Cornet. (1) [formerly also cornopean; Fr. comet ri pistons; Ger. Kornett; It. cornetta; Sp. corneta, cornetin] A soprano brass instrument very similar to the modern trumpet but having a slightly more conical bore [see ill. under Brass instruments]. Its sound is somewhat more mellow than that of the trumpet (depending on the player). It is used in European and American military, community, and school bands.
The cornet first appeared in France about 1828 when valves were applied to the corner simple or *posthorn. The instrument was built in C with *shanks and *crooks for most keys down to D. A deep conical *mouthpiece was used at first, as the instrument was originally intended for horn players. The lower crooks soon fell into disuse, however and with a shallower mouthpiece the cornet became the leading voice and soloist for many kinds of bands. Its agility and flexibility were exploited in brilliant popular solos during the last half of the 19th century. In the 1920s, it was largely replaced by the trumpet in jazz and popular music. Its written range is from f# to c" or higher, sounding a whole tone lower on the common Bb instrument. The soprano Eb cornet has been widely used as a solo Instrument and in *brass bands.
Shank - A relatively short, straight piece of tubing that can be inserted in a brass instrument to receive the mouthpiece and alter the instrument's fundamental pitch.
Crook - (1) [Fr. corps de rechange; Ger. Aufsatzbogen, Stimmbogen; It. ritorto; Sp. tonillo, cuerpo de recambio] A curved segment of tubing that can be inserted into a brass instrument, especially a *natural horn or trumpet, in order to alter its fundamental pitch.
Mouthpiece [Fr. embouchure (of brasses), bec (of single reeds); Ger. Mundstuck (of brasses), Schnabel (of single reeds); It. bocchino; Sp. boquilla]. That part of a wind instrument that forms the juncture of the instrument with the player's mouth. Brass instrument mouthpieces are made of brass and are roughly bell-shaped. Three principal components influence tone quality; the cavity for the lips, which is larger or smaller according to the range and tone of the instrument; the throat at the bottom of this cavity; and the back bore leading from the throat to the instrument. A shallow, cup-shaped cavity with a sharp-edged throat, as in a trumpet mouthpiece, tends to produce brighter sounds, spicy *harmonics. A deeper, funnel-shaped cavity with little or no throat or back bore, as in the French horn mouthpiece, encourages a smooth and mellow sound with few harmonics.
Brass band - An ensemble composed entirely of brass instruments; especially one consisting of 24 or 25 players including 1 Eb soprano cornet; 1 *repiano, 4 or 5 solo, 2 second, and 1 or 2 third Bb cornets; 1 Bb flugelhorn; 3 Eb tenor horns (solo, first, and second); 2 Bb baritones (first and second); 2 Bb euphoniums; 2 Bb tenor trombones (first and second); 1 Bb bass trombone; 2 Eb basses; and 2 BBb basses. Percussion Instruments are sometimes added. Such bands came to prominence in the 1830s not only as military bands, especially for cavalry units, but also as groups of amateurs. Instrumentation varied, led through the 19th century and often included various types of *saxhorn and keyed instruments such as the *ophicleide. In Great Britain, where the tradition of such bands has remained strong, they have often been established as part of recreational and educational programs offered by industry, religious groups, and schools. The Salvation Army has played an especially prominent role in this tradition. Festivals and contests for ensembles with the instrumentation de scribed above continue to be held. In the U.S., such bands were popular through the mid-19th century but began to decline thereafter in favor of ensemble that mixed brass and reed instruments, as did the bands of John Philip Sousa. See also Symphonic band.
Bibl.: Harold C. Hind, The Brass Band (London:
Hawkes, 1934; rev. ed., 1952). John F. Russell and John H. Elliot, The Brass Band Movement (London: Dent, 1936). Denis Wright, Scoring for Brass Band (Colne, Lanes.: J Duckworth, 1935; 4th ed., London: Baker 1967). Id., The Brass Band Conductor (Colne, Lanes.: J Duckworth, 1948). Arthur R. Taylor, Labour and Lover An Oral History of the Brass Band Movement (London: Elm Tree Bks 1983).