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Difference Between Trumpet and Cornet

Trumpet vs Cornet

Trumpets and cornets are two musical instruments that belong to the brass family of the orchestra. Many people consider these two instruments as basically the same with slight differences. Their similarities include the same breathing techniques, same valve system, and almost the same design. Both the cornet and the trumpet have the same fingering system and play the same music. Due to this, one instrument can be substituted or interchanged for another in written music.

However, there are differences between the trumpet and cornet that matter, especially the sounds they produce. The trumpet produces bright, sharp, and clear sounds while the cornet makes a mellow and softer sound. These sounds are different due to the instrument’s structure. The cornet is shorter compared to the trumpet as its body is mostly coiled. Some people think that the cornet is the compact version of the trumpet. The cornet also has more curves. The curving of the cornet also plays a role in the resistance when the instrument is played. The trumpet, on the other hand, is longer and slender.

Another difference between the two musical instruments regarding structure is the shape of the bore. Although both instruments have the cylindrical and conical bore, the two instruments differ in the percentage of both. The trumpet’s bore is mostly cylindrical two-thirds and one-third conical. Whereas the situation is inverse with the cornet. It has two-thirds conical and one-third cylindrical. In terms of harmonics, the trumpet’s bore produces odd harmonics. In reverse, the bore of the cornet gives an even harmonics.
In an orchestra, the trumpet provides the rhythm and the fanfares while the cornet supplies the technique and flair.

Both instruments employ the use of a mouthpiece. The trumpet’s mouthpiece has a larger and narrower mouthpiece which makes up for less lip mass. The cornet’s mouthpiece is the direct opposite, it has more lip mass and is bigger and wider.

The trumpet preceded the cornet. The former was developed during the Baroque Period (1650-1759) while the latter arrived a little later, in the 1800s. However, the cornet was the first to adopt the valve system compared to the trumpet.

Both the trumpet and cornet are stored and carried in a case. The maintenance of the instruments includes oiling the valves and greasing the slides.

Music teachers often recommend the cornet for young children or beginner music students. This is mainly due to convenience and to help the student be comfortable with the instrument. However, the trumpet can also replace the cornet depending on the student’s prowess.

Summary:

1.The trumpet and the cornet might almost look the same and sound the same to the untrained ear. They might be interchangeable or confused because they belong to the same section of the orchestra, but there are many differences between the two instruments.

2.The foremost difference is the appearance. The trumpet is longer and has a slender structure while the cornet has a coiled design. If the cornet was stretched, it would have the same length as the trumpet.

3.Another difference is the percentage of conical and cylindrical bores. The trumpet has more cylindrical than conical bores while it is the opposite for the cornet. The cornet has more conical than cylindrical bores.

4.The trumpet delivers a bright and crisp sound while the cornet does a different sound which is mellow and softer. In an orchestra, technique and flare are provided by the cornet and the trumpet brings the rhythm and fanfares.

5.The trumpet and the cornet can be interchanged in sound but not in the written music. Some parts can be played by a cornet only, and the same can also be said with regard to the trumpet.

6.The trumpet existed a long time before the invention of the cornet; however, the cornet already had the valve system when it was created. The trumpet had to adopt the system when it was redesigned.


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