopsGone
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can also find plenty of vintage yet modern cornets which switch rapidly between Bb and A. Early Olds models such as “The Olds” and many other brands of the 1930’s and a bit later even had a dedicated “quick change to A” slide - it might look like two tuning slides with one crossing past the valve cluster, but it’s really for this specific purposes. Others used a rotary mechanism - or multiple ones - for the purpose. Find one in good condition and you won’t need adapters. Go back further and you’ll find different tuning bits (mouthpipes) doing the same thing.
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Dale Proctor
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently sold a Conn 22B trumpet from the 1920s that had a tuning slide with a rotary valve in it that changed from Bb to A. It worked pretty well.
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lewis
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only are there many cornet in A and trumpet in A parts in orchestral music, but there are a lot of solos for cornet in A, particularly from the 1880s and 1890s. Many years ago, I presented a lecture-recital for an ITG conference in which I played an Arban solo for cornet in A (with piano accompaniment), using a 1888 Conn wonder cornet in A (using the long A shank). It played well in tune, but the tone was very dark, and almost like a flugelhorn. As an orchestral trumpeter, I found it handy to use a Besson "Brevete" trumpet with the rotary quick-change to A for the 3rd trumpet part to one of the Rachmaninoff symphonies, where the third part in A goes down to a written f#. And, of course, there is the famous Carmen prelude. Other than those two examples, I used a C trumpet for everything.

Back in the 1990s the ITG Journal published several pages from the catalogue of E. A. Couturier's instruments, and in it he mentions that the cornets and trumpets with a rotary quick-change Bb-to-A were intended for amateurs--professionals would use a Bb trumpet or cornet without the quick change, because they could be expected to transpose. He said the same thing about C trumpets and cornets--they were for amateurs who could not transpose.

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Didymus
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Keep Us Updated! — Thanks! Reply with quote

matthes93401 wrote:
Didymus wrote:
matthes93401 wrote:
---snip---
I just sent an email to Tuevee asking if they had a similar adapter for Bb cornet.

Thanks!


Can you let us know what Truevee says about making a similar adapter for Bb cornet?

Incidentally, the guy who designed their Bb to A adapter for trumpet passed away a few years ago.


I spoke with Michael at Truevee, and he said a cornet adapter is possible. After I relayed some measurements, he said he'd build me one.

I'll let you know how it goes after I receive the part.


Wow! Imagine if he can twist the adapter into a pigtail, just like some of the adapters seen on the traditional cornets?

Out of curiousity, which measurements did you send to him? Did Michael also ask you what brand of cornet you want to use with the adapter?
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matthes93401
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Truevee asked for the brand of cornet, length of the mouthpiece receiver, and outside diameter of receiver, and outside diameter of leadpipe just after receiver. I suppose they have a formula for approximating the taper.

I won't know how it fits/plays until the part arrives. Hopefully, I correctly communicated what TrueVee needed.
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Didymus
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:32 pm    Post subject: +1 Reply with quote

matthes93401 wrote:
Truevee asked for the brand of cornet, length of the mouthpiece receiver, and outside diameter of receiver, and outside diameter of leadpipe just after receiver. I suppose they have a formula for approximating the taper.

I won't know how it fits/plays until the part arrives. Hopefully, I correctly communicated what TrueVee needed.


Thanks!
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GordonH
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vintage european cornets had removable shanks in Bb, A and G. Lattwerly just Bb and A. This was phased out in the 50s and 60s. The early Boosey and Hawkes Imperials have removable shanks. The A shank was just a longer straight one. The G shank was usually curled round. Here we just transpose it onto Bb. Although some of the Gilbert and Sullivan cornet parts are wrongly transposed - they transposed all the flat key songs onto cornet in A and the sharp key ones onto cornet in Bb. Absolutely fantastic.
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FrankM
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B&H Imperials and early Sovereigns have a movable crook as the tubing goes into the 3rd valve. This gives enough leeway to lower them to A. The main slide on its own isn't long enough. Cheers, Frank.
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bunny
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Older cornets with removable lead pipes (or bits) simply had a different pipe for each key as discussed. Some early kits have as many as 5. As one can not pull the valve slides enough for the lower pitches I have always assumed they were used to play natural or horn parts in those keys. Many also have a high pitch-low pitch slide. Pitch is another question!
When fixed lead pipes became the norm many different systems for changing to A were developed- the Conn 80A being a famous example. Using the A setting was not simply a matter of transposing- it often provided better intonation when playing in the sharp keys with orchestras- for example, see the A cornet parts for Sousa marches.
Once played cornet parts to Roman Carnival Overture in a community orchestra with a player who could not transpose on 2nd. We played two King Master Models pulled to A- the valve slide positions were clearly marked. Intonation was very acceptable and the faster passages had a great fluid sound!
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago I was asked to sit in with a local amateur (but fairly good) symphony for a pops concert. On the program was Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien," which has two parts for cornet in A. I was to play the second cornet part. Now, my bread and butter is big band and commercial playing and my classical training was on trombone, so transposition is not my strong point.

I tried. I grabbed the wrong horn in the first rehearsal (matched Schilkes) and played the A transposition I'd been practicing on C on Bb instead. There was laughter. My confidence was shattered.

I played the concert on my 1923 Conn 80A New Wonder, with mechanism. It worked beautifully. The opening fanfare, unison on two C trumpets, one Bb trumpet (playing first cornet), and cornet in A was in tune. And on the Allegro Moderato, where it goes into the key of E (on A cornet), I pushed in to Bb because the part laid better on the Bb horn, then pulled back out to A when the key changed back to concert A.

And it was fun showing up to the concert with my dinky little vintage cornet case, a spider stand in a tux-jacket pocket, and one mute in my free hand when the other players all had double cases or triple gig bags.
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Denny Schreffler
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most trumpets and cornets into (and, many, beyond) the late 20th Century were intentionally made in B-flat/A – main slide long enough to pull out to A. The design is left over from when that was a necessary convenience.

Someone who actually knows help me out on this → but I believe that one of the improvements in contemporary, small-manufacturer horns is that their leadpipes don’t have to be designed to accept the extra length of a B-flat/A tuning slide.

Here’s what Conn said in 1955 about the 28A Connstellation – Here's everything the finest trumpet artist can want. Built in medium-large bore, in Bb and A, its uniquely balanced taper mouthpipe and bell design aids in easy response and accurate intonation, and provides unusual resonance and flexibility. Precision lapped slides permit instant and accurate adjustment while playing. Patented and exclusive top spring Clickless Crysteel valves are lightning fast, quiet, positive. Length 21¼" weight 2 pounds, 10 ounces; bell diameter 5". In beautiful plush lined two tone tan and rawhide vinyl covered case (top grain leather bound), with mouthpiece and music lyre. Highly polished brass, beautifully nickel trimmed, clear lacquered.

This is from the 1961 Bach catalog – A B-flat instrument requires a bell of certain proportions to have the open tones in tune and to allow perfect response. If you pull the tuning slide of the instrument to “A”, it should have an “A” trumpet bell of the correct proportions to obtain the best playing results for the pitch of “A”. While a half-tone change will not affect the playing qualities of an instrument drastically, you will notice more of an adverse effect if you tune a trumpet a whole tone lower, such as playing a C trumpet …

Every B-flat trumpet – Besson, Bach (three), Conn, Holton (two), Benge, and Olds (modern – ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s) that I have owned were capable of being played in “A.” Same with every cornet of mine from the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘80s. My current Edwards tpt is built in B-flat only – top pipe is short.

I once pulled a “C” out to “B” to accommodate a severely out of tune cassette tape player, and, Ghitalla detuned his “C” to “B” to perform the Hummell in the E-flat, band versions.

-Denny

I had a couple of odd sessions several months ago recording small orchestra arrangements of piano rags. About half the parts were for B-flat cornet, the rest for A cornet. It would have been nice if we could have done all of the B-flat tunes in one session and the ones with A parts in the other but there were other musicians with other considerations. I have two Conn 36A cornets from the 1940s (identical except for finish) so I set up one in A, kept the other in B-flat, and used the same mpc on each
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blbaumgarn
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:17 pm    Post subject: Cornet in A Reply with quote

Was Ghitala's C trumpet a Getzen Capri that he loved, as I have heard about or is that an old wives tale. Hope you are all doing well in the middle of the Covid -19. Brian B.
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