Thursday, December 14, 2006

If I ran the orchestra (1)

After a small holiday (jaw, dentist, no picnic, no lightning), I've started practicing cornetto again. It's a fantastic instrument, if very difficult to control, but when matched with the right repertoire - especially long lines with lots of stepwise motion - it is unmatched among instruments in its vocal character.


Scott said...


Elaine Fine said...

I have a friend (I play in a Renaissance group with him) who just bought a cornetto, and I got a chance to try it. My friend is a French Horn player, and even he had a difficult time getting a good sound out of it at first. But after a little practice he makes the instrument sound sweet. (I could barely get a sound out of it.)

I did notice that the instrument doesn't really blend with anything except another cornetto.

Daniel Wolf said...


The cornetto blends well with voices, sackbuts (the best example may be in the German Posaunen-Chor tradition), and as a soloist with strings and continuo. In quieter ensembles, the straight or mute cornetto appears to have been preferable (c.f. Lassus's lists of instruments in use in Munich), but I've never found a decent instrument to try it out myself. For good examples of the cornetto in ensemble, try either the Monteverdi Vespers or the Locke _Music For his Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts_.