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The cornet is a brass instrument similar to the trumpet but distinguished from it by its conical bore, more compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B♭, though there is also a soprano cornet in E♭ and a cornet in C.

The conical bore of the cornet, in contrast to the cylindrical bore of the trumpet, gives the instrument a warmer, mellower tone than its cousin.

Cornets are the primary instrument used in British-style brass bands which are extremely common in New Zealand.