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How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Doc » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:01 am

We have a variety of terms we use to describe the different attributes of the tuba sound (ex: dark, pillowy, core, vibrant, fundamental, buoyant, lots of presence, pointed, etc.). Some of these terms make sense to all of us, some are a bit ambiguous, but usually we tuba players know what other tuba players are trying to say.

I've always wondered how other people would describe the various nuances of tuba sound. If I hear any comments, they are usually "big," "strong," and "great." Well, I hope they aren't just saying "great" out of sympathy and courtesy. :mrgreen:

So... Last night I was trying a mouthpiece (Miraphone TU43) I just received on loan to test on the Kaiser. After a bit of acclimation, I did an A/B test with it and my own Laskey 30Ge (it works the best out of what I own). After a few minutes, I asked my wife to come in and offer her pianist "NON-tubist" observations.

Her comments on the 30Ge:
- It sounds crisper
- The low notes don't seem to start very easy
- You'd probably want that sound to play a solo or something alone
- The tone is not that smooth
- The high notes seem to come out a little easier

TU43:
- It sounds fuller
- The sound is smoother
- The low notes sound good and they seem to start better
- Your notes seem better in tune
- It has a rounder sound, a lot of bottom
- It sounds like a sound that is correct for a band or group.
- It sounds more like you

(For the record, the TU43 is much deeper than the 30Ge, has a 9mm bore vs. 8.2mm, and the cup shape is different.)

I thought it was interesting how she described the sound, and for the most part, I think I understood what she meant. I didn't ask for clarification, except for the "It sounds like you." She said the Kaiser/TU43 combo sounds like me when I play my F tuba - same sound quality, but a lot bigger. She said the Kaiser sounds like a huge big brother to the F tuba with that mouthpiece.
Anyway, I think I'll continue this experiment with some other folks (and other mp's as they become available for trial).

Maybe I'm weird, maybe I'm just a tuba nerd, but I sometimes find it funny how we get so worked up about gear, nomenclature, design, and even how we describe our own sounds. Heck, I do, too! I love it. I thought it would be interesting to hear what the non-tubists might describe what we often fret and froth over to accurately describe to the smallest minutiae. I'd be interested in hearing your experiences with the comments of others.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby TheTuba » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:42 am

Doc wrote:We have a variety of terms we use to describe the different attributes of the tuba sound (ex: dark, pillowy, core, vibrant, fundamental, buoyant, lots of presence, pointed, etc.). Some of these terms make sense to all of us, some are a bit ambiguous, but usually we tuba players know what other tuba players are trying to say.

I've always wondered how other people would describe the various nuances of tuba sound. If I hear any comments, they are usually "big," "strong," and "great." Well, I hope they aren't just saying "great" out of sympathy and courtesy. :mrgreen:

So... Last night I was trying a mouthpiece (Miraphone TU43) I just received on loan to test on the Kaiser. After a bit of acclimation, I did an A/B test with it and my own Laskey 30Ge (it works the best out of what I own). After a few minutes, I asked my wife to come in and offer her pianist "NON-tubist" observations.

Her comments on the 30Ge:
- It sounds crisper
- The low notes don't seem to start very easy
- You'd probably want that sound to play a solo or something alone
- The tone is not that smooth
- The high notes seem to come out a little easier

TU43:
- It sounds fuller
- The sound is smoother
- The low notes sound good and they seem to start better
- Your notes seem better in tune
- It has a rounder sound, a lot of bottom
- It sounds like a sound that is correct for a band or group.
- It sounds more like you

(For the record, the TU43 is much deeper than the 30Ge, has a 9mm bore vs. 8.2mm, and the cup shape is different.)

I thought it was interesting how she described the sound, and for the most part, I think I understood what she meant. I didn't ask for clarification, except for the "It sounds like you." She said the Kaiser/TU43 combo sounds like me when I play my F tuba - same sound quality, but a lot bigger. She said the Kaiser sounds like a huge big brother to the F tuba with that mouthpiece.
Anyway, I think I'll continue this experiment with some other folks (and other mp's as they become available for trial).

Maybe I'm weird, maybe I'm just a tuba nerd, but I sometimes find it funny how we get so worked up about gear, nomenclature, design, and even how we describe our own sounds. Heck, I do, too! I love it. I thought it would be interesting to hear what the non-tubists might describe what we often fret and froth over to accurately describe to the smallest minutiae. I'd be interested in hearing your experiences with the comments of others.


I don't ask other tubists how I sound. (I used to a few months ago)
I ask different people whose musical talent I respect to judge me.
What tubists think sound "good" enough to not comment on them, different people give often VERY HELPFUL comments that often makes us say "Wow, I really did do that?"
:tuba:

EDIT:
For example, one time someone said that I didn't sound like myself anymore.
This was a big deal, because I supply 100% of the sound to my band, and any rumblings in the foundation could bring the whole thing down.
I lugged over a King 2341, a relativley recent Mira 186, and a old Mira 186 whose sound made me wiggle of joy, but had really sucky valves.
King 2341
Sound too overblown
Big sound
Sounds aggressive
Tuning not right

Old Mira 186
Best sound
Valves to clunky
Tuning not right low

Mira 186
Very good sound
Valves are quite
Tuning good

That's how I switched from king 2341 toMira 186.

I believe this helped me win 1st chair 1st band in my new high school band. (In our district, you go physically to a high school at 10th grade, while other places you go physically in 9th. That's why it was a big deal)
Last edited by TheTuba on Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Tom » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:49 am

Honestly, I very rarely receive any comments about how the tuba sounds. Most comments are about how it looks, i.e. "that's big" or "that must be heavy" or "I played baritone in high school" and so on...

Back to sound, I've convinced myself that no news is good news. :lol:

Seems that if it sucked, somebody would say something...yes? :?:
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby lost » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:53 am

http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=61746

I tried a similar thread 4 years ago. Kinda funny looking back!
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Doc » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:14 am

Tom wrote:Honestly, I very rarely receive any comments about how the tuba sounds. Most comments are about how it looks, i.e. "that's big" or "that must be heavy" or "I played baritone in high school" and so on...


These are likely the most frequent tuba-related comments. I also often get, "Don't you wish you played _______ (piccolo, flute, harmonica)?" My default response is, "Why in the hell would I want to?" Followed by, "If I played _____, I'd be depressed, and I wouldn't get any work."
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Doc » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:17 am

lost wrote:http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=61746

I tried a similar thread 4 years ago. Kinda funny looking back!


Some of that is pure gold. And some is a little more brown. :shock: But I like it! 8) 8) 8)
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Voisi1ev » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:33 pm

Elemantary kids usually tell me is sounds like farts.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Dan Tuba » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:50 pm

From my experience,most people describe the tuba “sound” with regards to your level of execution in the following areas: Intonation, Time, Rhythmic Accuracy, Clarity, and Dynamic contrast. Most people don’t seem to care what tuba or Sousaphone you are using to provide a foundation for an ensemble or performing a solo. Just as long as the player provides a “sound” with a high execution level in all of the areas listed above. With that said, people do notice that “deep and wide” sound of a 6/4 tuba and the awesome pedal tones that we tuba players sometimes add at the end of Bach organ transcriptions for band :tuba:
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby bloke » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:07 pm

These three terms...
- flabby
- unfocused
- late
...are usually pretty safe.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Doc » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:25 pm

bloke wrote:These three terms...
- flabby
- unfocused
- late
...are usually pretty safe.


Is that describing the sound or the player? :tuba:
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Dan Tuba » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:41 pm

Doc wrote:
bloke wrote:These three terms...
- flabby
- unfocused
- late
...are usually pretty safe.


Is that describing the sound or the player? :tuba:


That’s too funny!!
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby circusboy » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:53 pm

Doc wrote:Her comments on the 30Ge:
- It sounds crisper
- The low notes don't seem to start very easy
- You'd probably want that sound to play a solo or something alone
- The tone is not that smooth
- The high notes seem to come out a little easier

TU43:
- It sounds fuller
- The sound is smoother
- The low notes sound good and they seem to start better
- Your notes seem better in tune
- It has a rounder sound, a lot of bottom
- It sounds like a sound that is correct for a band or group.
- It sounds more like you



I think what she said is really clear and helpful. Possibly less clear to you because it's coming from your wife?
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Doc » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:00 pm

circusboy wrote:
I think what she said is really clear and helpful. Possibly less clear to you because it's coming from your wife?


I found her non-tubist terminology/descriptors to be interesting and helpful (even thought-provoking), but I think they were very accurate compared to my observations under the bell and my less-than-stellar-quality iPhone recordings.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby swillafew » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:10 am

I got a comment from a teacher once about "making pretty noises" when he implored me to "put some air into that thing". My wife is a good musician and reminds me this way:
If she comes home and can hear me outside the house, she comes in smiling and says "It sounds like you're putting some air into that thing". If I am playing in the basement she gives me a good report card if she can feel it as well as hear it.
Adjectives are pretty hard to come by otherwise.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby hup_d_dup » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:38 am

This is how non-tubists describe the sound of tubas they have heard:

99.0% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . no comment
0.5% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . good
0.5% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . not so good

Hup
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Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby TheDancingSousa » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:39 pm

After hearing a number of tuba players in a variety of circumstances, my girlfriend has decided that all tubas sound like, "sad elephants." In her mind, what has been classified as better tuba performances sounds like sadder elephants. Take that for what it's worth.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby Doc » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:22 am

TheDancingSousa wrote:After hearing a number of tuba players in a variety of circumstances, my girlfriend has decided that all tubas sound like, "sad elephants." In her mind, what has been classified as better tuba performances sounds like sadder elephants. Take that for what it's worth.


:shock:
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby toobagrowl » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:41 pm

You may or may not be surprised how similar we describe tuba sounds like pianists describe the different sound of pianos or bass players different basses. At least that's what I've noticed :idea:
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Re: How Others Describe the Tuba Sound

Postby nworbekim » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:31 am

the comments i hear are positive... "big sound", "full" etc... and everyone is appreciative. this past season in one group, they had found (thought they had) another tubist and the conductor wanted me to play euph so we could do some of the Holst things. the first rehearsal, the other guy didn't show and about a half hour into the rehearsal everyone was begging me to go back to the tuba. i had it in the car since i'd played it in another group the night before... so they may NOT say much, but they CAN'T live without us :D

as it turned out, the other guy didn't show up for ANY rehearsals, but DID show up for the program... i was "perturbed"
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