The flugelhorn is built in the same Bb pitch as many trumpets and cornets. It usually has three piston valves and employs the same fingering system as other brass instruments, but four-piston valve and rotary valve variants also exist. It can thus be played without too much trouble by trumpet and cornet players, though some adaptation to their playing style may be needed. It is usually played with a more deeply conical mouthpiece than either trumpets or cornets (though not as conical as a horn mouthpiece).
Some modern flugelhorns feature a fourth valve that lowers the pitch a perfect fourth (similar to the fourth valve on some euphoniums, tubas, and piccolo trumpets, or the trigger on trombones). This adds a useful low range that, coupled with the flugelhorn's dark sound, extends the instrument's abilities. More often, however, players use the fourth valve in place of the first and third valve combination, which is somewhat sharp (compensated for on trumpets and cornets and some three-valve flugelhorns by a slide for the first or third valve).
The tone is "fatter" and usually regarded as more "mellow" and "dark" than the trumpet or cornet. The sound of the flugelhorn has been described as halfway between a trumpet and a French horn, whereas the cornet's sound is halfway between a trumpet and a flugelhorn. The flugelhorn is as agile as the cornet but more difficult to control in the high register (from approximately written G above the staff), where in general it "slots" or locks onto notes less easily. It is not generally used for aggressive or bright displays as trumpets and cornets often are, but tends more towards a softer and more reflective role.
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