Is this tuba part ok?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Andrew Liddell, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Ah, I didn't mean "we" as in "my band", I meant it as in "our banding movement". I've modified the post now to reflect this.

    There are instrumental forums out there. The one linked here seems to be where the tuba traffic is.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
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  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the clarification. Though I dont doubt that it happens in some places I did think it unusual that folk within a band would roll up their sleeves and help each other - or indeed accept help.

    Yes, the Tuba forum, I did suggest that one to Andrew early on in the thread. My guess is that the responses that he got here are no worse than he would have got there, and very possibly more useful because of the spread of people here and it being a mostly UK based membership.
    mikelyons likes this.
  3. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    The Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto which is set for Grade 8 (and has been for many years) covers a wider range (although slightly more sympathetically). I have taught several teenage students through this wonderful piece over the years.
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  4. Andrew Liddell

    Andrew Liddell New Member

    Interesting posts ... I didn't expect my question to generate such an extensive discussion!

    Apologies if this was not put in the most appropriate forum. It is an orchestral piece, definitely not brass band, just to be clear.

    Ravel and Stravinsky extracts are interesting! I do like the sound of the tuba in this high range. Don't know the Vaughan Williams piece though, I'll have to give it a listen sometime.
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  5. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    The Vaughan Williams is wonderful but then I love the music of Vaughan Williams...
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  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    While I'm in the groove of looking out recordings for threads, here's some relevant sounds to peruse:
    Rite of Spring (that entry) on period instruments including what look like authentically small old French tubas in the wide orchestra shots
    Rite of Spring (that entry) from a pro US orchestra with what sounds like a big modern tuba, likely a CC
    While the part is within the texture, note that the player in the second recording doesn't make a wonderful job of the passage, principally on intonation grounds. That's a pro; it's very hard writing, coming in so forcefully without a preparatory note so high. Much easier-sounding in the first version.

    Bydlo played beautifully on what looks to be an F tuba. Note that the player appears to have put their regular instrument (maybe a CC?) aside for the movement.
    Bydlo on a German baryton (or something similar) in euphonium Bb
    Bydlo on a euphonium. Not sure what your brass playing knowledge is, Andrew L? In case it isn't already completely obvious (apologies if it is) euph = tenor tuba, pretty close. I've played this piece in amateur orchestras on a number of occasions. On all but one of those occasions, I picked up a euph from the bass trombone seat to put the solo in. On the exception, the orchestra paid for a music college student to play the whole part on an Eb tuba; he was fine in rehearsal, but missed every single top note in the solo in performance; the poor chap was so embarrassed.

    And here's a very much less polished player demonstrating that one can reach these notes even on a BBb tuba, although tuning and stability both become too much of a challenge for him to overcome to a satisfactory performance standard:
    Kids, don't try this at home!

    Basically, this writing is beautiful, but potentially problematic even for pros if written unsympathetically. Beware this kind of register in your own writing.

    There are various recordings of the RVW concerto online. Here's James Gourlay, playing to my ears on an Eb tuba (compare minor change in tone quality between low F and Eb at the end of the first movement). The cadenza featuring the top note of concert Ab (brass band Eb bass super F) begins here.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
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  7. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    I don't think you have anything to apologise for and if you help to raise the awareness of the possibilities of tuba playing in other areas as well as brass banding, that's a good thing.
  8. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    It would be interesting to know if the piece (or at least the passage) has been tried and what the results are.
    Any update ?
    mikelyons and 2nd tenor like this.
  9. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'm with Andrew on this one. I would like to know how it was received by your tubists.
  10. Andrew Liddell

    Andrew Liddell New Member

    We won't start rehearsing for another couple of weeks I'm afraid. I'll let you know!
  11. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Fair enough - but please let us know when you have had a go at it !
    2nd tenor likes this.
  12. To add to the excellent set of examples provided by Dave above, as a hobbying tubist (with brass bands, wind bands and orchestras) I would put forward Bruckner's 4th symphony: (Bass)tuba part has a range from the Eb above middle C (written concert, so 'top' C on an EEb or 'super' F on a BBb) to the C three below middle C (again concert, so the A below 'pedal' C on an EEb or a bottom D on a BBb). The written high Eb is immediately preceded by a written Bb in the stave (so a leap of an octave and a fourth - an 11th? - at reasonable speed). To put it another way, the range extends a semitone higher and a tone lower than written into the parts here. Bruckner can in no way be considered part of the 'modern' tuba repertoire, and is regularly played by youth orchestras all over the place. In other words, I'm with those that see nothing overly crazy written here although agree that there is an amount of difficulty to both parts.

    Having had a bash though the parts provided earlier, I'd say they were ultimately very playable by a determined amateur. Anyone even remotely better than that wouldn't even blink, as I believe has also been suggested before. Choice of tuba is a whole different can of worms, so I won't even go there. Although I played both on an EEb, for what it's worth......
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