Difference Between Trumpet and Cornet

Trumpet vs Cornet

Trumpet and cornet are members of the brass instruments family, and the way two of them are made, it is hard to tell the difference between the two for a beginner, let alone by a novice. Even to ears that have not heard the two instruments separately, it is hard to tell which sound comes from which instrument. As far as playing written music is concerned, the two instruments are identical as they play with the same part and in the same key. Let us find out the differences.


Trumpet is an old musical instrument from the brass family that was invented during the renaissance period. If you look at the trumpet, you will find that the bore diameter remains the same throughout the instrument until you get to the bell of the brass instrument. This tubing is also straight, and because of these two features, the sound produced by a trumpet is clear and bright. For the last 60 years, trumpets have been a dominant instrument in all bands and orchestra, all across America.


It goes to the credit of French musician J. B. Arban to have invented and popularized cornet. The manner in which he played cornet along side flute and violin in any performance made cornet very popular brass instrument. This feature of cornet is made use of in musical compositions where the two of them are used at the same time. Whereas cornet part makes use of technique and flair, it is the trumpet part that takes care of rhythm and music. The tubing in case of cornet is also seen increasing in diameter, and it looks as having been wound in a compact manner. This is precisely why cornet is not as free flowing than a trumpet. Because of extra turns, a player feels extra resistance while playing a cornet. Because of these changes, the sound coming out of cornet is mellow and this makes it a preferred choice of military bands.


What is the difference between Trumpet and Cornet?

• Cornet has conical tubing while the tubing of trumpet is cylindrical.

• Cornet has a more compact wound than trumpet which means extra effort is required to play music over cornet.

• Trumpet is easy to carry and maintain as it is kept in two pieces, in a box that can be easily carried.

• Trumpet is slightly longer than cornet and is also a bit more slender.

• Cornet is mellower in sound than trumpet though trumpet is more clear in sound.