Posted by Leland on April 06, 1999 at 23:53:33:
In Reply to: Re: Re: The size posted by Another question on April 06, 1999 at 16:05:25:
The question to ask really is "What part of the sound is projecting?"
The smaller tubas generally are more efficient at amplifying anything that goes into them, but at the same time, they'll highly favor the upper harmonics. It's basically projecting with the same general sound as a low trombone. The little 3/4 4-piston Amati we used to have could cut through with no problem, but there was very little bass tone to go with it. In other words, it projected like mad, but not in a typically bottom-octave tuba-as-a-foundation-voice way. Most often, the smaller tubas' projection means that you can pinpoint the location of the sound -- higher frequencies are simply more directional.
The larger-bore tubas will usually have more of the low harmonics and fundamental tones and not as much emphasis on the higher "ringing" tones as a smaller tuba. They won't project like the small tuba's potentially javelin-through-the-woodwinds type of projection, but they will be able to provide a fuller, rounder bass sound to support the whole ensemble. The sound will seem like it's coming from all over the stage sometimes.
Lastly, larger tubas will use more air because, to put it simply, they can handle it and still sound tasteful. You can only take a small tuba so far towards LOUD before it starts to sound ugly. The larger tubas, with their low-harmonic abilities and wider tubing, can really benefit from an increased air supply.