"Other" quintet tubas?

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Posted by Leland on April 23, 1999 at 15:08:25:

Reading the threads on trends and looking for a quintet tuba, I started pondering...

Are smaller tubas genuinely preferred for quintet playing, at least most of the time? I'd agree, since there'd only be four other people playing along. But then I've heard more than once that when a tubist uses a 6/4-ish tuba in quintet, the other players really like the sound. Would a spectator think the same way about the sound?

I'm not trying to rag on anybody -- I have no preference of horn size as long as it sounds good. I have noticed, sometimes, that a tubist using a smaller/brighter horn in a pro-level quintet will reach its maximum tasteful forte+, while the other members are using more comfortable volumes. Thinking about it, this is most likely a benefit of the smaller horn, since the rest of the group doesn't have to work hard to keep up; if they're doing their job, they're balancing to the tuba anyway.

On the other (larger) side, every instance I've heard so far about a big quintet tuba mentions that the other players felt more comfortable and could let it out a bit more. So, this gets me wondering if a large tuba really is a no-no in quintet, or if it can be used just fine (with proper handling, of course).

Opinions, from either the playing or listening end?


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