The cornett looks like a woodwind instrument but has a mellow trumpet-like sound to it. This is due to the fact that although it is made of wood and similar to a recorder, it has a small trumpet-style mouthpiece . The wood was often carved as two halves, glued together and covered in leather. The cornett appeared in two different shapes, straight and curved. The curved shape helps players reach all the finger holes, without stretching too far. Like many other instruments popular in the Renaissance period, it was also made in different sizes – treble , small treble (sometimes called the cornettino) and tenor, but the treble instrument was most common.

The cornett was a virtuoso instrument, much favoured from approximately 1550-1650, and cornett players were paid a lot of money to travel to different courts and play music popular at the time.

Video: Murray Campbell plays a cornett from the 17th century
and discusses the instrument.

Video: Murray Campbell discusses the 17th century cornett (3189).