Re: Miscellaneous Queries

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Posted by Jay Bertolet on May 28, 2000 at 08:23:17:

In Reply to: Miscellaneous Queries posted by MG on May 27, 2000 at 20:03:23:

In my opinion:

The reason you see 5 valves on CC tubas is because they are neccesary to provide the range you need for lots of playing. Consider that a 4 valve BBb tuba has only one note really missing, that being pedal B. This is not a very common note. But a similar 4 valve CC tuba is missing pedal Db, a very common note. I can name at least 3 major symphonies which have this note in the part. I don't really believe the 5th valve's genesis has anything to do with intonation but it sure is a big plus to have all those extra fingerings to work with.

I have owned both 4 valve compensators and 5 valve non-compensating instruments. In theory, they are supposed to be comparable. But my experience is that they are not. I've never played on a compensating instrument that didn't have the same "missing note" as a 4 valve tuba. That is to say, on a 4 valve compensating BBb tuba, the pedal B is still too sharp to be usable. Admittedly, the note is closer to pitch than on a non-compensating 4 valve tuba but it still isn't usable without dramatic slide pulling. This, in my mind, defeats the purpose of having the compensating system in the first place. When I have a choice, I always choose the 5 valve tuba because it gives more fingering options and allows less slide pulling.

Solo mouthpieces and Symphonic mouthpieces both have obvious and different functions, just as you'd expect. Really, the bottom line with mouthpieces is to find the one that fits both you and your tuba best. Don't ignore how your mouthpiece works with your tuba! I recently had an experience where I bought a tuba that many people said had very bad intonation. I then tried a different mouthpiece on it and suddenly all the intonation difficulties disappeared. So matching your tuba with the right mouthpiece is just as important in my mind as finding the mouthpiece that fits you. Don't ignore either part of the process.

I hope this helps you somewhat. Good luck finding the right equipment!

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