Re: when to use 4 and 5 valve

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Posted by Jay Bertolet on February 03, 1999 at 10:51:31:

In Reply to: when to use 4 and 5 valve posted by Zach on February 02, 1999 at 21:43:35:

Definately consult the fingering charts that Sean speaks of in his post. In my mind there are 2 reasons why you would use the 4th and 5th valves:

1) Because it makes it possible to get the note. This is kind of self explanatory, some notes aren't possible (except through the use of false tones) unless you use the 4th valve. Also, you could make the case that the half step above the fundamental pitch of an instrument isn't possible on a non-compensating instrument without the use of a 5th valve. But really, that debate is tied to the second reason.

2) For purposes of intonation. This is the primary reason tubas have 5th and even 6th valves. For every tuba and every player, there is usually a different set of low range fingerings that bring every note in tune. I agree with Sean, in that you need to consult a chart to get a good idea of what types of fingerings to try, but after that I believe the best way is to experiment. I have different sets of fingering for every one of my tubas (all have 5th valves) and I also have fingerings which I know will shade the pitch up or down as the situation warrants. For ensemble playing, pitch flexibility is a requirement.

I have heard of teachers requiring students to use the 4th valve for D on a CC tuba and 2nd and 4th valve for Db on a CC tuba. My answer to that is to first see if the 1-3 or 1-2-3 fingerings are out of tune. Usually, you'll find that 2-4 is definately better in tune but on a couple of my tubas, 1-3 is just fine. In any event, experimentation is the order of the day. My opinion, for what its worth...

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