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Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:40 pm

I sort of thought the publishing industry might become a little more flexible once brass bands 'caught on' in the US a few decades back. However... I don't know of any publishing houses that specialize in traditional British brass band music who routinely offer bass clef tuba parts for their arrangements. I DO read both BBb and Eb tuba music and therefore have a good understanding of the relationship and reasoning for the different clefs. I can play tuba music written in treble clef. I play in many different groups (seven days a week)... but six days are spent in the 'bass clef World'.

I TOTALLY understand the reluctance of the British publishers (tradition, I guess) to add bass clef parts to their offerings but in this day of electronic publishing it would only take few mouse clicks away to also offer bass clef tuba parts. Several of the US publishing companies have figured out that music is an International market and offer 'World Parts' for their concert band selections.

I'm getting a little tired of being in a panic to get bass clef parts transposed for concerts and competitions.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby SteveP » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:54 pm

How about just asking (maybe insisting) that those tuba players who don't read treble clef learn it? We all know that it wouldn't take long and the Eb players already have a head start because of the similarity of treble clef to Eb fingerings on bass clef. Just a thought .............
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Donn » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:18 pm

Or we could just say no, to British Brass Band. Not really meaning to put that forward as any more of an answer to the question, but ... if I wanted to play in a British Brass Band, that would put me in the position of having to learn a reading transposition for which I'd have no other use. That's practically the definition of "waste of my time."
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Lectron » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:25 pm

TBH, I would really like the Publishers /composers to add parts in C as well.... And maybe the BBb part in bass Clef 8va to keep it in staff.

My head gets intonational confused jumping between different tubas and different notations
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:42 pm

SteveP wrote:How about just asking (maybe insisting) that those tuba players who don't read treble clef learn it? We all know that it wouldn't take long and the Eb players already have a head start because of the similarity of treble clef to Eb fingerings on bass clef. Just a thought .............


Steve... I'm not looking for an argument here. I DO read treble clef and also play Eb tuba pretty well. I'm simply saying that the publishers of brass band music would expand their horizon a bit more if they offered a little more flexibility.

I doubt there is ANY chance grade schools will ever cease to teach bass clef.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Voisi1ev » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:45 pm

Wait, didn't we win the revolutionary war?
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Sam Gnagey » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:47 pm

Get the original treble clef Arban and take on a new challenge. If you're too fossilized or too "busy" to learn a new playing skill, you have my pity. I've done a lot of transposition for the foot-draggers in our band. They are the weakest players and it's a real pain in the butt catering to them. Fortunately there's only two left, and I won't do transpositions for them any more. I have all of my students get their Arban in treble clef. That sets them up to play E-flat tuba and lots of other literature only available in treble clef.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Ken Herrick » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:03 pm

Dan's comment is quite valid and publishers are potentially missing out.

A major consideration is that many people are playing just for the fun and don't spend hours each day practicing and thus are not too likely to do a lot of new learning. Why make things difficult when more people would be enjoying the product if unnecessary complications were eliminated.

I agree that for students and more "serious" amateurs learning treble clef is well worth it.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:08 pm

Sam Gnagey wrote:Get the original treble clef Arban and take on a new challenge. If you're too fossilized or too "busy" to learn a new playing skill, you have my pity.....


Yes, Sam. I am too 'fossilized' to learn a new playing skill. AND.... I don't need (or want) your pity. You totally missed my point. I DO read treble clef but I prefer to stick with bass clef since that's The World I live in most of the time.

I would think as a professional and a teacher you would be above a comment like that!
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby SteveP » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:54 pm

Dan Schultz wrote: . . . . I DO read both BBb and Eb tuba music and therefore have a good understanding of the relationship and reasoning for the different clefs. I can play tuba music written in treble clef. . . . .

. . . . I'm getting a little tired of being in a panic to get bass clef parts transposed for concerts and competitions.

Dan, I wasn't trying to be argumentative at all, sorry you took it that way. I thought from the way your original post was worded that you are comfortable with treble clef but, at the last minute, were expected to provide bass clef parts for other tuba players in your section. I do agree that with today's technology it wouldn't be much trouble to provide the music in both clefs and maybe the publishers should think about doing that. Probably a matter of tradition for them. Who knows why they do what they do?
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:35 pm

SteveP wrote:....
Dan, I wasn't trying to be argumentative at all, sorry you took it that way. I thought from the way your original post was worded that you are comfortable with treble clef but, at the last minute, were expected to provide bass clef parts for other tuba players in your section. I do agree that with today's technology it wouldn't be much trouble to provide the music in both clefs and maybe the publishers should think about doing that. Probably a matter of tradition for them. Who knows why they do what they do?


No problem. Yes... the treble clef thing IS just a matter if tradition and really needs to change if brass banding is expected to grow in the USA. Either that or drop teaching bass clef to beginning band students.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby tofu » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:58 pm

Dan Schultz wrote:
SteveP wrote:....
Dan, I wasn't trying to be argumentative at all, sorry you took it that way. I thought from the way your original post was worded that you are comfortable with treble clef but, at the last minute, were expected to provide bass clef parts for other tuba players in your section. I do agree that with today's technology it wouldn't be much trouble to provide the music in both clefs and maybe the publishers should think about doing that. Probably a matter of tradition for them. Who knows why they do what they do?


No problem. Yes... the treble clef thing IS just a matter if tradition and really needs to change if brass banding is expected to grow in the USA. Either that or drop teaching bass clef to beginning band students.


I totally agree with you. While it is not a problem for me personally, it seems insane that the publishers would be blind to such a large untapped market -especially since it would not require much effort on their part. If they are stuck on tradition then they must not like selling stuff/making money/ and or are just incompetent business folks (and a lot of businesses in the music industry fall in that category).

There are lots of community and schools groups who I think would jumped at the chance to start adding this literature to their groups on an ongoing fashion and building a real library of it. But this idea that you are going to get a lot of folks in these groups to become proficient at reading it in treble cleff is nuts and thus none of these groups will buy or play the music. And schools in the US simply are not going to drop teaching bass clef to beginning students.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby AndyCat » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:43 am

Contact the publishers? I'm pretty sure no one has ever asked them. So go ahead, they won't do anything unless they're asked!
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Tampaworth » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:42 am

I know it would eliminate the headache for otherwise accomplished players not as nimble (or who would just like to relax more) in the brain, but more and more unaccomplished players would then join the ranks of Brass Band players, maybe detracting from the art form here in the US. I see it as a rite of passage. You want to play Brass Band rep, you've got to belly up to the bar to take on the TC headache and or challenge.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby J.Harris » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:51 am

I read treble clef naturally as I started my musical education playing cornet, then euphonium TC then BC then tuba. But I don't own a BBflat tuba and transposing the parts on the fly is a little annoying. If the publishers included bass clef tuba parts, it would benefit us yankees with CC and F tubas.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Dan Schultz » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:34 am

UPDATE...

I sent an email through the BullaMusic website and Stephen Bulla personally responded with .pdf files for bass clef parts for Eb and BBb tubas for the NABBA Second Section test piece "Frontier Visions". He asked that the parts be shared with the rest of the tuba community. Email me directly at danschultz@wowway.com and I'll send you the parts.

Hats off to Stephen Bulla!
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby hup_d_dup » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:30 am

SteveP wrote: I do agree that with today's technology it wouldn't be much trouble to provide the music in both clefs and maybe the publishers should think about doing that. Probably a matter of tradition for them. Who knows why they do what they do?


They know why they do what they do. Publishing brass band music is not particularly profitable, and now that we have pdfs flying through the internet, it's probably difficult to make any profit at all.

Most published brass band music has been hand-written or conventionally engraved. Although it is simple to change key or clef in a digital file, it is very time-consuming to key in the original work.

AndyCat wrote:Contact the publishers? I'm pretty sure no one has ever asked them. So go ahead, they won't do anything unless they're asked!


I know for a fact that at least two have been asked (by me), and they explained the economics to me. My guess is they all have considered it. Publishers are not stupid; like any other business people they are always looking for a potential market . . . if it can be profitable.

Dan Schultz wrote:UPDATE...

I sent an email through the BullaMusic website and Stephen Bulla personally responded with .pdf files for bass clef parts for Eb and BBb tubas for the NABBA Second Section test piece "Frontier Visions". He asked that the parts be shared with the rest of the tuba community. Email me directly at danschultz@wowway.com and I'll send you the parts.

Hats off to Stephen Bulla!


This is the only way to get it done. If you love brass band music and it's important to you, key in the files and make them available for free. It's a labour of love. Don't complain if someone else doesn't do it for you.

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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby TheGoyWonder » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:17 am

I'd really like to see the british and salvationist conventions set by the wayside for brass band. they were great as a crutch for getting the brass band movement started in USA, but it's time for some evolution. The most obvious problems are the lameness of tenor horns compared to french horns or even mellphones, weird scoring where cornets are playing low brass parts, too many octaves and 3-octaves and fifths (and worse) between tubas where 98% unison is better, waste of 2 players playing baritone an inaudible instrument...
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Voisi1ev » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:47 am

Maybe I'm just like punishing myself, but I've always thought playing the treble parts was part of the fun. I've been playing in a group since last March. Start on a Bb horn which wasn't too big of a deal. My C is nicer though so I've been slogging through parts on that recently.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Teubonium » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:25 pm

Seventy years ago I started on cornet so treble clef was my first clef. Then went to baritone reading TC. When I added trombone in 10th grade, I learned bass clef. Also played sousaphone in marching band at that time. Most of my high school and college career and post college concert band was on euphonium where my book typically had a mix of both clefs.
I've been playing tuba in concert band for about 4 years and I am uncomfortable with all those notes on ledger lines below the staff. I've been playing tuba in brass band for several years, both Bb and Eb and I much prefer reading tuba music in treble clef. Most of the music fits neatly into the staff and what little below staff stuff I do not find difficult (probably due to my cornet/euph TC experience).

The purpose of all trble clef in brass bands is to make it easy to switch between Eb and Bb instruments always using "trumpet" fingerings.

Learning both clefs is no big deal! After all, piano players play both at the same time!

Learn treble clef and expand your musical experience. It doesn't take that long.

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