The Instruments (A Rough Guide)
Within a traditional British Brass Band you will find a lone Cornet player, tucked away on the back row of the Cornet section, next to the Soprano Cornet player. This player is known as the Repiano Cornet player and they have a very 'hybrid' role within the band structure.
The Repiano Cornet, in itself, does not actually exist, in physical terms it is a normal Bb Cornet. It is the part the player contributes to the music which distinguishes it from the rest of the Cornet bench. The Repiano part can often be found doubling up on the Front Row, or Tutti/Solo Cornet parts as well the Flugel Horn part, but on more frequent occassions these days can have spotlight or distinct parts of its own.
Major Thomas H. Palmatier, Vice President of the North American Brass Band Association and Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Field Band of Washington, DC is noted as describing the Repiano part as "..the 'roving' player of the cornet section. Often used as a solo voice, or doubling the E-flat Soprano Cornet in unison or at the octave, the Repiano is used to add weight to the other cornet parts..", a worthy description..
There is much debate and speculation over how and why the Repiano part came into being in Brass Bands but many believe it is actually a name drawn from Baroque music where Repieno (from the Italian word for 'stuffing') was used to describe the players in a section who were not main soloists (Concertino) when performing a Concerto Grosso, these players (Repieno), simply put, padded out the chords and harmonies of the music while the Soloist performed the main themes.
It is also considered by many that the title 'Repiano' should also be, more accurately, used when describing the 2nd & 3rd Cornet parts in the Cornet Section giving a structure of Soprano, Solo, Tutti, Repiano, 2nd Repiano and 3rd Repiano.
In modern Brass Band music the Repiano part is becoming more and more prominent and is considered to be allocated to the third strongest Cornet player within the section (excluding Soprano Cornet), with the Principal Cornet and their assistant being the two strongest players directly above it. Pieces of music composed these days put more focus on the part, providing the player with their own solo opportunities and music distinct from the other parts.
- Soprano Cornet
- Solo/Tutti Cornet
- 2nd Cornet
- 3rd Cornet
- Flugel Horn