The Tuba

This is the grandfather of the brass family. The tuba is the largest and lowest brass instrument and anchors the harmony not only of the brass family but the whole orchestra with its deep rich sound. Like the other brasses, the tuba is a long metal tube, curved into an oblong shape, with a huge bell at the end. Tubas range in size from 9 to 18 feet; the longer they are, the lower they sound. Standard tubas have about 16 feet of tubing. There is generally only one tuba in an orchestra and it usually plays harmony. You play the tuba sitting down with the instrument on your lap and the bell facing up. You blow and buzz into a very large mouthpiece and use your hand to press down on the valves which changes the sound. It takes a lot of breath to make sound with the tuba!