Interesting Facts About Tubas

By Paul Cartmell

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.

History

Prussian Wilhelm Wieprecht and German Johann Gottfried patented the tuba in the key of F in Prussia in 1835.

Keys

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.

Size

The tuba is made of around 16 feet of tubing and commonly has three or four valves.

Playing

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.

Wagner

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.

About the Author

Paul Cartmell began his career as a writer for documentaries and fictional films in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Working in documentary journalism, Cartmell wrote about a wide variety of subjects including racism in professional sports. Cartmell attended the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University, gaining degrees in journalism and film studies.