Posted by Joe S. on April 19, 1999 at 21:32:02:
In Reply to: How is a 5th valve used? posted by Brent on April 19, 1999 at 09:53:37:
I think that most folks, regardless of which fifth valve length their tuba comes with, use it for 1/ The ultimate solving of the 1-2-3 valve combination intonation problem ( Often it is STILL sharp, even when using the 2-4 alternative.) 2/ The ability to offer oneself a usable fingering for low Eb (BBb tuba) or low F (CC tuba) 3/ more accurate choices for notes below the notes mentioned in "2/" and 4/ The ability to play the last two notes above the fundamental, without resorting to false tones CC, BB (BBb tuba) or DD, DDb (CC tuba). It becomes even MORE important on the F tuba, when these relative notes (referring to "2/" and "3/" and "4/" above) are not such low-low sounding notes, and really do need to be just exactly right, although serious CC players will tell you that it is VERY VERY important on their instruments.
Considering the most common length, the "extra-long" whole tone, consider this explanation: Imagine playing a note on your tuba with only the #4 valve lever depressed. This particular length #5 valve is made just exactly the right length to lower your "extra long tuba" (fourth valve depressed) by an IN TUNE whole tone. Trombone players can easily do this same sort of thing when their F-attachment is engaged, because they can simply go a little too far (on purpose) with their slide positions. Unfortunately, if we tuba players want to have any of these adjusted lengths available to us, we have to add valves to our horns.