World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wagner tuba

Article Id: WHEBN0000231593
Reproduction Date:

Title: Wagner tuba  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of musical instruments by transposition, Richard Wagner, Tuba, Bass trumpet, Symphony No. 1 (Rouse)
Collection: Brass Instruments, F Instruments, Opera Terminology, Richard Wagner
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Wagner tuba

Wagner tuba
Model 110 Double tuba in F/Bb built by Gebr. Alexander Mainz. Rhein. Musikinstrumentenfabrik GmbH (Mainz, Germany).
Brass instrument
Other names en: Wagner tuba, de: Wagnertuba,
it: Tuba wagneriana,
fr: Tuba wagnérien
Classification
Related instruments
More articles

The Wagner tuba is an infrequently-used brass instrument that combines tonal elements of both the French horn and the trombone. Wagner tubas (or Wagnertuben) are also referred to as Wagner horns or Bayreuth tubas in English and as Bayreuth-Tuben or simply Tuben in German. The term Wagner tuba has been used in English since the 19th century and is standard today. Wagner's published scores usually refer to these instruments in the plural, Tuben, but sometimes in the singular, Tuba.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Design 2
  • Impact 3
  • In performance 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

History

The Wagner tuba was originally created for Richard Wagner's operatic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Since then, other composers have written for it, most notably Anton Bruckner, in whose Symphony No. 7 a quartet of them is first heard in the slow movement in memory of Wagner, and Richard Strauss, who composed several works that used the Wagner tuba, including his An Alpine Symphony.

Wagner was inspired to invent the Wagner tuba after a brief visit to Paris in 1853, when he visited the shop of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone and saxhorn. Wagner was initially shown a saxhorn which is similar to the instrument that Wagner ultimately wanted and later had constructed by the C. W. Moritz firm in Berlin. Wagner wanted an instrument that could produce the noble and somber Valhalla motif in Das Rheingold like a trombone but with a less incisive tone, like that of a horn.

That Wagner tuba aural effect is obtained by a conical bore (like a horn) and the use of the horn mouthpiece (tapered and conical, as opposed to the parabolic cup mouthpiece such as on a trombone).[1] The saxhorn had a more cylindrical and larger bore, used the parabolic cupped mouthpiece, and thus had a more brassy tone that wasn't quite suitable for Wagner's tonal intent.

Design

The Wagner tuba is built with rotary valves, which (like those on the horn) are played with the left hand. Horn players traditionally double on Wagner tubas because the mouthpiece and fingering are identical.

The Wagner tuba nominally exists in two sizes, tenor in B-flat and bass in F, with ranges comparable to those of horns in the same pitches while being less adept at the highest notes. Several 20th-century and later manufacturers have, however, combined the two instruments into a double Wagner tuba that can easily be configured in either B-flat or F.

Wagner tubas are normally written as transposing instruments, but the notation used varies considerably and is a common source of confusion — Wagner himself used three different and incompatible notations in the course of the Ring, and all three of these systems (plus some others) have been used by subsequent composers.

An additional source of confusion is the fact that the instruments are invariably designated in orchestral scores simply as "tubas", leaving it sometimes unclear as to whether true bass tubas or Wagner tubas are intended (for example, the two tenor tubas in Janáček's Sinfonietta are sometimes wrongly assumed to be Wagner tubas when they are euphoniums).

The name "Wagner tuba" is considered problematic, possibly incorrect, by many theorists. Kent Kennan says they are poorly named since "they are really modified horns" rather than tubas.[2]

Impact

The sound of the Wagner tuba is as mellow as that of the horn and sounds more distant, yet also more focused. Anton Bruckner generally uses them for pensive melodic passages at piano to pianissimo dynamics. They can hold their own in a forte tutti but Bruckner generally gives them sustained tones rather than melodic motifs in such passages.

In Bruckner's Eighth and Ninth Symphonies, the four Wagner tubas are played by four players who alternate between playing horn and Wagner tuba, which is the same procedure Wagner used in the Ring. This change is simplified by the fact that the horn and Wagner tuba use the same mouthpiece and same fingering.

Where on the orchestral score the Wagner tubas are placed depend on who plays them.

The euphonium is often used as a substitute in modern orchestras, but the psychoacoustical difference between the two instruments is so substantial as to be noticeable.

In performance

Wagner tubas are typically played by players who are also playing horn. The staves for the Wagner tubas logically go below those of the horns and above the standard tubas.

If they are played by players who are not also playing horn, they are placed below the trombones, above the regular tuba, which is then called a "contrabass tuba."

These composers have written for the instrument:

References

  1. ^ John Humphries, The Early Horn (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000), p. 41.
  2. ^ Kent Kennan & Donald Grantham, The Technique of Orchestration (New York: Prentice Hall, 1990), p. 348: "It has frequently been pointed out that the name tubas is a misnomer inasmuch as they are really modified horns."

External links

  • The Wagner Tuba, history, composers and Edel Rhapsody (wagner-tuba.com)
  • Felix Draeseke and the Wagner Tuba
  • THE WAGNER TUBA – the instrument that only existed in Wagner’s imagination
  • Wagner Tuba sound samples
  • Evolution, Physics and Usage of the Wagner Tuba
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.