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Valved brass instrument. It evolved in the 1820s from the posthorn. Like the trumpet, it has three valves, but its bore is somewhat more conical. It is a transposing instrument (its music written a tone above the actual sound), usually built in the key of B-flat, though a higher-pitched E-flat instrument is used as well. Its range parallels that of the trumpet. Its agility made it a very popular solo instrument; it often displaced the trumpet in 19th-century orchestras, and it preceded the trumpet in modern dance and jazz bands. Recent developments have made the two instruments very similar, and the cornet's popularity has waned considerably as a result.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cornet, visit Britannica.com.