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Question to ponder

Postby TWScott283 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:05 am

If the professional tuba-playing community prefers CC to BBb, why do our schools teach BBb?
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby tubaphillips » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:15 am

You're just talkin' about american classical tuba players, who are still divided on BBb vs CC. You're also excluding the brass band community, which is overwhelmingly BBb, mostly sousaphone. (I'm one of the weirdos who plays his CC in brass bands). I'd say the global market prefers BBb. Hell, I'd even argue that there's a bigger market for F tubas than CC tubas. In fact, if I were a bettin' man I'd put down money that says CC is the LEAST popular style of tuba at the moment.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby TWScott283 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:38 am

Great point - Yeah, I need to refine my question...but you get at the heart of my question. Maybe, in US, it's a case where the education standard is behind the process slightly?
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby tubaphillips » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:46 am

It's purely economic. Most educators have strained budgets as it is. BBb tubas are the most plentiful in the market and most widely produced. They're the best bang for your buck. If CC tubas were significantly cheaper and easier to find than BBb tubas we'd all be using CC
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby windshieldbug » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:21 pm

TWScott283 wrote:If the professional tuba-playing community prefers CC to BBb, why do our schools teach BBb?


Same reason schools teach Bb trumpets and not C's...
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby Dan Bradley » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:31 pm

Another reason I would say is that all of the other brass concert band instruments are in Bb, except for horn. So if a player switches from baritone, then the fingerings are the same, just an octave down. I agree that the BBb tuba doesn't get enough love in the U.S., though I play CC.

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Re: Question to ponder

Postby TUbajohn20J » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:36 pm

I own 3 tubas and they're all in BBb. A 6/4, 3/4, and sousa. Just didn't see a need to switch to CC like you're "supposed to do after high school". Nobody ever cared because I sounded good. Not even sure many people noticed. For the big stuff and concert band settings I use the 6/4. For solos and anything where I would need to play high for long periods or have a brighter sound, I'd use the 3/4 because you can really make those sing like an F or Eb horn. Key is not really a big deal like a lot of people make it out to be.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby bloke » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:53 pm

A well-thought-of band director stated to me - around fifteen years ago - that was a "Bb band director", meaning that he taught and emphasized the basics.

A "racing" bike may not be the best for a grocery delivery boy.

Squirrelly-pitch C tubas may not be the best for school use (just because they cost more), difficult-to-control "short-bore" bassoons (just because they cost more) may not be the best for school use, and (hmm...) even wood clarinets, wood bass clarinets, wood piccolos, and wood oboes (just because they cost more) may not be the best for school use. F-attachment trombones and double horns (with delicate little stuff on them that breaks easily) may not be the best for marching bands.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby Mark » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:07 pm

TWScott283 wrote:If the professional tuba-playing community prefers CC to BBb, why do our schools teach BBb?


One of the implications of this question is our public schools (K-12) should be preparing tuba players for professional positions. I would think 99.999% of all tuba players never go on to be professionals. Since the cost of CC tubas is considerably more, on average, than BBb tubas, it would be financially irresponsible for schools to purchase CC tubas. For those that want to be professional tuba players, it is very likely they will be asked to switch to CC when entering college or a conservatory. If those students are serious, making the switch will not be that difficult and they will retain their BBb skills for marching band (scholarship money) and teaching tuba to public school students.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby JasonBaker » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:01 pm

How did the tradition of American professional tuba players using CC instruments even get started? I always heard the reason to use them was easier fingering in keys that orchestras use, but you still end up with awkward fingerings at some point. Was there a particular player or teacher that made CC more popular for professionals?
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby doublebuzzing » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:08 pm

Because BBb tubas are just as capable as CC tubas and the majority of band pieces played are more favorable to BBb over CC.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby tofu » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:17 pm

CC tubas in general offer faster response. BBb tubas in general offer much better intonation. Seems to me that school groups struggle far more with intonation than they do with needing a slightly faster response out of the tuba section. A section of new style King 2341's for example offer pretty much point and shoot intonation without a lot slide pulling and pretty good response. Same would be true of a section of Miraphone 186's. That would be pretty hard too match price wise with CC tubas. Plus you have a legacy issue with BBb Sousaphones - how many band directors are going to want to have to teach all his tuba players to be fluent in both fingerings. Has anybody yet made a CC sousaphone with great intonation and sound?
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby roweenie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:11 pm

Trumpets = Bb

Trombones = Bb

Baritones/euphoniums = Bb

Sousaphones = Bb

Band pieces = flat keys

The overwhelming majority of kids in school music programs don't move on to professional music careers.

Many beginning instrumental music teachers have group classes, often teaching several different instruments at once.

You'll also notice that E flat tuba is no longer the beginner instrument of choice (as it was for me, back in the dark ages). Maybe the above statement is the reason for this, as well.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby The Big Ben » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:29 pm

roweenie wrote:You'll also notice that E flat tuba is no longer the beginner instrument of choice (as it was for me, back in the dark ages). Maybe the above statement is the reason for this, as well.


I've been told that the Eb was the "beginner's tuba" because it was easy to move a treble-clef reading, trumpet fingering player over to the tuba. Starting on a BBb tuba, a trumpet player needs to learn new fingerings and clef. But, I suppose, if they are going to progress past a peashooter Eb, they will need to learn BBb fingerings and the bass clef anyway so may as well do it all at once and be done with it. It's not really easy but it's not really hard, either.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby Donn » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:37 pm

JasonBaker wrote:How did the tradition of American professional tuba players using CC instruments even get started?


Is that a fact - American professional tuba players? How many of the professional tuba players in America never do orchestra gigs, and maybe never got on the C train? Always been somewhat curious about this, as it seems there could not be much money in playing classical music on the tuba.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby roweenie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:10 pm

The Big Ben wrote:
roweenie wrote:You'll also notice that E flat tuba is no longer the beginner instrument of choice (as it was for me, back in the dark ages). Maybe the above statement is the reason for this, as well.


I've been told that the Eb was the "beginner's tuba" because it was easy to move a treble-clef reading, trumpet fingering player over to the tuba. Starting on a BBb tuba, a trumpet player needs to learn new fingerings and clef. But, I suppose, if they are going to progress past a peashooter Eb, they will need to learn BBb fingerings and the bass clef anyway so may as well do it all at once and be done with it. It's not really easy but it's not really hard, either.


This may be true for some, but it wasn't my personal experience. I started on cornet (4th grade), but when I switched to baritone (5th grade), my music teacher taught me bass clef. Then, when I was switched to E flat tuba (6th grade), I had to learn new fingerings yet again. Then, when I switched to BB flat tuba (7th grade), I had to learn those fingerings (talk about confusion..... :cry: )
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby JasonBaker » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:18 am

Donn wrote:
JasonBaker wrote:How did the tradition of American professional tuba players using CC instruments even get started?


Is that a fact - American professional tuba players? How many of the professional tuba players in America never do orchestra gigs, and maybe never got on the C train? Always been somewhat curious about this, as it seems there could not be much money in playing classical music on the tuba.


I didn't think that was a controversial statement. Anyone I have ever met that played tuba for money played a CC instrument. I know it's entirely possible to play professionally with a BBb instrument in the US and there are people doing it. It seems like a lot of people in the US that want to play professionally end up on a CC instrument.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby Kirley » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:14 pm

I'm one of the "professional tuba players" that never do orchestra gigs. Also, I've never even played a CC tuba. Nor do I have any interest in learning new fingerings. I'm more than happy with the Bb fingerings which very easily translate to baritone/euphonium/flugabone fingerings, trombone slide positions, and transposed trumpet fingerings (which I use while reading trumpet music and pretending its tenor clef).

But to be perfectly honest, I'm a sousaphone player. Not a tuba player. I'm much more closely related to the world of bass players than "American professional tuba players". A CC tuba would move me a whole step in the wrong direction. :)
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby bloke » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:22 pm

I've seen a whole bunch of "band pieces" (quasi-music that is more self-interested in difficulty level than musical interest) that are centered are D sonority (neither major nor minor) and many others that seem centered around some sort of F sonority. Those tend to pieces "lay" equally well on 18'-bugle and 16'-bugle tubas.

Just fwiw (though I enjoy some income from these endeavors), it's my view that schools buy too many tubas and tubas that are too fancy. Many school-owned 4-rotary tubas' (a style of tuba with which band directors seem enamored - being traced back to the 1960's and the explosion of "Mirafone") fourth rotors are frozen stuck. Many band directors buy TWO tubas for every student - one for school and one for home (due to the students being bused which is often unnecessary, dates back to forced racial integration - in areas where there are no longer even two races of people living there to "integrate", and rules about "no tubas on buses"). Some middle schools' directors bend over backwards to get more "3/4 tubas" when they have two or three beautiful-condition Conn 36K sousaphones sitting in their storage rooms with less than a normal year's wear on them.

As schools do buy tubas (and yes, I make money of the sale off a few of them, but also pay the taxes that buy them...along with a whole bunch of other fancy school equipment - now supplied in other fields of study), I prefer that schools buy Bb tubas, because they are CHEAPER than C tubas...and I also prefer that schools buy THREE-VALVE Bb tubas, because they are cheaper than 4-valve tubas.
The best thing for schools to do is to buy a bunch of sousaphones (and not bright silver, which is a ridiculously difficult-to-maintain finish) for use BOTH outdoors and indoors. This is what my high school (1950's, 1960's, 1970's) did...at least before (simultaneously) that school super-loaded-up on all sorts of equipment (from laptops to concert tubas) while the student body's percentage of outright dangerous people grew so high that no responsible parent should consider sending their children there.

3-valve sousaphones:
- are 5/4 or 6/4 tubas...They just happen to be wearable.
- were used (yes, probably 4-valve) in Sousa's band.
- are available with four valves - Jupiter, Jinbao, Weril, Conn
- play double-low Eb, D, Db, C, etc...just fine, because of "privilege (false) tones".
- are so easy to "lip" that 1-3 C and 1-2-3 B can be pulled way down to pitch by most players...assuming the rest of the band is anywhere close to being in tune.
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Re: Question to ponder

Postby The Big Ben » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:59 pm

roweenie wrote:
The Big Ben wrote:
roweenie wrote:You'll also notice that E flat tuba is no longer the beginner instrument of choice (as it was for me, back in the dark ages). Maybe the above statement is the reason for this, as well.


I've been told that the Eb was the "beginner's tuba" because it was easy to move a treble-clef reading, trumpet fingering player over to the tuba. Starting on a BBb tuba, a trumpet player needs to learn new fingerings and clef. But, I suppose, if they are going to progress past a peashooter Eb, they will need to learn BBb fingerings and the bass clef anyway so may as well do it all at once and be done with it. It's not really easy but it's not really hard, either.


This may be true for some, but it wasn't my personal experience. I started on cornet (4th grade), but when I switched to baritone (5th grade), my music teacher taught me bass clef. Then, when I was switched to E flat tuba (6th grade), I had to learn new fingerings yet again. Then, when I switched to BB flat tuba (7th grade), I had to learn those fingerings (talk about confusion..... :cry: )


I started on trumpet and then played the baritone (treble clef) then to the F horn. I didn't play BBb tuba until much, much later. I think the pedagogy of trumpet to Eb tuba was common at one time. If I knew baritone (bass clef) it would have been a drop kick to take up the BBb tuba. But, we do what we do and we does what we does.

I have the fingerings for trumpet drilled deeply in my head and have often wondered how easy it would be for me to take up a CC tuba by using my trumpet fingerings (most of them) and reading the bass clef directly as note names not "lines and spaces". I haven't had the opportunity to try a CC tuba and it's more for curiosity than anything else. If I was offered a screaming deal on a CC tuba which was a 4/4 or larger and better than what I already have, I'd consider it. I play a 3/4 BBb horn in a small amateur orchestra and it's "just right" for the situation. I also am in the tuba section of a 75 piece concert band and a 4/4 or larger horn would be nice but I'm hanging in there with my 3/4 and the other two guys have 5/4 and a 6/4 so nobody hears my mistakes quite like they hear theirs. ;)
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