cornet, brass wind musical instrument, created in France about 1830 by adding valves to the post horn. It is usually in B flat and is the same size as the B flat trumpet, but has a more conical bore. The cornet, a transposing instrument, has a less brilliant tone but greater agility than the trumpet. It has long been a standard instrument in bands. In the orchestra, the cornet is used with the trumpet. It was used extensively in jazz in the early 20th cent. It should not be confused with the cornett, an instrument of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which used a cup mouthpiece on a wooden or ivory body supplied with fingerholes similar to those on woodwinds. A bass cornett was used until the early 19th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.