Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
It's interesting (as Dave's last posting illustrates) that euphonium players tend to think of finding "the horn", while conceding that some horns are better than others for some contexts and applications. This contrasts rather sharply with the typical tuba player (at least at a high amateur or professional level), who is not only willing, but anxious to possess at least a couple of horns for different uses -- typically a "large" CC or BBb contra-bass tuba and then a smaller (usually F, but sometimes Eb) bass tuba for uses in smaller groups, quintets, etc. It also contrasts with many trombone players who have at least a tenor of one sort or another (and may have both a large and small bore), a bass, and possibly an alto.

I'm a bit puzzled why euphonium players seem so "monohornous".
Here're my guesses.

1. Cost. Not as many euphonium jobs or performance opportunities. If euphoniumists have $$$$$ bucks lying around for another instrument, it's a trombone, tuba, or bass. Something that increases performance opportunities. If I were pursuing the orchestra scene still, I'd invest in a C bass trumpet before a C tenor tuba or more orchestral sounding euph. Or euphers buy a car because trudging a euphonium is not fun on a 12 speed bike.

2. If you play in a brass band, you may have a British baritone. But that horn does not lend itself well to concert band or other ensembles. Others may have other experiences.

3. Tuning characteristics. I have owned and performed on more than one brand of euphonium. King, Yamaha, Besson, Hirsbrunner, Miraphone, Besson. At times I switched between my Yamaha 321 and my Hirshbrunner, and I never really got the Yamaha as dialed in, even tho it was the better horn for commercial contexts. Each had devilish notes to tune, alternate fingerings, tendencies. Tubists come from a culture of moving tuning first valve slides and master tuners while playing. Miraphone was my favorite for orchestra stuff, and it had a tuner on it. The last Besson had my favorite charateristic sound, and even with the master tuner, I was working too hard. More recent horns are better overall pitchwise, especially if you $7000 in your pocket. Tuning on the fly is later in coming to the euphonium world, but still takes work and using some kind of tuner/master tuner to achieve the results you want. Ultimately, I think it's just easier to "master" the tuning at one horn at a time, and dialing in a second horn is a challenge.

4. Mouthpiece can change the tone. Not often, but I got out of the really deep mouthpieces, just too much effort and lost endurance, and my tone concept is brighter overall. But I could put in a shallower piece if I felt I needed to cut on my Hirsbrunner. Never a problem on the Besson.

5. Expectations of others. Yes, overgeneralizing, but others might expect 2 gears for euphonium. 1 Blending section work. 2 Soloist. Many can do brass section work and lyrical soloist on the same horn. For orchestra, if I'm playing Planets or Ein Heldenleiben, I can play the solo lines, blend with the woodwinds or meld with the contrabass tuba on my Miraphone or Besson. Obviously, no one expects euphoniumist to have a Brahms horn or that such nonsense.

And because Joe Alessi is playing Bydlo. And he does it on euph. Again, generalizing, but we do not need Bydlo horns. We likely are not getting the call for Pictures at an Exhibition, cuz they got it covered, so don't sell your stocks to buy a C tenor tuba. I heard the Utah trombonist Mark Davidson practicing Bydlo on the original Bydlo tenor tuba. See video


He probably had to work very hard on the intonation for the sake of historical accuracy, which I'm sure he got together for the concert.

7. Recital performance. When I did do a recital or concert, I usually had a wide range of transcriptions from bassoon, clarinet, oboe, trombone, and a couple euphonium specific literature. In that situation, the pains of switching horns mid performance far outweigh any benefit of having a lighter horn for the woodwind rep or whatevs. Sound concept is a brain function to direct the air, mouth, tongue, and adjust the articulation, tone, and style for the work and era. If you were a trumpet player, you might have some baroque pic trumpet solo. Maybe the trend is changing where euphers will regularly recital on rotary C bass trumpets to show their stuff.

8. Even in tuba-euph ensemble or TTEE quartet, a Brit baritone would have a harder time cutting through than a more traditional (not 12 inch bell) Besson Sovereign euphonium, Wilson, or Hirsbrunner. Baritones I've owned just are not loud and full in comparison. In this case, less IS less.

Alas, for a color change, there were times where I used my Yamaha 321 for the tubajazz consort type or commercial stuff, but that's it for other flavors of euphonium. I do not care to march on euphonium, but if that were my job, I'd probably want a lighter cheaper 321 than risk my number one horn on the march.