index image

About Cornetts
    The cornett was the leading treble wind instrument of the second half of the 16th century and the early 17th century.  As the recognized instrument of the wind virtuoso, the cornett was used in music of every kind: church, state and social. Those of us privileged to hear it in Europe's ancient cathedrals understand immediately what Mersenne meant by comparing the cornett’s tone with a ray of sunshine penetrating the gloom and darkness.

    One need only listen to Italian sonatas from the time of Monteverdi to experience the incredible, unique beauty and flexibility of the cornett as a solo instrument.  It is unexcelled, too, for ensemble playing. 

Cornett and sackbut (Renaissance trombone) are the perfect, often prescribed combination for German and Italian music of the 16th and 17th centuries.  As inventories from the times attest, the deeper-voiced cornetts  alto, tenor and bass  were also in common use. 

 The cornett became generally extinct by the end of the 18th century.  However, through the dedication of modern makers and virtuoso players, the instrument is gradually reasserting its role among others of this period. 

Please see our bibliography of references , articles, our Audio/Visual Gallery and links page for further information.