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Postby tuben » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:29 pm

Casey Tucker wrote:American-
A big dark resonant sound that is easily distinguishable from the trombone section. It is a sound that I describe as being more felt than heard for the better percentage of orchestral lit but can still cut through (not as much as German) for the more solo-like passages.

German-
A direct sound that is again easily distinguishable but adds to the trombone section. where it is resonant it is not as dark. A very meaty tone that can really cut through the ensemble. it fills out the section as being a closer voice to the bass trombone.


I must disagree... German tubas are just as 'dark' sounding as American tubas. Listen to Walter Hilgers in the German Brass stuff and tell me that isn't dark! It's dark chocolate dark!

As others have said, the 'American' (York-o-phone) sound is more pillowy and wide than the more direct German.

With that said, I hear more and more 'American' players playing York-o-clones that are playing them in a VERY agressive, German tuba style. That makes little sense to me, but what the hell do I know.

One player can make a German rotary tuba sound rich and warm and then make a York-o-hoot bark like a doberman.

RC
(who likes the dark German tuba sound)
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Re: Totally Kewl Topic!

Postby Wyvern » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:24 pm

tredonme wrote:Is there a third sound style? Is there an English sound?

For an English sound, listen to a recording of one of the top brass bands. I would say the English sound is rich and lyrical, but how much is the instruments and how much the style of playing, I do not know.

An American friend listening to a recording of me playing my Melton 2040/5 (which is very much a German tuba) in a symphony orchestra, said I still sounded like solo EEb bass in a brass band :wink:

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Postby eupher61 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:01 pm

which raises a question I've wanted to ask, but keep forgetting. Until now. Maybe.

Wow...what a cool ad over on the right side.

Oh... :oops:

For those who get to hear the Chicago gang live more than I, and have done so for more than a couple years...How does Gene sound on THE Yorks vs how Mr Jacob sounded? How about the Yorks vs his Yorkbrunner (does he even still have one?)

I once asked Gene how he liked the Yorks, and he said while it was a real gas to play them, maybe he wasn't crazy about the feel, as compared to his Ybrunner. That was many years ago, when he was comparatively new in Chicago still.
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Postby tuben » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:19 pm

Interesting.....

When 'we' are thinking of German vs American tubas, just what are we comparing?

186 vs 6/4 York?

Alex Kaiser vs 2J?

Since there are precious few truely 6/4 German rotary tubas (especially CC tubas) in America, perhaps we should agree to limit this discussion to tubas of the same basic size.

I'm willing to bet that most people are thinking:
American tuba sound = 6/4 York-clone
German tuba sound = 4/4 rotary (Mira 186, MW 32, RM 3/4)

RC
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Postby Wyvern » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:25 pm

tuben wrote:Since there are precious few truely 6/4 German rotary tubas (especially CC tubas) in America, perhaps we should agree to limit this discussion to tubas of the same basic size.

Makes sense! So what about the difference between a Nirschl 6/4 and a MW Fafner?
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Postby Casey Tucker » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:01 pm

tuben wrote:
[quote]I must disagree... German tubas are just as 'dark' sounding as American tubas. Listen to Walter Hilgers in the German Brass stuff and tell me that isn't dark! It's dark chocolate dark!
[/quote]

if you had gotten my entire post i AGREED by saying that my PT20PS, a german horn, was very dark as is the case with the tuba in German Brass. i love the group including his sound (personal favorite is their toccatta and fugue on the greatest hits CD. Great low brass sound)

those were my personal thoughts on the topic. if we're comparing american (ex. CSO yorks) to german (ex. german Kaisers like a large Rudy) you can get SIMILAR results. it's really like comparing apples to oranges.

lets just assume that the original poster is not talking about what kind of horn produces what sound but more along the lines of a sound concept. what is your definition of an American sound and a German sound? that was what my response was towards. the addition/anecdote about my horn being german and producing an american sound was more geared towards saying that you cannot base a sound concept behind the build of an instrument.

with this in mind, my original response still stands.
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Postby tuben » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:00 pm

Casey Tucker wrote:tuben wrote:
if you had gotten my entire post i AGREED by saying that my PT20PS, a german horn, was very dark as is the case with the tuba in German Brass.

those were my personal thoughts on the topic. if we're comparing american (ex. CSO yorks) to german (ex. german Kaisers like a large Rudy) you can get SIMILAR results. it's really like comparing apples to oranges.


Ok, but even though your tuba was made in Germany, I can't call it a "German horn" any more than I can call a 2145, 2165 or PT-606 a "German horn". Since we are speaking of sound concepts, how the tuba sounds is more important than where it was made.

lets just assume that the original poster is not talking about what kind of horn produces what sound but more along the lines of a sound concept. what is your definition of an American sound and a German sound? that was what my response was towards. the addition/anecdote about my horn being german and producing an american sound was more geared towards saying that you cannot base a sound concept behind the build of an instrument.


Ok, if this topic is SOLELY about sound concept that makes things easier.

German - Supporting, blending sound that is NEVER dominating but rather enhances the bass/cello sound.

American - Commanding sound that fully stands up to 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones and percussion. Every note the player plays is heard as a tuba.

Listen to recordings of Berlin, Vienna (pre 1990), Leipzig, Concertgebouw, etc.... In those recordings you rarely hear the tuba roaring through the orchestra, especially in the low range. American tubists are much more present in the orchestra than their German counterparts.

That is starting to change I fear, with the continued homogenization of orchestras. Where you could once listen to a recording and easily not only know what country the orchestra was from, but would even tell Philadelphia from Boston from Cleveland etc, that is simply not possible any more as orchestras are all beginning to sound like each other.

Thank God for Vienna and their particular instruments. They retain their unique sound.

RC
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Postby Rick Denney » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:09 pm

quinterbourne wrote:Someone, at some point, said something along the lines "American sound compliments, and German sound supplements, the trombone section"


Listen to the early CSO brass quintet that is on Portrait of an Artist for the concept. The early recording of the NY Brass Quintet, with Harvey Phillips, reinforces the concept, but with a completely different sound.

Compare that with most quintets where the performer uses an F tuba, or a small C (like, say, a PT-4), and you'll hear the difference.

The recording of the CSO low brass section also makes the point. Jacobs is a distinct, deep, and different voice than the trombones, establishing contrast rather than extension. Whether any given approach works, of course, depends on the musicianship of the player.

I think deep is a better descriptor than dark. Tubas of the American concept, particularly the big ones, are deep and present, with lots of resonance. When Mike Sanders switched from his Alex to his Yorkbrunner, his sound gained a presence and even a friendly character. It was always heard without being overpowering or disproportionate. His Alexander was forbidding and foreboding. You didn't mess with that sound. It penetrated rather than being present. It was as if the room accepted the York sound, while the Alex pushed the sound into the room. I can still hear it in my head 20-odd years later.

As Alex says, big Holtons are powerful and command a certain respect. But they still exercise that power within the framework of filling the room rather than pushing sound into it. Even listening to recordings of my own playing in a group, my Holton is still more present than penetrating.

The York Master is German, but not completely so. Of course, these are ideals and the range of instruments is spread between. And the axis from German to American is certainly not the only axis, and German vs. American are not the only poles.

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Postby Rick Denney » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:13 pm

kingrob76 wrote:This would be a really good topic to build one of those quadrant charts where the X axis is American on one end and Germanic on the other, and the Y axis is small instrument on one end and large instrument on the other. If only we had a analytical Resident Genius with a penchant for these kind of things.... :wink:


The tricky bit is determining the units on those axes. So far, it seems to defy quantification.

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Postby Rick Denney » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:21 pm

eupher61 wrote:How does Gene sound on THE Yorks vs how Mr Jacob sounded?


Jacobs sounded like Jacobs, and Gene sounds like Gene. Jacobs was more florid in his musical interpretation, which was a characteristic of his time. Gene is more restrained and precise, at least to my ears. Both are examples of the highest degree of musicianship.

Listen to his CD's--all the tracks sound like Gene but it's not always obvious which instrument he is using. You almost have to be there in person to feel the difference in the instruments.

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Postby Rick Denney » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:36 pm

tuben wrote:...
Since there are precious few truely 6/4 German rotary tubas (especially CC tubas) in America, perhaps we should agree to limit this discussion to tubas of the same basic size.

I'm willing to bet that most people are thinking:
American tuba sound = 6/4 York-clone
German tuba sound = 4/4 rotary (Mira 186, MW 32, RM 3/4)


I don't really agree. I think it's reasonable to compare the instruments tuba players have used in the same setting. The Alex 163 was widely used in orchestras (and is still used by many). The alternative for many who switches was a Yorkophone. They clearly thought the Yorkophone was to be used for the same purpose as the 163, even though the 163 is smaller. It may be that for the orchestral application, size (or width) is part of the American concept.

Mike Sanders said the challenge when he switched to the Yorkbrunner was to relax and let the horn do the work. That is also a characteristic of a big tuba. And he said that his Alex would do anything, but the player had to make it happen. That may be what makes the sound of the Yorkophone seem friendlier than the sound of the Alex--it has less force but more flow.

For chamber applications, few would follow Jacobs's example and use a Yorkophone. But one can still hear the difference between, say, a Conn 56J or a PT-606 and a Miraphone 186 or RM 3/4. The 56J and the PT-606 are as different as they can be, but are still a more present sound than the penetration of the 186 or the RM (which are also as different as can be).

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Postby bloke » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:48 pm

It's really pretty easy to understand:

Compare two electric bass/keyboard combo amplifiers - both very high quality:

- one is equipped with a 12 inch speaker driven by 60 watts peak power

- the other has two 15 inch speakers driven by 200 watts peak power.
___________________________________________________

Turn the 60-watt amp up to "7" and turn the 200-watt amp up to "3"...so that they are kicking out the same number of decibels.

Which one might be offering a "richer" sound...??

Which one might be offering a "clearer" sound...??
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Postby dtemp » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:52 am

bloke wrote:It's really pretty easy to understand:

Compare two electric bass/keyboard combo amplifiers - both very high quality:

- one is equipped with a 12 inch speaker driven by 60 watts peak power

- the other has two 15 inch speakers driven by 200 watts peak power.
___________________________________________________

Turn the 60-watt amp up to "7" and turn the 200-watt amp up to "3"...so that they are kicking out the same number of decibels.

Which one might be offering a "richer" sound...??

Which one might be offering a "clearer" sound...??


Booyah. That's how I always thought of it, just couldn't explain it that well.

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Postby Rubberlips » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:18 am

Right, let's list the faults, risks or problems of both types.
How does it sound when a tuba is played badly?
American: woofy, woolly, unfocussed?
German: brassy, trombonish?
Is this because of the excessive flare of some American bells? And the smokestack-like flarelessness of German bells?
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Postby Greg » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:02 am

Rubberlips wrote:Right, let's list the faults, risks or problems of both types.
How does it sound when a tuba is played badly?
American: woofy, woolly, unfocussed?
German: brassy, trombonish?
Is this because of the excessive flare of some American bells? And the smokestack-like flarelessness of German bells?


That's my understanding. It's similar to the difference in a Baritone and a Euphonium. 'cept difernt
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Postby TubaSteve » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:30 am

Does anyone have any thoughts on how they sound together in the same ensemble, as far as mixing the horns? Some thoughts I have and some experience that I have is that mixing them can be a challenge sometimes. In one of the bands that I play in, we used to play with two MW-25's and a 186 BBb. (Very much alike in my opinion) All three horns seemed to blend well together. The 186 player switched to a Holton Harvy Phillips CC, it has become much more of a challenge to find that common ground. When I play my Reynolds recording bass, in another group I play with, it sounds great, very much what has been described as an "American" sound. It blends very well with the YBB321 that another player has. I think that the 321 also has an American sound. Howerver if I try to play my Reynolds alongside another MW-25, I have problems. So much so, that If I am going to play with the fellow that has the 25, I make sure that I bring mine also, and leave the Reynolds for other gigs. I really enjoy this thread, thanks for all the posts.

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Postby Wyvern » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:31 am

Rubberlips wrote:American: woofy, woolly, unfocussed?
German: brassy, trombonish?

It must depend on what models and size of tuba are being compared. My Cerveny Kaiser which is definitely a German style tuba is certainly not brassy, or trombonish - in fact it is a lot more woolly and unfocused than my Mel Culbertson Neptune or big York-style piston tubas I have tried.

What certainly seems to be a characteristic of German Kaiser tubas (having also tried the Rudy 5/4 and Fafner) is that they take a lot more air than a York-style BAT.
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Postby Deleted dp » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:12 pm

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Postby bloke » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:12 pm

So MANY models tubas offer such "interesting" intonation that I find any discussion of how different "styles" of tubas "blend" with each other in a band to be completely beside the point...

...the point being INTONATION.
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Postby Rick Denney » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:16 pm

bloke wrote:So MANY models tubas offer such "interesting" intonation that I find any discussion of how different "styles" of tubas "blend" with each other in a band to be completely beside the point...

...the point being INTONATION.


Uh, yeah. For me, in tune = good blend.

I don't mind that tubas sound different in an ensemble or section. The TubaMeisters, when I was in it, had a Miraphone rotary tenor tuba, a Miraphone compensating euphonium, a Yamaha 621 F tuba, and a Miraphone 186 C tuba. Even though three of four were Miraphones, the instruments had very different voices. The players, too, had very different voice. Yet we would frequently be complimented on how well we blended and how people couldn't tell who was playing a melody that was passed between us. I suspect that timing, rhythm, and style had more to do with those compliments than sound.

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