Use of Rotary valve tuba in contests

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by JDH, May 11, 2006.

  1. JDH

    JDH Member

    I use a rotary valve tuba for my orchestral playing and much prefer it to the standard brass band BBb bass where I have trouble reaching the 4th valve.

    My band's conductor is amenable to me using my rotary valve tuba with the band, but I wonder would it be allowed for band contests?

    What are the national contest rules in this regard?
  2. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Dont know if there are any "concrete" rules about rotary tubas , Pete Denton for years when he was at BTM and the National Youth Brass Band of Wales used a Miraphone rotary BBb ( Think the BTM Bass section got the infamous "Rolls Royce Bass Sound Comment" from John Wallace at the 1991 National Finals on Energy")
    Sovereign Brass used one or two rotarys years ago at Pontins ( 4th section could be talking late 1980's here) , I am sure more bands would use them but I think the price , complexity of the instrument and availability of the instruments put bands off.
  3. brittm

    brittm Member

    Continuing the John Wallace theme:

    Desford's entire bass section used rotary instruments in the mid - late 90's and it happened that both BBb players were regulars in the Wallace Collection (John's brass ensemble, not the Marylebone art collection).

    I've no idea whether it's legal but I don't think anyone would have a problem with it, it's not quite as obvious to the casual observer as french horns or piccalo trumpets.

    Martin Britt
  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    The valve system is not defined for any brass instument - simply says EEb or BBb bass - so presumably you couldn't use an F or CC but you can use rotary. Valve trombones are however excluded from the National contesting rules.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2006
  5. JonP

    JonP Member

    It is my understanding that any tubas may be used as long as they are in Eb or Bb.

    I would love to see more German, Swiss and American instruments used, as actually they are vastly superior to the instruments most bands use.

    The C/Bb B&S is awsome as used by Andy in the Bournmouth Symphony. Im sure he told me the band he was helping out were afraid to let him use it though as it was C/Bb. ALTHOUGH IT DEFINATLY SAYS TROMBONES IN Bb AND MINE IS Def Bb AND F!!
  6. JDH

    JDH Member

    That is the same model tuba I am using, the B&S Neptune. It sounds considerably better than a Besson BBb even with me playing, so it must really be awesome in the hands of a professional like Andy!

    However, it still leaves me in doubt as to if it would be acceptable for a contest, although of course when playing in a brass band it is being used with the Bb slide, so should be considered a Bb (in my opinion) :-?
  7. JonP

    JonP Member

    Definatly use it i would say. Its in Bb and its a tuba. J

    ust make sure when you come off that your Bottom C is a Bb!!!!!

    Leave the C slide at home and no one can argue!!

    Go for it! Start the revolution!
  8. Space Cowboy

    Space Cowboy Member

    I'm pretty sure that the rules regarding trombones only states Slide Trombones must be used with no specification of key.
  9. JonP

    JonP Member

    Im pretty sure it says Bb as your not alowed to use an Eb trom. (Alto)???
  10. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    This is from the National Rules, which can be found by following a link which can be found in the tMP Links Directory under "General Resources".

    I note that Trombone is the only instrument for which a key is not specified. I also note that Soprano Cornet and Flugel Horn are separately specified, but Bass Trombone is not.
    Last edited: May 12, 2006
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Anyone fancy fielding a contrabass trombone with some of the low stuff that appears these days?
  12. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Two Alto trombones and a contrabass - now that would be a section to hear (and it would be allowed).
    If you are only supposed to use a slide trombone - should the use of triggers be discouraged? Surely they must be on the way to having valves.
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - what about rotary valved cornets being used as well?
  14. JDH

    JDH Member

    Well what you call triggers are really smaller versions of the rotary valves on my tuba, so the fact that they are allowed means the rules are already being stretched! ;)
  15. JDH

    JDH Member

    Are there such things? I have only heard of rotary valve trumpets, but never cornets
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  17. Anonymous_user

    Anonymous_user New Member

    Go on use it if you want. No rules that I know of. Desford played with them before I joined.

    Last edited: May 12, 2006
  18. jmh3412

    jmh3412 Member

    I fully endorse the use of rotary valve tubas ............. but surely there are tonal differences which, if 4 players are using rotary instruments, will produce an overall different sound than that produced by the traditional Besson (Yamaha) 3 + 1 compensators.
  19. JDH

    JDH Member

    I am sure there would be a difference, but that may be an advance and not necessarily bad. After all the present instruments are larger with bigger bells than used to be the case, so as things are the basses do not sound the same as they would of say 100 years ago. Mouthpiece choice would also influence the sound.

    What would also need to be watched if all the basses were rotary would be that they did not overpower the band, as they are wider bore and as a result more powerful.
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    No more than the differences between players mixing instruments of different makes in the same section. Almost all bands have issues of musicality which will be far more pressing than this. I've never heard anyone complain about Bass Trombonists using whichever new kind of valve is currently fashionable whilst the Tenor players use their usual rotaries!It would be great to see band Tuba players experimenting with different valve setups, designed to avoid the stuffiness the bedevils the Sovereigns and other instruments with the compensating system when the 4th valve is used in combination with others, although the idea of four players together all employing the usual 5-valve setup with its attendant need for extreme on-the-ballness for tuning is a dread-inspiring one...

    On the subject of using a Contrabass Trombone for Bass Trombone parts, the Contrabass is a pig to play compared to the Bass, particularly so for the BBb models. The double slide has a lot more inertia and drag, and the extra bends in the cylindrical tube make the instrument very stuffy indeed. The straight F contras that have become more fashionable recently are a lot more wieldy, but still have that gigantic slide to manouvre around on. It's an agility thing - there's nothing in the band literature that a Bass player who doubles Contrabass couldn't play more easily on the Bass than the Contra. A good player should have the same range on both instruments - the only difference should be the tone quality. If the desire is simply to obtain more tazz on low notes, try putting a Contra mouthpiece into a Bass - the results can be horrific...

    Something I'd like to see is a Historically Informed (TM) contest performance - a piece like 'Epic Symphony', say, performed on the instruments of the period (e.g. Troms = 2 peashooters and a G), with authentic musical stylings of the day. I wonder how it would fare come results time?

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