The tuba is the largest of the brass instruments. Like he trumpet and trombone, the tuba is distantly related to the buisine, and the more recent serpentand ophicleide. The modern bass tuba was created in 1835 in Berlin, becoming one of the first valved brass instruments. In the latter half of the 19thcentury the bass tuba became commonplace in German orchestras. 


Facts and Features

1)  Modern tubas generally possess four to six valves in order to play a full chromatic scale.

2)  There are different forms of tuba such as the sousaphone (rounded with the bell facing forward), the oval or helicon form (round) and the tuba form (upright with the bell facing upwards). 

3)  The bass and contrabass tubas are the largest and lowest-pitched instruments to be featured in the orchestra. 

4)  The longer the tubing on an instrument, the lower the notes you can play, and the tubing in a tuba can reach lengths of 18 ft (5.5 m). 

5)  The tuba is often used symbolically in music – in orchestras the bass tuba can represent security, strength and also humour. The contrabass tuba often denotes a deep sense of foreboding and solemnness. 

Famous Players

Arnold Jacobs (1915-1998)
Harvey Phillips (1929-2010)
Roger Bobo (1938)
Øystein Baadsvik (1966-)
Carol Jantsch (1985-)

Music to Listen to

Ewald – Brass Quintet No. 1, Op. 5
Prokofiev – Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen
Vaughan Williams – Concerto in f minor
Haddad - Suite for Tuba

Find Out

1)  Name the different types of tubas in existence. 
2)Which tuba is not used in the symphony orchestra?