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A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:31 am

I was worried at first, but it would have to be a *lot* bigger orchestra for this to be not enough tuba.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Ace » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:43 am

Reminds me of a phone conversation I had years ago with our esteemed TubeNetter, Roger Lewis. He said a big percentage of his professional playing, including orchestras, was done on his Cerveny Piggy.

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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby bloke » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:53 am

PK took one on tour (decades ago) with Philly...
It was heard.
It was neither (to my teenage ears) a "glorious" nor a "bad" sound.

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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:00 am

bloke wrote:PK took one on tour (decades ago) with Philly...
It was heard.
It was neither (to my teenage ears) a "glorious" nor a "bad" sound.

Controlling for the vast difference in user ability both in the tuba player and the orchestra as a whole, that's pretty much my assessment. No problem being heard. Not a half bad sound.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Roger Lewis » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:23 pm

The above poster is correct. For about 20 years my only CC tuba was a Walter Sear piggy. I won Tanglewood on that horn and an older Perrantuci F tuba. I played it with the Boston Pops that summer and it worked fine. The piggy is a horn you can "push". You can play it a lot bigger than it looks. Sometimes though it depends on the player. Great horn and still using it today.

When one of my orchestras scheduled Mahler 2, that's when the Yorkbrunner joined the family.

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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Mark Finley » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:26 pm

I played a piggy for 18 years in an orchestra. A couple times I wish I had more firepower (Pines of Rome) but it served me well. I did get a massive amount of compliments on the tone of my 601 when I made the swap, but I thought the blend with the trombones and horns was better on the piggy
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby bloke » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:16 pm

ValveSlide wrote:The only catch is that "603" and "piggy" have been applied to a number of designs. All similar, they have changed significantly several times over the years. Good or bad or just "different" is up to the player, I suppose.


The first two I ever saw/heard were
- one belonging to a kid with the Australian Youth Orchestra (on tour, young man - my age - stayed at my parents' house). It was the first "really large bore" tuba that I ever played. This was probably in 1974.
- (again) the one that PK took with him on tour with Philly (same year)...

...so those to which I referred were from that era, and sported four rotors.

I believe they attracted a great deal of interest because they were powerful sounding, looked different, felt different to play, sounded different (bell so close to the player's ears), and were well under $1500.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Mark Finley » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:22 pm

very early piggy

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more piggys from "middle age" to modern

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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby bloke » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:00 pm

Some of those made in the 1970's sported an extremely sharp 2nd space C.
Mark's post demonstrates how much they actually differed, so any generalization about "intonation characteristics of a Piggy" is likely an overreach.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Michael Bush » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:46 am

The main difference between the two I've had with an intention to keep and play is the position of the valves. On this one, the main tuning slide is shorter and the leadpipe is longer, and the valve set is a little lower on the body.

The previous one (picked up in a trade generously hosted by bloke, complete with excellent BBQ) was ergonomically unworkable for me. No amount of shifting it around put my wrist at a viable angle.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby cambrook » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:05 pm

The first two I ever saw/heard were
- one belonging to a kid with the Australian Youth Orchestra (on tour, young man - my age - stayed at my parents' house). It was the first "really large bore" tuba that I ever played. This was probably in 1974.


I think that would have been Peter Sykes, he was later to join the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and I bought that piggy when Peter bought one of the first batch of Yorkbrunners. I played the piggy with the Sydney Symphony for about 3 months and won my job on that horn in 1983.

It had a lovely sound, intonation in the middle of the stave was a challenge. Times have changed - I don't think anyone would win a job playing all the excerpts on a piggy these days....
Last edited by cambrook on Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:31 pm

yes...It was Peter.
I sometimes hesitate to mention specific people here when they aren't part of the conversation...but I'm sure it's perfectly fine to mention him.

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...Here's a youtube video of the band's leader, Emil Orth (trombone), guest-appearing with another band at some jazz festival (probably c. 1978 or so). He was one of the last to pass away just a few years ago. A couple of years before he passed away, he was suffering from Alzheimer's but (just like Carl Fontana) he could still play his tail off. Before his health completely deteriorated, I would pick him up and take him (when we were both involved) to gigs. His wife would get him to play several tunes the night before he had a gig, and - the day of the gig - she would make certain that he was dressed and ready to go. ...He had about a 3-minute recent memory... not quite enough to last through a tune, so (occasionally, during his late-life Alzheimer's era) he would play two solos. :|

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Last edited by bloke on Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby cambrook » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:43 pm

BTW- that tour was in 1976, to celebrate the American Bicentennial - and Principal Trombone was Michael Mulcahy.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:57 pm

cambrook wrote:BTW- that tour was in 1976, to celebrate the American Bicentennial - and Principal Trombone was Michael Mulcahy.



That makes perfect sense...and wow: MM...I really didn't meet very many of them, because (even though he and another young man were staying at our house) I was working in another jazz band at a brand-new-that-year theme park (long since shuttered) in Memphis called "Libertyland"...me: age 19

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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby russiantuba » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:42 pm

In the past decade, for several years, the tubist for the Columbus (OH) Symphony Orchestra used a Cerveny Piggy...no issue hearing him...
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Three Valves » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:57 pm

"Libertyland"

I like the sound of that!!
Who needs four valves??

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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby EdFirth » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:05 pm

Most of you know that the bore of those Piggys(dubbed that by John Fletcher at Walter Sear's shop and referred to by Walter and the Cerveny company as the Opera Model) is right around .835. It doesn't get much bigger than that. They were designed to be an orchestral sounding tuba for use in limited space. Paul K(Philly) was at Walter's place the day before I went down and he took six with him. I heard him play Finlandia on it and still think it was the best I ever heard from him sound wise. I'm pretty sure that if you handed one to Chester Schmitz or Arnold Jacobs before a concert they would sound like themselves. I think many of us have begun to listen with our eyes in this regard. In today's terminology they are a 5/4 in 3/4 clothing.FWIW, Ed
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:42 pm

Though .835" bore, I found that they were outfitted with the 681 model's .795" bore rotors (except with .835" bore knuckles brazed to the outsides of the .795" bore rotor casings).
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby pjv » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:26 am

So what are the "quality combinations" that help to make the Piggy one of the winners in the tuba world?
Let's say the quality of the build/assembly is a given and that rage doesn't play a part in this.
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Re: A Piggy in an orchestra

Postby Michael Bush » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:59 am

pjv wrote:So what are the "quality combinations" that help to make the Piggy one of the winners in the tuba world?
Let's say the quality of the build/assembly is a given and that rage doesn't play a part in this.


It's a big sounding tuba in a small package.
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