The Typology and Timbre of the Tuba

Research output: Contributions to books, editions, reports or conference proceedingsConference contribution



Low-pitched valved brass wind instruments are often described generically as tubas. In fact, the term 'tuba' covers a broad family of instruments, with sounding lengths ranging from the 8-ft C of the classic French orchestral tuba to the 18-ft B♭ of the brass band and orchestral contrabass. The first instrument designated as a tuba was introduced in 1835, and since then a variety of models differing in bore profile as well as in nominal pitch have been used. This paper explores the historical development of the tuba family from an acoustical perspective, presenting and discussing measurements of bore profile and input impedance for a number of representative instruments from different periods and musical traditions.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVom Serpent zur Tuba: Entwicklung und Einsatz der tiefen Polsterzungen-Instrumente mit Grifflöchern und Ventilen.
Subtitle of host publicationBericht über das 33 Musikinstrumentenbau-Symposium in Michaelstein, 7-9 November 2014.
EditorsChristian Philipsen
Place of PublicationAugsburg
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-3-95786-204-4
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 2019

Publication series

NameMichaelsteiner Konferenzberichte