1. Introduction to the topic

Since the beginning of my career as a musician and horn player, I have always been fascinated by everything related to orchestral music. The emotions that a great orchestra transmits with dozens of musicians on stage, the great symphonic and operatic compositions, the teamwork or the good moments and friends that it offers you, are some of the reasons for my admiration towards it. For this reason I made the decision, at an early age, to focus a large part of my effort and time on growing and developing into the orchestral musician I would like to be in the future. And that is why I knew from the very beginning that this research would be a step towards achieving that dream.


As is popularly known, the standard symphony orchestra is composed of three major instrumental families: strings, percussion, and winds, the latter divided into two subgroups, woodwinds and brass. The brass family is formed by four main instruments: the trumpet, the French horn, the trombone, and the tuba (the number of these may vary depending on the musical era and composer). However, beyond these four, throughout history, modifications have been made to them to extend their range and facilitate the work of the instrumentalists without affecting the sound principles of the instrument. A clear example of this is the bass trombone or alto trombone, both extending the range of the tenor trombone to the extreme.


However, not all instruments have undergone such notable transformations. This is the case with the French horn, which, due to its role in the orchestra creating a blend between different timbres thanks to its warm and velvety sound rich in harmonics, has always maintained its form. While it is true that small modifications have been made over the course of history in the length of the tube or the bell to facilitate the work of horn players, these are associated with the natural evolution of music and instruments. Nevertheless, there is an instrument attributed to horn players that, although not directly derived from the transformation of the French horn (but rather from the quest for a specific sound to enrich the overall sound of the brass section in the orchestra), horn players have the task of interpreting it in certain musical works. This is none other than the Wagner tuba, a little-known instrument with a very interesting and exciting background.


When this instrument came to my mind, during those days when my thoughts were searching for a topic that could contribute to my development as the orchestral horn player I have always wanted to be, I instantly knew that the Wagner tuba was the ideal choice. Having made my devotion to the orchestra clear, and considering that this instrument was created by and for the orchestra, focusing my studies on it seemed like a great idea. For all these reasons, in this research, I have endeavored to compile everything significant related to the Wagner tuba that a horn player with the aspiration to dedicate themselves to the orchestra should know.