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How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby Tubajug » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:07 pm

For those that have built instruments (particularly in Eb), how much longer is the 5th valve tubing than the first valve? According to Dan's chart he posted years ago, the first valve is approximately 20" of tubing. So if the 5th valve is a flat whole step, about how long would that be? 22? 24? 26 inches? Obviously there will be some experimentation and tweaking when it's all together, but where should I start? Thanks!

Or if people can measure their 5th valves on Eb horns, that would give me a rough idea of where to start.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby iiipopes » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:44 pm

OK. Here's a description of the math so you can sort it out. You first need to know the length of the open bugle. Precisely. Then each half step is 2^(n/12), with n being the number of half steps. As the "long tone" fifth valve is usually used with 4th valve to intone a note a whole step below the 4th valve, first look at 4th valve. The 4th valve is five half-steps lower than the open bugle, making the T+4 seven half steps below the open bugle.

So, the length of the "Long tone" circuit (using B for "bugle" in the equation) is [B multiplied by 2^(7/12)] minus [B multiplied by 2^(5/12)].

Pitch is geometric, not linear. Western tonal music is based on a twelve tone per octave chromatic scale. So each half step has to get progressively higher in pitch going up to double the frequency, or progressively longer for each half step in tubing length going downwards. That is why the 1st valve loop is a tad longer than twice the 2nd valve loop, and so forth.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby Mark Finley » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:52 pm

If you have access to a B-flat tuba, the 5th valve on a & E flat to both will be the same length as the first valve on a B-flat
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby the elephant » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:57 pm

Yes, two ways to think about it.

1. It is first valve plus half (or so, which is why you have a slide) of 2nd valve.
2. It is the first valve of the key your horn is in when 4th valve is depressed.

If you look at it as the second one, a 6th valve (flat half step) would be a half step of the key your horn would be in if 4th is depressed. If you look at 5th as being a compromise in length between 14 and 124 (which it is) then setting up a 6th become a bit weird. I know you are not setting up a 6th. I am just pointing out that *for me* thinking of the 5th on my Monster Eb was simply measuring the 1st loop from a BBb 186. I actually used that valve on it, too.

Eb tuba —> 5th = BBb 1st
Eb tuba —> 6th = BBb 2nd
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby bloke » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:59 pm

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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby roweenie » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:16 pm

IMHO, it's better to err on the short side - you can pull a slide a little if it's too sharp, but you can't push it in if it's too flat.

If, in the future, you decide to make it longer, just make up longer ferrules.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby Tubajug » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:23 pm

Great stuff you guys, thanks!
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby windshieldbug » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:29 am

The real question is: how long do YOU need it to be?
(and if you don’t know, why are you asking?)
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby Tubajug » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:43 am

windshieldbug wrote:The real question is: how long do YOU need it to be?
(and if you don’t know, why are you asking?)


The only 5th valve setup I've ever played was a long whole step (on a CC horn), so that's all I'm familiar with. Now that I'm trying my hand at building a horn, I just decided to go with what I know, but in the key of Eb. Thanks for all the help folks.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby Dan Schultz » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:39 pm

roweenie wrote:IMHO, it's better to err on the short side - you can pull a slide a little if it's too sharp, but you can't push it in if it's too flat.

If, in the future, you decide to make it longer, just make up longer ferrules.


+1
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby bloke » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:13 pm

Dan Schultz wrote:
roweenie wrote:IMHO, it's better to err on the short side - you can pull a slide a little if it's too sharp, but you can't push it in if it's too flat.

If, in the future, you decide to make it longer, just make up longer ferrules.


+1


As long as the tuba in question ain't mine, I wholeheartedly concur with any advice offered.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby SteveP » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:23 pm

iiipopes wrote: . . . Then each half step is 2^(n/12), with n being the number of half steps. As the "long tone" fifth valve is usually used with 4th valve to intone a note a whole step below the 4th valve, first look at 4th valve. The 4th valve is five half-steps lower than the open bugle, making the T+4 seven half steps below the open bugle.

So, the length of the "Long tone" circuit (using B for "bugle" in the equation) is [B multiplied by 2^(7/12)] minus [B multiplied by 2^(5/12)].


Great, but some of us don't have math degrees.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby iiipopes » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:54 pm

SteveP wrote:
iiipopes wrote: . . . Then each half step is 2^(n/12), with n being the number of half steps. As the "long tone" fifth valve is usually used with 4th valve to intone a note a whole step below the 4th valve, first look at 4th valve. The 4th valve is five half-steps lower than the open bugle, making the T+4 seven half steps below the open bugle.

So, the length of the "Long tone" circuit (using B for "bugle" in the equation) is [B multiplied by 2^(7/12)] minus [B multiplied by 2^(5/12)].


Great, but some of us don't have math degrees.

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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby SteveP » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:10 pm

iiipopes wrote:Knowledge is power.

Good one!
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby iiipopes » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:27 am

I don't have a math degree. I just paid attention in high school algebra. And the calculator I use when I want to compute such items, including fret distances on a guitar, golf club lofts, etc., is a TI-30 with a manufacturing date of the 25th week of 1978. Yes, I typed 1978, purchased new for me as a gift for school.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby bloke » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:09 am

When I build circuits, the consideration (neither being whether I'm going to make it too long or two short, as I will do neither) is whether I can both shorten it enough for the shortest applications of that circuit and lengthen it enough for the longest applications of that circuit.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby roweenie » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:31 pm

bloke wrote:When I build circuits, the consideration (neither being whether I'm going to make it too long or two short, as I will do neither) is whether I can both shorten it enough for the shortest applications of that circuit and lengthen it enough for the longest applications of that circuit.


It seems to me that, unless I'm missing something (which is highly likely) this logic dictates that you must calculate to the shortest needed length.

PS - I seem to recall receiving this advice before.......
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby iiipopes » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:35 pm

roweenie wrote:
bloke wrote:When I build circuits, the consideration (neither being whether I'm going to make it too long or two short, as I will do neither) is whether I can both shorten it enough for the shortest applications of that circuit and lengthen it enough for the longest applications of that circuit.


It seems to me that, unless I'm missing something (which is highly likely) this logic dictates that you must calculate to the shortest needed length.


Except that for vagaries of tuning, like some going to A=442, and for temperature extremes, and for other idiosyncratic intonation quirks, like flat fifth partials on many horns, the "shortest" the circuit should be is not just the highest pitch it will be expected to play, but that length less an amount so that if need be the slide can be shoved in, like bloke says, for any one of a number of reasons, or pulled, sometimes as much as two inches or thereabouts, like when I have the upper loop of the 1st valve circuit on a 3-valve souzy made into a slide so that it can be pulled for 1+3 F and C to be in tune.
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby roweenie » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:08 pm

iiipopes wrote:
the "shortest" the circuit should be is not just the highest pitch it will be expected to play, but that length less an amount so that if need be the slide can be shoved in


Good grief, I thought that was what I was saying.

FWIW, I've always approached the 5th valve circuit a sort of a "trial and error" situation. Since its primary function (IMHO) is aiding intonation, you want to lay it out so there are as few compromises as possible.

roweenie "if you don't make the slide short enough to push it in enough to be in tune, the note will be flat"
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Re: How long is a "long whole step?"

Postby iiipopes » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:27 pm

roweenie wrote:Good grief, I thought that was what I was saying.

Probably so. I was thinking of my own BBb tubas tending to play 3rd space C flat and not being able to do anything about it until I got the 1st valve circuit shortened a tad, but not so much my souzy couldn't pull for 1+3 C and low F in tune.
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