Tubas Part 2 – Tubas in the Band

Tubas in the Band

            The only tubas we can expect to have regularly in the band are the Euphonium and the Contrabass Tuba.  One is a master tenor/baritone soloist, while the other is often considered the foundation of the entire band.

I look back to my days of playing, and I always remember there being two Euphoniums and two (or more) Contrabass Tubas in the ensemble, yet rarely would the parts ever divide.  There is no reason in the world not to have parts that say Euphonium 1, Euphonium 2, etc.

The Flügelhorns should become a more regular member of the band.  Every trumpet player should have access to a Flügelhorn.  I have always said that we have too many trumpets in our band, let’s put some of those talented players on the Flügelhorn.

We can experiment with all sorts of arrangements for the tuba ensemble.  Here is a simple scenario that I have used before:

2 Flügelhorns

2 Euphoniums

1 Bass Tuba

1 Contrabass Tuba

This is a total of six players.  The spacing and balance is even, and we get a warm, homogenous sound with this group.  But, I think more potential lies within the group.  I foresee the Flügelhorns being as, or more important than the trumpets.  Why not a group like this:

3-4 Flügelhorns

2 Euphoniums

2 Bass Tubas

2 Contrabass Tubas

I feel that we have yet to fully explore the sound world that lies in the tuba family.  Beautiful harmonies and fluid melodies await us.


3 thoughts on “Tubas Part 2 – Tubas in the Band

  1. Ever play old 1900s marches? Many of those had division parts specifically to accommodate whatever kind of instrument was going to be playing in the ensemble. Many of the old marches had a top and bottom tuba part (intended primarily Eb and BBb). I’ve even seen top and bottom parts with baritone.

    1. I played plenty of those. Brings back found (or not so fond?) memories from high school. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but were most of those divisi parts octave doublings? At any rate, it does look like I need to change the text there.

  2. LoyalTubist

    Some tuba parts for marches even in a traditional American march, like British Eighth by Zo Elliot, have two completely events happening, even only for one bar. In cut time, the bottom part plays a whole note while the top part plays a descending four quarter note pattern. It only happens once but it’s interesting.

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