Tubas are part of the brass instrument family and are the instrument with the lowest pitch. They are by far the largest instrument, but the basic techniques used are fundamentally the same across the brass family.
The tuba takes the bass part in an orchestra or band, usually only on one singular instrument.
Tubas are tuned to a number of pitches including F, E♭, C, or B♭. These also all vary in size ranging from 3.7 metres to 5.5 metres.
Tubas are usually played sitting down with the bell facing up and because of this, posture is key. Tubas are also used in marching bands with a strap for support.
Notable tuba pieces include:
- Tuba Concerto - Ralph Vaughan Williams
- Tuba Concerto - John Williams
- Ordner Seg - Oystein Baardsvik
- Fantasy for Tuba - Malcolm Arnold
The tuba is also used as the bass for brass quintets, concert bands, military bands and brass bands. Tubas are also sometimes used in jazz bands.
Types of tuba
- Pitched in C or B♭
- Many professionals use C tubas
- B♭ tubas are used for beginners and in schools
- Pitched in F or E♭
- E♭ tuba played an octave above a contrabass
- F tubas are usually played by professionals and are common in European orchestras
- Pitched in B♭
- One octave higher than a contrabass
- Smaller in size
- Very rare
- By far the largest and lowest tuba, one octave below a contrabass
Tubas in jazz music
Tubas are often used in the place of a double bass, especially for outdoor performances due to the louder acoustics. They are often used for solos, and many double bass players are also able to play the tuba.
There are many accessories you can buy for tubas, including:
- Hard cases
- Soft cases
- Valve oil