il Cornetto

Un rayon de soleil...
De gli Stromenti di fiato il piu eccellente...
Por ser algo curvo...

One of the most beloved instruments of the Renaissance and the eraly Barroc Periods, the Cornett was well apreciated as a virtuoso instrument, the soprano voice of the sackbuts ensemble and the best colla parte instrument, for its sound was thought to be, of all instruments, the nearest to the human voice.

The Cornett is a very special wind intrument, for it has a mixture of construction techniques. It is made of wood and has fingerholes like every wood wind instrument, but the sound is produced with a mouthpiece like a brass instrument.

Cornetts can be curved, straight or mute.  We find also different sizes, like other instrument families, named consorts, of the Renaissance Period. Let's have a quick look to all these tipes and varieties:

Curved Cornett

Numbers 5, 6 & 7 on the picture below. 

The most extended and used in its time and nowadays. It is made on two halves that are glued toghether and then it's wraped with leather. A mouthpiece is added on the top.

Straight Cornet

Numbers 8 & 9 on the picture below.

Mostly used in Germany and other Central Europe Countries, this kind of Cornett is made in one piece using a winch. It can be leather-covered, but it's not essencial. A mouthpiece is added on the top.

Mute Cornett

2nd, 3rd & 4th instruments from the left on the picture below.

Aslo made in one piece using a winch, but there's no addition of a mouthpiece asit is already carved on the top of the instrument's body. This provides a more resonating yet soft sound.


Number 7 on the picture. Range: D4-D5.

Mostly used in Central Europe, as a Sopran instrument in both vocal & instrumental music.

Soprano and Alto

Number 6 (curved), numbers 8 & 9 (straight) & the 2nd & 3rd instruments (mute) in the picture above. Range: A3-D5 on the soprano, G3-G5 on the alto.

Sopran Cornetts were and are the most extended and used kind of Cornett. Used to play both vocal & instrumental music, they were highly appreciated for their sound as well as their agility, characteristic of which players took advantage of to play the most varied and virtuous dimiutions. Alto Cornetts were mostly used as a colla parte instrument.


Number 5 (curved) &  the 4th instrument from the left in the picture above. Range: C2/D2-D4.

Mostly used in Italy as the Alto part of a Cornetts abd Sackbutts Consort to play vocal music.