How does a composer improve at writing for tuba and cimbasso?

Mike Patti of Cinesamples asks him what a composer can do to be more original for tuba. Doug points out tuba is actually an agile solo instrument, citing Jabba the Hut’s scene in Return of the Jedi. It’s also a common misconception that the tuba is inherently loud, but it can be rather quiet and light in all its ranges (which makes it resourceful as a doubler of bassoons and cellos).

Composers love loud tuba blaaats for combat music, but often write too low. Below the staff, the tuba has trouble being loud. Watch as Doug demonstrates bringing a D up from below the staff to the middle and how much louder he can play it.

I can’t get enough of hearing musicians talk about their instruments. There will always be more to learn.

Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

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