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Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby Dave Detwiler » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:08 am

Hi all - in my ongoing study of giant tubas, I have come across a fascinating description of a tuba built by F. Besson in 1889 for the Paris Exposition that year, and dubbed "La Prodigieuse."

It is first mentioned in the June 1889 edition of The British Bandsman, which refers to its nickname, and declares that the instrument is "fourteen feet high, bell upwards."

Less than two years later, this gigantic tuba was in the US, according to the April 11, 1891 edition of the Biloxi Herald, which is actually reprinting an article from The Continent of New York (and I assume "belt" should read "bell"):

1891-04-11 Biloxi Herald 1 (helicon paragraph) p. 3.JPG
1891-04-11 Biloxi Herald 1 (helicon paragraph) p. 3.JPG (146.18 KiB) Viewed 1096 times


What I have been unable to find is an image of this giant. Please let me know if you have any additional information about "La Prodigieuse," and esp. of you know of a photo or drawing of it. Thanks!
Played an F. E. Olds 4-valve BBb in high school (late '70s)
Led the USC Trojan Marching Band tuba section (early '80s)
Now playing an F. Schmidt (=VMI) 3301 and goofing around
on a 1927 Pan American 64K Sousaphone Grand
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Re: Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby KiltieTuba » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:44 pm

Do you think it's the Amati FFF?
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Re: Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby Dave Detwiler » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:15 am

KiltieTuba wrote:Do you think it's the Amati FFF?


Do you mean this tuba?

1976 Guinness Book of World Records, p. 220 (photo only) - Copy.jpg
1976 Guinness Book of World Records, p. 220 (photo only) - Copy.jpg (141.81 KiB) Viewed 882 times


If so, I don't think so, as initial evidence suggests that it was built by Bohland & Fuchs somewhere around 1912 - and it is only (!) 7 1/2 feet tall.
Played an F. E. Olds 4-valve BBb in high school (late '70s)
Led the USC Trojan Marching Band tuba section (early '80s)
Now playing an F. Schmidt (=VMI) 3301 and goofing around
on a 1927 Pan American 64K Sousaphone Grand
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Re: Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby marccromme » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:23 pm

Bumblebee flight on the giant tuba wirth Prof. Jörg Wachsmuth (Melton Tuba Quartett)... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8DV3cP ... e=youtu.be

build in 2012 in Marktneukirchen, 8 feet tall .. https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/la ... gest-tuba/
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Re: Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby hrender » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:37 pm

Might be this one or related to it as this one is "only" 8 feet tall. I've not heard of one 14 feet tall.

http://www.oddmusic.com/gallery/om14710.html

Image
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Re: Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby Dave Detwiler » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:15 pm

Last call for any information about this 14 foot beast of a tuba from 1889!

Also, hrender, the tuba you are showing above is very similar in layout to the giant Besson tuba at Harvard, but I'm told it is not a functioning horn (valves are fake). As you may be aware, it is at the Horniman Museum in London.
Played an F. E. Olds 4-valve BBb in high school (late '70s)
Led the USC Trojan Marching Band tuba section (early '80s)
Now playing an F. Schmidt (=VMI) 3301 and goofing around
on a 1927 Pan American 64K Sousaphone Grand
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Re: Tall tale, or largest tuba of all time?!

Postby marccromme » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:50 pm

I have seen this one on display in the music museum in Marktneukirchen, Germany: https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/pi ... gest-tuba/

... and in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMq_tKtRZ5s
Yamaha YEB-321 Eb 4v TA tuba
Meinl-Weston 2141 Eb 5v FA tuba
Hirsbrunner Bb 3v TA compensated euph
Wessex Dolce Bb 3+1v TA compensated euph
Alto/tenor/bass trombones in various sizes/plugs
marccromme
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Posts: 189
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:42 pm
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