Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cornet. (1) A brass soprano wind instrument which may be looked on as a modification of the trumpet, and which occupies an intermediate position between the trumpet and the bugle. It possesses three slides for producing sounds other than the open notes, and these three slides are put into operation by three valves, which have given the name of cornet-a-piston in French to the instrument. It was formerly called the cornopean, and crooks were inserted between the mouth-piece and the body of the cornet to alter the pitch, but these are now obsolete. As the instrument is a comparatively modern invention, no provision is made for it in ancient orchestration, but it is much used both in combination and as a solo. Military bands often employ a smaller kind of cornet. The organ sometimes possesses a cornet stop. (2) From Italian cornetto (a small flag), denoting the junior grade of commissioned officers in a cavalry regiment, equivalent to ensign in the infantry, whose special duty it was to carry the standard. At the army changes in 1871 this rank was abolished, the junior grade of officers in the cavalry as in the infantry being called sub-lieutenants.