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> INSTRUMENTOLOGY > BRASS > Contrabass tuba > Sound Characteristics

Sound characteristics

Round, calm, hearty, loud, robust, ponderous, sustaining, soothing, earthy, sonorous, majestic, cavernous, rumbling, unfathomable, grave, weighty, broad, resonant.

In all registers the tone is richer, rounder and darker than the bass tuba and less metallic than the bass and contrabass trombones.

Lower register
A0 – Bb1

The pedal notes sound earthy, rumbling and unfathomable; it is difficult to tell what their exact pitch is. These notes are generally doubled an octave above.

The higher notes in this register (from B0–Bb1) correspond to the 2nd naturals and are very sonorous, hearty, majestic and sustaining. It is the notes within this compass that are used most often.

Middle register
B1 – Bb2

A continuation of the low register (naturals 3 and 4). Below F2 the tone is the typical contrabass tuba sound, above it it sounds like a tuba in F.

Upper register
B2 – Bb3

Very powerful sound which can easily produce an imbalance in the overall sound when played forte. In this register the tone is rather thick and lacks metallic or brilliant properties. The bass tuba is often used for this range.