The roots of the tuba can be traced back to Medieval times when an instrument similar to the tuba was made from leather and wood. The modern tuba is the newest member of the brass family used in the Western orchestra.
Prussian Wilhelm Wieprecht and German Johann Gottfried patented the tuba in the key of F in Prussia in 1835.
Tubas come in different keys for use in different situations. For example, tubas in the keys of F and C are most commonly used in orchestras, while those in E flat and B flat are usually used in marching and brass bands.
The tuba is made of around 16 feet of tubing and commonly has three or four valves.
To play the tuba, a player holds his lips against the cupped mouthpiece and blows air into the instrument. The pitch of the instrument is altered by opening and closing the lips as they vibrate.
One of the champions of the tuba was German composer Richard Wagner, who wanted to use the unique sound of the instrument. Wagner championed a number of early versions of the tuba, including the serpent.
International Tuba Day
The first Friday in May is International Tuba Day, which celebrates tubists around the world.