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Thread: Alternate instruments for Tuba Euphonium Quartet

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
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    Alternate instruments for Tuba Euphonium Quartet

    Hello,

    How many of you have substituted trombones for Euphoniums in a Tuba Euphonium Quartet? I had a quartet going for awhile but people weren't committing to practice and rehearsal and it kind of came apart. I was thinking of rebooting but only have 2 tuba players that I can count on. (I'm one of them). There are a lot of bone players in the area and have been considering using them. I know the tone is different but curious if anyone has substituted a trombone or bass trombone for Euphonium before? I have thought also about playing Euphonium myself and then using a Bass Trombone for the upper tuba part. Would appreciate any thoughts or shared experiences that you may have.
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  2. Have substituted English baritone for euphonium 1. You "might" get by with tenor trombone playing euph 1 and bass trombone playing euph 2.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone & Conn 24I/25I euphonium
    New England Brass Band/Metropolitan Wind Symphony
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  3. Yeah, but trombones sound like trombones, and who wants to listen to that?

  4. #4
    It depends on what kinds of pieces you choose to play. A lot of the rep written specifically for tuba quartet is very technical and would be very difficult/near impossible on trombone.

    I personally would try to either use only tubas/trombones or only tubas/euphoniums. Mixing trombone and euphonium in an ensemble like this could create some blending and balance issues.
    Frost School of Music (UMiami) - BM Euphonium Performance '21


    Besson Prestige 2052 Euphonium - Alliance DC2
    Bach 50B3 Bass Trombone - Denis Wick 00AL
    Olds P-16 "Custom" Trombone - Yamaha 48

  5. #5
    I have done a fair amount of tuba/euphonium quartet playing and performing. Sticking a trombone in will change the sound of the group, and in my opinion, not for the better. I would not do it, and I have nothing against trombones, I play trombone a lot in several groups. It is just not the sound one is looking for in a tuba/euphonium quartet (kind of why it is called a tuba/euphonium quartet). It is like putting a trombone in the TUBACHRISTMAS group of tubas and euphoniums/baritones (a huge pet peeve of mine, but as of this year, I am the coordinator for Rapid City TUBACHRISTMAS, and there will be no trombones, I will be happy to lend an errant trombone player one of my other euphoniums to use). The trombone sticks out like a sore thumb. Perhaps try encouraging some trombone players to learn euphonium as a second instrument. You can get a Wessex for a little over a grand, and that opens up a lot of other opportunities for trombone players.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,990
    I've done a Tuba Christmas kind of thing with mixed trombones and tubas (trombones playing the euph parts). It sounded, ... well ... "acceptable" but a little odd. And it's not just the sound. It's the articulation as well. I'd consider it for an "informal" setting, but it would otherwise be better to have euphs play the euph parts. This isn't to say that trombone and tuba don't sound good together. I think that a bass trombone and tuba combination can sound very good and interesting in some circumstances -- e.g., some of the Walter Sear Advanced Duets for Tuba. But in cases where that's true, it's also often true that the range is quite challenging for the trombone.
    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)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    527
    Quote Originally Posted by daniel76309 View Post
    Yeah, but trombones sound like trombones, and who wants to listen to that?
    I do when the choice is to play with trombone or not have a group.
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    527
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonDonnelly View Post
    It depends on what kinds of pieces you choose to play. A lot of the rep written specifically for tuba quartet is very technical and would be very difficult/near impossible on trombone.

    I personally would try to either use only tubas/trombones or only tubas/euphoniums. Mixing trombone and euphonium in an ensemble like this could create some blending and balance issues.
    Agree that it would be difficult and agree about trying to get either tuba/bone or tuba/euph. Busy schedules make it difficult to get people to commit for the long term.
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    527
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    I have done a fair amount of tuba/euphonium quartet playing and performing. Sticking a trombone in will change the sound of the group, and in my opinion, not for the better. I would not do it, and I have nothing against trombones, I play trombone a lot in several groups. It is just not the sound one is looking for in a tuba/euphonium quartet (kind of why it is called a tuba/euphonium quartet). It is like putting a trombone in the TUBACHRISTMAS group of tubas and euphoniums/baritones (a huge pet peeve of mine, but as of this year, I am the coordinator for Rapid City TUBACHRISTMAS, and there will be no trombones, I will be happy to lend an errant trombone player one of my other euphoniums to use). The trombone sticks out like a sore thumb. Perhaps try encouraging some trombone players to learn euphonium as a second instrument. You can get a Wessex for a little over a grand, and that opens up a lot of other opportunities for trombone players.
    Now that's a thought! I have a couple of horns that I could loan. Hadn't really considered that but it makes sense. Might be fun for the bones players to venture out on Euphonium. Thanks for the thought!
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    527
    Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
    I've done a Tuba Christmas kind of thing with mixed trombones and tubas (trombones playing the euph parts). It sounded, ... well ... "acceptable" but a little odd. And it's not just the sound. It's the articulation as well. I'd consider it for an "informal" setting, but it would otherwise be better to have euphs play the euph parts. This isn't to say that trombone and tuba don't sound good together. I think that a bass trombone and tuba combination can sound very good and interesting in some circumstances -- e.g., some of the Walter Sear Advanced Duets for Tuba. But in cases where that's true, it's also often true that the range is quite challenging for the trombone.
    Thanks Gary. Makes sense. Agree that it isn't ideal. When I was in the Army I did quite a bit of playing with trombone players in small group settings and there is a big difference between Euphonium and trombone sounds. No argument there. This comes down to just have a group or not. For me its simply an enjoyable playing opportunity. Thanks for the input.
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

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