AUDIO
  • Tragic March - Wagner tubas
  • The Canvas Painter (Wagner tuba)
  • Monastery on the Mountain (Wagner tuba)
  • High Voltage - Wagner tubas
  • Solo for Wagner tuba

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> INSTRUMENTOLOGY > BRASS > Wagner tuba > Sound Characteristics

Sound characteristics

Round, resounding, hearty, robust, sustaining, gentle, soft, war-like, menacing, sonorous, solemn, stately, heroic, substantial.

Overall the Wagner tuba's timbre lies somewhere between the horn, the bass tuba and the trombone. The registers are relatively homogenous and overlap.

Comparison with the horn: More somber and less penetrating, less incisive attack, softer. The horn (especially the Viennese horn) begins to blare once a certain volume has been reached. This does not occur on the Wagner tuba. Easy response.

Comparison with the bass tuba: thinner, edgier, more incisive.

Comparison with the trombone: milder, softer, darker.

Wagner tuba in Bb

The Wagner tuba in Bb generally sounds thinner than the F instrument.

Lower register (Eb1–Bb2) (sound)
The lowest notes cannot be played forte and are too weak to function as a bass voice. The higher notes can assert themselves.

Middle register (B2–Bb4)
Dark timbre, heroic / solemn effect. More volume than the horn. Most frequently used register.

Upper register (B4–Bb5)
Brightens the timbre; not as bright as the horn, but richer.

Wagner tuba in F

The Wagner tuba in F generally sounds richer and louder than the Bb instrument.

Lower register (Eb1–F2) (sound)
The lowest notes cannot be played forte and are too weak to function as a bass voice. The higher notes can assert themselves.

Middle register (Gb2–F3)
Dark timbre, heroic / solemn effect. More volume than the horn. Most frequently used register.

Upper register (Gb3–F5)
Brightens the timbre; not as bright as the horn, but richer.