Sometimes deductive reasoning, when it can clearly negotiate the barriers of preconditioning, prejudice, dogma and habit, will lead us into unexpected territory.
In the poll of issue 22 the question was asked: Which tuba do you think is the best to start beginners; the results were very enlightening.
The results were also a little disappointing to me, still; personally they stimulated a change in my thinking that was quite unexpected.
I did expect the BBb tuba to be the first choice but I did not expect the
high percentage that it got. It’s obvious that BBb tuba would be the
first choice; it’s the tuba most tubists I know, including myself, started
on. In one way the BBb is a good choice because it starts
our tuba experience on an instrument with a rich and full low register, the
register that we tubists are required to provide most of the time, and it allows
us to develop that very necessary and idiomatic tuba sound.
This may be a good moment to bring up an old and sensitive point. There is a big difference between the front action horns of Baadsvic and Sheridan and the top action instruments used in most of the UK including euphonium; that difference is the longer lead pipe of the front action instruments. There is a big difference that we should all be aware of, but that should be discussed in the forum or perhaps in a future article. That question needs to be represented by both sides.
Like most things there is a positive and negative in the selection of the Eb tuba for a beginning student. On the positive side I feel it is the best compromise, the best all round instrument for the reasons stated above. On the negative side there is an abundance of music where the Eb tuba may not be the best choice. I feel many Eb players become lazy (or perhaps a more diplomatic words would be ‘too comfortable’) with what works “well enough”.
Please excuse my digression, this is an article about which tuba is the best for a beginner to start with. If I had a young beginning student I would not hesitate to recommend he or she start on Eb.
Tokyo, Japan, April 5, 2006