The Tuba

The tuba is the lowest member of the brass family, often reading music ledger lines below the bass clef. Unlike the string bass, it is not a transposing instrument. As the largest brass instrument, it is the least agile of its family, and rarely plays fast runs outside of solos. The timbre of the...

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The Trombone

Literally meaning "large trumpet" (Trombe->Trumpet, One->big), the trombone shares a similar timbre to the trumpet. In the past, the instrument has been used ominously, often signaling evil characters in opera. However, this association is no longer true to the general usage of the instrument. The range of the tenor trombone can be increased with...

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The Horn in F

Erroneously called the french horn, the horn traces its ancestry to Germany. The modern double horn is a new addition to the orchestra, first emerging in the late 1800s in Germany. The instrument is pitched in two keys B-flat and F, and the use of the thumb trigger switches between the two "sides' of...

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The Euphonium

The Euphonium and Baritone are closely-related instruments.  The most-significant difference is the shape of the bell. The Euphonium's bell points upwards while the baritone typically has a bell bent slightly outward. In addition, some players (typically those that label themselves as "baritones" read in the treble clef, as a transposing instrument. Those that read...

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Brass Ensembles

The Brass Quintet: The traditional brass quintet consists of two trumpets, a horn, trombone, and tuba. A brass sextet adds the euphonium. When writing for this group, it is typical to use a SA-TB-B voicing, where the trumpets and horn and trombone are in pairs with the tuba covering the bass. Due to the...

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The Trumpet

The trumpet is the highest member of the brass family. It has a cultural association with nobility and ceremony. As a result, it is not uncommon to write short fanfares within pieces. It is a transposing instrument, with the most commonly used trumpet pitched in B-flat. Other trumpets exist, notably the C trumpet (used...

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