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cornett

cornett. Renaissance wind instr., spelt usually with double ‘t’ to avoid confusion with the band cornet. Name means ‘little horn’. Heyday approx. 1500–1600. Hybrid form, combining brass cup-mouthpiece technique with woodwind finger technique, and was admired for its versatility of tone: as loud as a tpt., agile as a vn., and flexible as a v. Three varieties, curved, straight, and mute, all in different sizes. Mute prod. an exquisitely soft tone. Curved was most popular form and was used as a virtuoso instr., particularly by Monteverdi in his Vespers and Orfeo. All cornetts were in G with a range of 2 octaves. Cornettino developed for very high parts, pitched in C or D, and there were alto cornetts in F and the large ten. cornett in C. The cornett was displaced by baroque tpt. and baroque ob. See also serpent and ophicleide.

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