Soprano Cornetti

The "standard" cornetto. Whenever we speak about "cornetto" we usually mean the soprano cornetto, a curved instrument tuned in G and octagonal on the outside.

The soprano cornetto is the most versatile instrument of the family, the one with more repertoire and the best choice for beginners as well.

Available in several standard pitches (440, 466, 492 & 523 Hz.) as well as non standard ones, several shapes, two colours and with two possible decorations.

Original soprano instruments are mostly tuned around A=466 Hz. or higher. There are several museum instruments tuned around A=492 Hz. and A=523 Hz. as well, which makes a lot of sense when we study the tuning of the renaissance organs and the way the different families of instruments played together.

There are no original soprano instruments in A=440 Hz. nor A=415 Hz. This pitch -for the cornetto- is a modern invention and the few surviving instruments around that length were actually alto instruments (in F) at a higher pitch. The tradition of having both the organs and the wind instruments tuned at high pitches carried on after the renaissance. Even some Bach cantatas which make use of wind instruments are written in two different tonalities (one for the winds and one for the rest) in order to make the different pitches match together.

Modern practicality requires us to play at A=440 hz. quite often. The compromised modern version of the cornetto at this pitch is very functional but not as bright nor responsive as the original ones at higher pitches (which are also more comfortable for the hands). We encourage everyone to try the original pitches and experience the cornetto at its most.

Download soprano cornetto fingering chart as PDF

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