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date: 05 June 2020


  • Clifford Bevan


A wide-bore valved brass instrument. It is used as a bass or contrabass member of the band or orchestral brass section (in the Hornbostel and Sachs system it is classified as an Aerophone: trumpet). The term is applied to instruments of various sizes and shapes with a wide, conical bore, three to six (rarely seven) valves, and an open (no valves operated) tube length of at least 8′, giving a pedal (fundamental) note of C or below. Several members of the tuba family are commonly called by other names, e.g. the Euphonium [euphonion, tenor tuba in B♭], bombardon (see Bombardon), Sousaphone and Helicon. The lower members of the Saxhorn group may be included in the tuba family. The Wagner tuba has characteristics of both horn and tuba. The tuba, basically a valved bugle, is a comparative newcomer to the brass section (the first instrument so named, a five-valve ...

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A. Lavignac and L. de La Laurencie, eds.: Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society