The Cornetts are a hybrid instrument, played with a small trumpet style mouthpiece but fingered like a recorder or shawm. The curved cornetts are carved from two pieces of wood and covered with parchment. Straight and mute cornetts are turned on a lathe the latter having the mouthpiece turned into the end of the instrument.
The cornetto was used widely to accompany the voices but was also a virtuoso instrument able to fast and florid 'passagi'.
They come in three main sizes, the treble, the double curved tenor and the small cornettino.
The Sackbuts are the forerunner of the trombone and indeed in Italy they were known as the trombone. Made from brass with a double slide the trombone has changed very little from then to now.
It was used to accompany voice, as a solo instrument and also in 'consorts' with the shawms due to their volume and projection.
They come in three main sizes, alto, tenor and bass.
The Trumpets serve two functions. Firstly as a signaling tool and secondly, as players developed their skills, an art instrument.
The Shawms are double reed instruments and were the forerunner of the oboe. indeed they were know as hoboyes in the english court.
They were a constant fixture in the english musical court and the town waites with their strong sound.
They come in an array of sizes from soprano through the the bass and even great bass.
The Curtal is another double reed instrument which has two parallel bores halving the length of the instrument making it a little more practical than the bass shawms.
The Curtal, also called dulcian, is the precursor to the bassoon however their timelines overlap with the curtal being used for the accompaniment of voices.
The bass is most common however they come in a variety of sizes both smaller and larger.
Although we are primarily a cornett and sackbut ensemble we also perform on and with other instruments of the time, some of which are listed below.