Do rotary and piston valve instruments........?


Do rotary and piston valve instruments (of the same pitch) have the same fingerings? Is a rotary, say tuba or trumpet. the same except for the mechanics of the valves?


Well-Known Member
For any given instrument, probably. There's nothing innately different in the designs of the valves to favour a different valve setup. For historical reasons though, you may find that some modern rotary valve Tubas (Tubae?) have different compensation methods - e.g. 5 valves, with the 5th tuned to a tone and a bit is sometimes encountered. Piston-valved instruments with this set-up seem to be entirely a historical phenomenon (see the examples in Highams' collection on his web page). The reason for this seems to have as much to do with whimsical fashion as anything else.

To all intents and purposes, yes, they will be the same. The French Horn has different fingerings not because of the valves, but because the tube is twice as long as one might expect - as long as an F Tuba, so everything can be fingered by a band Horn player as if it were an octave higher.


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