13 Surprising Facts About The Tuba That You Probably Didn’t Know

tuba fact
Written by Corey Morgan

Tuba fact 1 – Can a tuba play many notes

Yes, it absolutely can, but is very rarely asked to do that. Playing more than one note at a time is called multiphonics, and yes it’s feasible on the tuba.

The easiest and most popular technique is to play one note and concurrently sing another, the sung note need not be in the same harmonic series as the played note. This is much simpler on the tuba than on other brass instruments due to the broader, more open embouchure (mouth shape) necessary

It’s also feasible to buzz the lips at various frequencies to make two different notes at the same time. By combining these strategies, it is able to play three note chords.

Tuba fact 2 – How many notes can a tuba play?

A three-valve tuba can play two octaves plus three-ish notes up and down for a total of 22 notes, whereas a five- or six-valve F tuba can easily play five octaves if the fundamental pitches (or “pedal” notes) are included, and a skilled professional player can play anything up to six octaves. That creates a total of 60–72 notes when playing in bass clef.

Then, depending on how many valves you have, it just goes up. Four valve tubas, for example, have a lower and occasionally a higher range! Then there’s your mouthpiece size, which plays a role. The larger your lips are, the lower and looser they must be, while the smaller your lips are, the higher and tighter they must be.

Tuba fact 3 – How tall do you have to be to play the tuba

You should be tall enough for you to hold it in your lap while still being able to play it. When it comes to playing the tuba, there are no specific height requirements, but there are a few other factors to take into consideration.

  • The capacity of the lungs. Good breathing capacity and control are critical for success when it comes to brass instruments. Tuba requires a lot of air, and you’ll need to be able to sustain long and low notes in order to be successful. If you are not already doing so, I personally recommend that you incorporate some form of cardio into your daily routine.
  • Physical power. Although this is a matter of personal preference, you should be able to comfortably grasp the instrument that you are playing. If doing so necessitates purchasing a smaller tuba, that is OK.
  • Dedication to the cause. It is quite expensive to learn the tuba; as a result, make certain that you are willing to put in the necessary time and effort to be successful on this instrument.
  • To summarize, you do not need to be particularly tall, but you should be able to maintain control of your instrument if you are.

Tuba fact 4 – What is the weight of a marching band?

Depending on the manufacturer, it might weigh anywhere from 45 to 60 pounds.

The sousaphone and the contrabass bugle are the two varieties of “marching” tubas used in military marches (contra). The contrabass bugle is a standard concert tuba that has been modified so that it can be played with the bell facing forward.

It can weigh anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds and is played with the bell facing forward. In total, the sousaphone, which is worn around the torso, weighs approximately 50 pounds. When playing the contra, the player must to balance the instrument on their shoulder, whereas the sousaphone just rests on your shoulder and maintains its upright position on its own.

Tuba fact 5 – What is the difference between a concert and a marching tuba?

Tuba can be played while sitting in one’s chair. Walking and marching are accompanied by the sound of the sousaphone. The tuba is commonly heard in orchestras, concert bands, pop bands, jazz bands, and brass ensembles. The sousaphone is mostly employed by marching bands.

Tuba fact 6 – What is the average number of tubas in an orchestra?

Generally speaking, there is only one tuba in an orchestra, and it is mainly used to play harmony. If you are playing the tuba while sitting down, you should place the instrument on your lap with the bell facing up. Using a mouthpiece, you blow and buzz into it while using your hand to press down on the valves, which changes the sound.

Tuba fact 7 – What do you call a small tuba?

The euphonium (also referred to as a “tenor tuba”), the Bb baritone horn, and the Eb horn are three typical brass instruments that resemble smaller tubas (smallest of the three).

Tuba fact 8 – In an orchestra, why is there just one tuba?

There is only one tuba in orchestra because the tuba is loud and forceful enough to compete with a full orchestra in terms of volume and force. In most orchestras, there is a very solid rationale for only having one tuba. For starters, the tuba is a brass instrument that belongs to the family of brass instruments.

Brass instruments are the most audible of all the acoustic instrument families. The length of the tube in a brass insrument, which is distinct from embouchure, determines the pitch that can be produced by a musician through it.

Tuba fact 9 – Is a tuba a part of a symphony orchestra or not?

The tuba is the double bass of the orchestra’s brass section, and it plays a variety of roles. It is currently regarded as a legitimate member of the orchestral family, having completely replaced the ophicleide, a deep-toned brass instrument that was previously used.

Tuba fact 10 – When did the tuba become a member of the orchestra?


It initially debuted on the scene in the mid-19th century, making it one of the more recent additions to the modern orchestra and concert band repertoire. The tuba has mainly taken over for the ophicleide…Tuba.

Tuba fact 11 – Is the tuba a transposing instrument?

Thus, when playing music in treble clef, the tuba transposes, but not when playing music in bass clef. Contrary to the United States, where the CC tuba is commonly employed as an orchestral and concert band instrument, BB tubas are preferred as the contrabass tuba in German, Austrian, and Russian orchestras.

Tuba fact 12 – What is the purpose of using the tuba as a transposing instrument?

The use of this technique allows players to switch instruments without having to learn new fingerings for the same written music. As a result, when the tuba’s music is written in treble clef, it is a transposing instrument; yet, when the music is written in bass clef, it is not.

Tuba fact 13 – Who is the best tuba player in the United Kingdom?

John Fletcher is arguably the most successful tuba player in the history of the country. As Principal Tubist with the London Symphony Orchestra, he is perhaps most known for his work with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, as well as his other musical endeavors.