Tuba English

The Tuba is the most powerful organ stop. While some authorities describe this chorus reed as a large-scaled Trumpet, others characterize its tone as being more “closed” than that of the Trumpet. Indeed, Bonavia-Hunt states that some Tubas are close-toned, while others are free-toned in the French manner. The closed-toned variety was developed in England, first introduced in 1825 under the name Ophicleide by William Hill, and later perfected by Henry Willis. The tone of the Tuba depends on a relatively high wind pressure, not merely to produce sheer volume, but to develop the smoothness of tone that characterizes the best examples of this stop. A minimum of 8" to 10" of wind is required, and higher pressures are common. It is constructed in the manner of a large-scale Trumpet, though often with closed shallots. Double-length resonators are often used, even triple-length in the treble (see Harmonic Tuba). It is most commonly found at 8' pitch.

The illustration on the right shows a treble pipe, the one on the left a top-octave pipe. Both are from Wedgwood.


Bass Tuba
Contra Tuba
Double Tuba
Harmonic Tuba
Octave Tuba
Orchestral Tuba
          Solo Tuba
Tuba Clarion
Tuba d'Amour
Tuba Harmonic
Tuba Horn
Tuba Imperial
          Tuba Magna
Tuba Major
Tuba Minor
Tuba Mirabilis
Tuba Profunda
          Tuba Profundissima
Tuba Quint
Tuba Shofar
Tuba Sonora
Tuba Trumpet


Osiris contains about 130 examples of Tuba (not counting its variants). Nearly three quarters of them are at 8' pitch, one fifth at 16', a handful at 4', and two at 32'.

Tuba 8', Solo; Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA; Hook 1864. This is the earliest known example of this name.

Tuba 32', Pedal; St. Fridolins, Münster, Bad Säckingen, Germany; Klais 1993.

Tuba 32', Pedal; Herz Jesu Kirche, Aschaffenburg, Germany; Vleugels 1995.

Sound Clips

Would you like to hear what a Tuba stop sounds like?

For as little as $10 (US), you can sponsor a page in this Encyclopedia, and help purchase more sound samples!


Adlung[1]: §202 Tromba. Audsley[1]: Tuba. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Tuba; II.XXXVIII Tuba. Bonavia-Hunt[1]: Tuba. Grove[1]: Tuba. Irwin[1]: Tuba. Locher[1]: Trumpet; Tuba. Maclean[1]: Tuba. Skinner[1]: XII Tuba. Sumner[1]: Tuba. Wedgwood[1]: Tuba.
Copyright © 2006 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Tuba.html - Last updated 5 October 2006.
Full Index