Bass or Tuba?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bariwizard, Dec 13, 2010.


Bass or Tuba?

  1. Bass

    46 vote(s)
  2. Tuba

    43 vote(s)
  1. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    After another heated debate with the fat blokes at the back of the band we finally settled on the compromise of " bass-tuba", but I would like to know what fellow tmp-ers think. Should we call them basses/bass players or tubas/ tubists?
  2. kernow tuba

    kernow tuba New Member

    The Instrument is a Tuba?? So they should be called tuba players!!
  3. Al

    Al Member


    Nice thread btw.
  4. davidwalton

    davidwalton Member

    Neither are strictly correct on their own.

    Tuba = Trumpet or Horn. (Latin)
    Bass = Pitch.

    One should therefore say 'Bass Tuba' to be most correct, however I would normally describe them as Eb or Bb Basses in Brass Band.
  5. defnotsimon

    defnotsimon Member

    The instrument is certainly a tuba. Your compromise of bass-tuba is probably more wrong as that would be actually describing Eb and F tubas, which are known as bass tubas as opposed to Euphoniums which are tenor tubas and C and Bb tubas which are contrabass tuba.

    The parts in a brass band are certainly called Eb and Bb bass but I think that we should refer to old march cards and call them Bombardon and Kontrabass!

    Also not all bass players are fat. I am living and breathing proof of that!
  6. Ali

    Ali Member

    The eb is always known as a tuba outside of brass bands but it tells us what they are at the top right of our music. And I know of some top class players who go mental when you refer to the BBb as a tuba. I'm a bass player, always have been always will be!!!!!!
  7. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    To my mind, the instrument I play is a contrabass tuba in Bb, while the teeny-weeny high-pitched thing played by my colleague on my left ;) is a bass tuba in Eb.
    The band parts we are playing are Bb bass and Eb bass respectively, and in a purely brass band context we refer to the instruments as "BBb bass" or "double-B" and "EEb bass" - the extra letter in each case owing to the wide bore of the instrument. I wouldn't, for instance, refer to a "pocket" Bb bass as a "BBb".
    Hope this makes sense... :confused:
  8. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Interesting. I think of the instruments as tubas these days, but in brass bands we have the parts tranposed for specific instruments ie Eb and Bb, whereas orchestral tuba parts are concert pitch and you can choose what instrument you'd like to play the part on. So I suppose it makes sense to advertise for an EEb or BBb player in a brass band. I do like the old names though - bombardon and monstre bass.
  9. Al

    Al Member

    All bass players are fat. It is the law.
  10. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I think the simple answer is that as the lowest of the trombones is a bass trombone and not a tuba trombone, we must therefore play basses.

    A tuba is a transposing instrument, and we as a rule do not transpose. Some of us do, as we have to cover for our colleagues from time to time, but this would be the exception rather than the rule.

    Bass it is then.

    My signature is a play on words, and not a statement of fact.

    See previous post about Tuba being Latin for Trumpet
  11. Eb master

    Eb master Member

    you cant trust a skinny bass player. I have to go with being a bass player as being a tuba player seems a bit poncy
  12. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    My bands were never posh enough to have tubas, so my instrument was an E Flat Bass, and my mate played a Double B.
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I think the use of "Basses" comes from when ensembles were referred to in terms of a choir. Hence why we have tenor horns and baritone horns. Cornets and soprano cornets. Tenor trombones and a bass trombone.

    If you consider a (probably over-simplified) structure of a brass band, we have a soprano line (Front row and sop) second soprano line (rep, 2nds and 3rds) then a sort of combined alto-tenor line (Horns, baris) a line that overlaps from tenor onto bass (Trombones) and a bass section (Basses.) Where euphs can end up playing anywhere from Alto to bass.

    'Basses' in the context of a brass band refers only to the role the instrument fulfils within the ensemble, which is very different to the role a Tuba fulfils in an orchestra. I've spent my time developing as a brass band bass player, so my skill-set is very different from that of an orchestral tuba player. I don't like to think I'm any better than an orchestral player of the same competence, but nor do I consider what I have learned to be intrinsically worse simply because I learnt it in a brass band. It's merely a different approach to the instrument.

    Yes, the instruments themselves are Tubas, but to refer to them as such is no more accurate than referring to 'singers' in a choir. For these reasons, I think 'Basses' is the most accurate term - notwithstanding that when one uses the term 'Tubas' one also includes the euphonium, which is a Tenor tuba.
  14. defnotsimon

    defnotsimon Member

    My 10 stone frame would like to disagree!
  15. Mattytheshark

    Mattytheshark Member

    I think tuba. But I'm a trombone player so what do I know?!

    The latin 'tuba' as people quite rightly say means trumpet. Tubas as we know them (ie a 'bass') weren't invented then though so I suppose I'm adding weight to reasons why they should be called basses! Perhaps the latin 'tuba' was used to describe all brass instruments? That would explain Mozart writing the 'Tuba Mirum' (the trumpet shall sound) from the Requiem for tenor trombone solo. Just thinking aloud really - any thoughts?
  16. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    Most of the time I call it a "bass", but when I'm at school I call it a "tuba"
  17. Brassbones

    Brassbones Member

    In our banding clique they are basses (and euphoniums), for everyone else they are tubas (and tenor tubas). I say tuba, but I know a lot of "bass players" think it’s pretentious to call yourself a “tuba player”, then again a lot of bass players think using words of more than one syllable is pretentious! (only kidding boys :))
  18. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    If you say you are a bass player when you are in a brass band social environment, everyone knows what you mean, but if you were in non brass company, they could mistakenly assume you played bass guitar or string bass.

    If you say you play the tuba; most non banding people will immediately conjure up an image of a large brass instrument, which is nearer the mark.

    Therefore, amongst "Banders" I refer to myself as a bass player.
    I tell non banders that I play the tuba.

    Strangely, I just don't like the description "Tubist", I prefer "Tuba player"

    Pop bass guitar players and drummers who call themselves "Bassists" and "Drummists" make me grind my teeth !!

    - Mr Wilx
  19. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    if you can read the bass clef (not just add sharps and read as treble clef) you are a tuba player, if you can only read transposed treble clef you are a bass player. :)

    the instrument is a tuba, in Eb, Bb, C or F and that is that, a "bass" is either a big stringed instrunemt or an electric guitar, to describe anyother instrument as a bass just does not make sense.
    One of my cornet playing colleagues (and what could he know about tubas) suggests that using the word tuba player implies a level of musicianship that bass player does not, I wonder if there is some inverted snobbery here, especially if brass band player regard orchestral brass players as "poncy".

    For myself, I play the tuba in a brass band, as well as in an orchestra and a brass ensemble.
  20. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    Just you watch it Mate !!!

    - Mr Wilx

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