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Thread: Need Mouthpiece for Antique Eb Tuba

  1. #11
    Join Date
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    Interesting, ... and that difference in sound quality/timbre is typical of small vs. large bore instruments in general. When you say that BBb horns began replacing Eb horns throughout the late 1940's, I take it you mean with regard to school and community bands. As you point out, Sousa was a proponent of large bore tubas and Sousaphones quite a while before that. I think he really disliked the smaller (and more generally Eb) tubas -- based on his orchestration of his own compositions. The bigger (and contra-bass) tubas, and particularly the Sousaphones also gave his band the distinctive "American" sound ("sound like Sousa") that you don't get with the British tubas or helicons.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  2. #12
    I don't think Sousa cared whether there was an Eb or a BBb tuba. What he didn't like was the directionality of the helicon. He wanted the tuba sound to float over the top of the band, hence the rain catcher design. We are getting into the marketing and financing of a band of that era. Others have written extensively on Sousa and the relationships he had with instrument companies. Sousa first went to J.W.Pepper to make an on the shoulder horn, like a helicon, that had the bell facing upward. Pepper made the prototype horn in about 1895. It wasn't a particularly big horn. (I happen to own a Pepper Helicon with a serial number a few numbers away from that original Pepper horn.) Conn came along a year or so later and offered to make all of the horns for Sousa's band members for free. Sousa jumped on this. As part of the deal, they made the upward facing bell horn, named it the Sousaphone and used the publicity to market Conn horns to the masses. (A true win win.) Conn enlarged the Sousaphone so it would stand out to help with the marketing and to give something distinctive to the Sousa Band. So, which came first, the marketing or the sound of a big horn? It is my belief that Sousa wrote for what he had available at the time. Remember Sousa used double bell euphoniums. Even the big bell on those things are not large by todays standards. If you look at Sousa's original composition of his marches, they are not the same as what you hear today. (Try to find a Db flute these days, but that is what he wrote for in his stuff.) Those compositions have evolved over time to match the instruments available.
    Wessex BR140
    Bunch of Eb tubas

  3. Actually, Sousa phased out Eb tubas from his band and preferred the "original" sousaphone: bell-up, or what we now call "raincatcher," so the sound would "float" over the rest of the band.

    Discussion thread: http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=50987

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