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Facts about Tuba

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Tubas have been used in jazz since the genre's beginning.

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A tuba, with its tubing wrapped for placing the instrument on the player's lap, is usually called either a tuba or concert tuba.

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Most professionals (and those trained or training to be professionals) in the U.S. play CC tubas, but most also are trained in proficiency on all four pitches of tubas.

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The lowest pitched tubas are the contrabass tubas, pitched in C or B-flat; (referred to as CC and BB-flat tubas respectively, based on a traditional distortion of a now-obsolete octave naming convention).

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Tubas are considered to be conical in shape as the bore of their tubing steadily increases in diameter along its length, from the mouthpiece to the bell.

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The tuba (usually bass tuba pitched in E?) would provide a walking bass similar to that of a double bass, but with a larger range.

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Some believe that the external finish of the tuba can play an important role in the tone production, though this has never been objectively measured.

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Within the brass section, the four voices consist of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tuba.

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Tubas are found in various pitches, most commonly in F, E?, CC, or B? in "brass band" pitching.

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The tuba has also played a large role in ragtime music, and in big band music.

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Tubas are also used in concert bands, marching bands, and in drum and bugle (and drum and brass) corps.

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The sixth valve is commonly tuned as a flat half step, allowing the F tuba to play low G as 1-4-5-6 and low G-flat as 1-2-4-5-6.

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The euphonium is sometimes referred to as a tenor tuba, and is pitched one octave higher (in B-flat) than the BB-flat contrabass tuba.

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Many jazz bands actually use a sousaphone, commonly but technically incorrectly called a "tuba" in this context.

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The French C tuba was the standard instrument in French orchestras until overtaken by F and C contrabass tubas since the Second World War.

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Tubas come in both piston and rotary valve models.

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Bass clef music for tuba is usually in concert pitch.

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Drum and bugle corps players, however, use marching tubas, which in this context are referred to as contras.

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Rotary valves are based on a design that is derived from the Berlinerpumpen used on the very first bass tuba patented by Wilhelm Wieprecht in 1835.

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Tubas generally have from three to six valves, though some rare exceptions exist.

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Most marching bands opt for the sousaphone, an instrument which is easier to carry and almost always cheaper than a true marching tuba.

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Many younger players start out with an E-flat tuba, and the BB-flat tuba is still the standard adult amateur instrument in the United States.

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Another notable group is the Modern Jazz Tuba Project, founded by R. Winston Morris, which consists entirely of tubas and euphoniums with rhythm section.

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The tuba is the largest and lowest pitched of the brass instruments.

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In British style brass bands, both E? and B? tubas are used and are normally referred to as basses.

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The term "tenor tuba" is often used more specifically, in reference to B-flat rotary-valved tuba pitched in the same octave as euphonium.

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The tuba represents the bass "voice" of the traditional brass section.

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Consequently, the tuba is generally treated as a transposing instrument when it is written for in the treble clef, but not in the bass clef.

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Some tubas are capable of being converted into a marching style, known as "marching tubas."

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Some piston-valved tubas have a compensating system to allow accurate tuning when using several valves in combination, simplifying fingering and removing the need to constantly adjust slide positions.

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Hence, in orchestral composition, the tuba, along with bassoons (reeds) and contrabasses (strings) are the instruments that provide the harmonic underpinning for triadic harmony.

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The third valve is long enough to lower the pitch of a B? tuba by three semitones, but it is not long enough to lower the pitch of an A? tuba by three semitones.

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Later, in the 1950s, British musician Gerard Hoffnung commissioned the London firm of Paxman to create a subcontrabass tuba for use in his comedic music festivals.

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One much-debated example of such application for orchestral tuba players in the U.S. is the Byd?o movement in Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

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Among more advanced players, four and five valve tubas are by far the most common choices, with six valve tubas being relatively rare except for F tubas intended to be used by European orchestral performers.

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Some marching tubas are made only for marching, and cannot be converted into a concert model.

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Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz was the first major work orchestrated for tuba.

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In CC tubas with five valves, the fifth valve may be tuned as a flat whole step or as a minor third depending on the instrument.

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The tuba is then usually rested on the left shoulder (although some tubas allow use of the right shoulder), with the bell facing directly in front of the player.

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Various concertos have been written for the tuba by numerous notable composers, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edward Gregson, John Williams, Alexander Arutiunian and Bruce Broughton.

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An orchestra usually has a single tuba, serving as the bass of the brass section, though its versatility means it can double as reinforcement for the strings and woodwinds, or increasingly as a solo instrument.

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Tubas have recently found popularity with the rise of Tex-Mex and similar music, where they compete with the bass guitarrŅƒn and electric bass guitar.

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Standard tubas can also be played while standing, with the use of a strap which is joined to the tuba using two rings.

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Tubas are usually featured in a supporting role, although it is not uncommon for them to take solos.

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Tubas are generally finished in raw brass, lacquered brass, or silver-plated brass.

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The next smallest tubas are the bass tubas, pitched in F or E-flat (a fourth above the contrabass tubas).

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Many younger players start out with an E-flat tuba, and the BB-flat tuba is still the standard adult amateur instrument in the United States.

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