Musical instrument: Tuba
A tuba is a massive brass musical instrument that has the lowest sound in the register. Few people know that she is the youngest in her family. With its appearance, the tuba completed the formation of a symphony orchestra, it happened about two hundred ice back. Since then, the composition of the orchestra is unchanged.
The dimensions of the tuba can not fail to impress. If you try to straighten it out, you will get a straight six-meter copper tube. It is not surprising that any musician who plays the tub seems to be a dwarf against the background of the size of the instrument.
Read the history of the tube and many interesting facts about this musical instrument on our page.
The instrument makes a rich and deep sound. As we have said, he is the lowest of the whole brass wind community. However, some musicians can play on the instrument and high notes. It requires high performing skills. The quality of high notes is always easy to understand the level of a particular tuba player.
Tuba has a beautiful sound middle register, within which you can perform quite complex technical passages. This timbre is very similar to trombone, only in a tuba it is in more saturated colors.
The air flow on the tuba is huge, sometimes the performer has to take a breath on every sound. For this reason, the tuba is referred to as orchestral and ensemble instruments, solo is rarely trusted. But lately, composers have broken down these stereotypes and composed concert pieces specifically for her. And they are trying to discover new facets of this “harsh” musical instrument.
Because of their size, a tuba is often considered "clumsy" and sedentary. However, this is not the case. By its technical capabilities, it is in no way inferior to other brass. Want to make sure? Listen to how the tuba copes with rapid rhythms in the famous "Chardash" by V. Monty!
- The beginning of the tuba takes before the onset of the Middle Ages. Even then, the musicians used a similar instrument, which was made of wood and leather.
- Richard Wagner had his own unique tuba. He used her unique sound in his works. In musical circles this instrument has a name - Wagnerovskaya tuba.
- The largest museum of tubs is located in the city of Durham (USA). It stores the entire history of the evolution of this tool and totals about three hundred copies. The museum is located in the house of the Simonetti family. The exposition consists of five rooms where tubas of the most different times are stored - from the origin of the instrument (first half of the XIX century) to the modern ones.
- The record for the number of tubes in one orchestra was established in December 2007 in the city of Anaheim (USA). Then more than a dozen Christmas carols were played simultaneously 502 musicians!
- The largest collection of things one way or another connected with a tuba belongs to the American Ralph Winston Morris, who lives in Cookville (USA). He collected 2286 items related to the instrument. The beginning of the creation of the collection was about forty years ago. Ralph Winston Morrison himself is a music professor and teaches tuba in one of his state’s universities.
- The calendar has the International Day of the Tuba. Around the world it is celebrated on the first Friday of May.
- The largest tuba in the world has a height of almost 2.5 meters. The musician looks next to her a real dwarf.
- The tool is made of a metal alloy, which is made on the basis of zinc and copper. Many musicians joke that a tuba is good to eat. The fact is that copper and zinc are useful vitamins. Therefore, according to tuba, if you eat at least one instrument in your life, health is guaranteed.
- Previously, jazz ensembles used a tuba instead of a double bass. Why did this happen? Some bands performed in the open air. Rain could damage the wooden body of the double bass and degrade the sound of the instrument.
- Tuba is the most expensive instrument from the copper family. For example, a tool from well-known German brands costs something like a new Peugeot or Volkswagen car.
- The demand for tuba is one of the lowest among copper instruments. It gives way to more popular trombones and trumpets. Because of this, the tubes are made entirely by hand.
- In the city of New Orleans (USA) the number of tubes per capita is the highest than anywhere else on the globe.
- Our favorite children's cartoon hero Dunno was just a tubist.
Varieties and designs
Many, listening to the sounds of the tuba, are surprised how such a deep and soft timbre comes from such a large and heavy instrument. So it turns out thanks to a unique design. The tuba has a larger tube, a bowl-shaped mouthpiece and a wide mouth.
Tuba has two main varieties. The first is a classic tuba, which contains four types of instrument, dividing according to their own structure. The second is the Suzofon.
This instrument is used in a symphony orchestra and plays it mostly sitting. A tubist holds the instrument vertically during the game, unlike a trumpet and a trombone. On the tube you can play and standing, but with the obligatory support in the form of a strap.
The classic tuba has hardly changed since the day it was published. The tool is cast from brass. Tuba has a large bell up to 75 centimeters in diameter. On average, this tool has four valve-valves. However, there are more - up to six. Three valves reduce the sound produced by half, one and a half tone. The last fourth valve lowers the quart interval.
In addition to tubes with valves, the masters of this tool produce tubes and pumps. The latter type differs from others in its technical capabilities. Such tubes are most popular in jazz ensembles.
In most cases, the body of the tube consists of the following parts: the main tube, the mouthpiece in the shape of a bowl, valves, crowns and a socket. Like all copper tools, the tube has conical and cylindrical tubes. Their length depends on the pitch of the tool.
It is a brass wind instrument with valves that does not differ from a classical tube in range and fingering. However, there are differences in appearance. The trumpet of the sousaphone is above the head of the tubist and looks forward. This feature gives the sound additional brightness. The valves on the instrument are located above the waist of the musician directly in front of him. The weight of the sousaphone falls on one shoulder of the musician.
Most often the socket can be separated from the tool itself. This feature gives the sousaphone compactness during transportation. If you abstract from the appearance of the tool, then constructively it almost does not differ from the classical model. Sousaphone is shaped so that the tubist can easily carry the instrument or march with it.
The approximate weight of this type of tuba is about ten kilograms.
R. Vaughan-Williams - Concert for tuba and f-moll orchestra (listen)
P. Hindemith - Sonata for tuba and piano (listen)
A. Lebedev - Concert for tuba (listen)
Application and Repertoire
The invention of the tube is connected with the need to strengthen the bass base in the wind and symphony orchestras. As a rule, one tuba player plays in the latter. The number of tubes in a brass band can go up to four.
Tuba is indispensable in jazz music. Without this instrument, it is impossible to imagine the performance of jazz on the street. Also tuba is always present in brass bands. Recently, ensembles consisting exclusively of tuba players have become increasingly popular.
In today's understanding, Richard Wagner demonstrated a tuba in a symphony orchestra for the first time in 1843. The instrument debuted as part of his orchestra at the premiere of the opera The Flying Dutchman. Then many world-famous composers used the tuba in their works - these are the symphonies of Dmitry Shostakovich, the ballet Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky, the Gogol suite by Alfred Schnittke, and the Planet by Gustav Holst, and the fifth symphony by Sergei Prokofiev, and "American in Paris" by George Gershwin and "Symphonic Metamorphosis" by Paul Hindemith, and many other classic works. Tuba, having joined the symphony orchestra, completed its formation.
However, many composers and musicians believe that the tuba is more than just a bass instrument in ensembles and orchestras. Composers such as Paul Hindemith, Alexander Harutyunyan, Alexey Lebedev, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Franz Schmidt, Eduard Gregson, Julian Barnes, Joseph Tal, Kalevi Aho and many others wrote solo works for this instrument.
Huge popularity has no tuba. However, without it, one cannot imagine the performance of many well-known works by brass or symphony orchestras. It is understandable - the bass is the basis of the harmony of the work.
Tubes are popularized by many talented musicians. The best among them today are Eystein Bodsvik, John Van Houten, Howard Johnson, Roger Bobo, John White and Dave Bargeron. They all play in different styles - mostly classical and jazz.
History of creation
The life path of the modern tuba began in the XIX century. Her ancestor is an uncle bass instrument. But the musicians didn’t like it because of the scarce technical possibilities. Also, not everyone liked the bass sound of this brass wind instrument. The musicians said that it was hard for them to play on an off-line. Yes, and with the recording of notes, many experienced problems.
The inventor of the modern tuba is the German designers Johan Gottfried Moritz and Wilhelm Friedrich Wiprecht. They patented the tool in 1835. For completeness, we must admit that the tuba of that time looked different than the current one. The world-famous Adolphe Sachs brought it to its present form, and thanks to him the instrument became on a par with the rest, and without a tuba it is no longer possible to imagine a symphony or brass band. The tuba was recognized as a classic brass wind instrument in 1880.
Sousaphone appeared a little later. It was invented by John Souza. Sousaphone is a modern version of the bass-helicon, which was first used in the US military band. However, he did not get accustomed there because of his specific sound. The helicon has a small bell from which the sound goes to the side. Therefore, it became necessary to invent a new instrument for the military orchestra, which later became a sousaphone. It originates from the end of the XIX century.
Tuba is a unique instrument and a full member of modern orchestras. Due to its low sound, it is very popular with composers who are not afraid to compose for her and solo compositions. Agree, without a tuba today it’s hard to imagine a full-fledged orchestra concert. This rather young instrument came to music seriously and for a long time.