Historical development of the Contrabass tuba - Philipp Dangas

Historical development of the Contrabass tuba

Graphic for the contrabass tuba can be enlarged. It is Link-Sensitive [Clickable].

Small representation of the contrabass tuba

The contrabass tuba in Bb or C is the largest and deepest tuba. They are also called "Kaiserbass". Other designations are: 16' or 18' bass tubas or CC or BB tubas, whereby the designation "CC tubas" is not entirely correct, because the fundamental C is merely a contra C (i.e. C1) whereas that B is really a sub-contra-B (i.e. B2) and therefore this alone deserves the designation BB. They have 4 or more valves. The tuba player himself decides whether a part is to be played with the bass or contrabass tuba based on a few aspects (e.g. pitch, volume, composer's wishes, sound conception, etc.).

An orchestral tuba player must master both types of tuba with virtuosity. In German-speaking countries, the so-called alternation has become established, i.e. the tuba player alternates between the bass tuba in [F] and the contrabass tuba in B flat. It should also be noted that only a few composers expressly prescribed the contrabass tuba. Apart from Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and Richard Strauss' Elektra, this rule can also be found in Arnold Schönberg's Gurrelieder and Pelleas und Melisande, for example, and also in Anton Bruckner's 7th Symphony.

An sample of the very heavy sound of the contrabass tuba [Music composer Richard Wagner]
Download size: 133 kilobytes
Use of the contrabass tuba in music
Music composer's Work Style of music
Richard Wagner The Valkyrie Opera
Richard Wagner Siegfried Opera
Richard Wagner Götterdämmerung Opera
Richard Strauss Elektra Opera
Anton Bruckner 7th Symphony in E major Orchestra
Arnold Schönberg Pelleas and Melisande Orchestra