3.2.6 Extra relevant infotmation

Specific technique for the wagner tuba:

The players surveyed were also asked about technical exercises that could be useful to improve our level with the Wagner tuba. Most of them answered that they used the same exercises. Still some recommendations such as very simple flexibility exercises, playing the Franz Strauss Nocturno Op.7 if we have to play Bruckner's 7th symphony (a lot of Ab action)  and Low horn studies, legato studies and long line melodies. Ericsson, J. (2019) also recommends some technical books such as Kopprasch or Bordogni vocalises. In short, the important thing is to dedicate time to the instrument using simple exercises or studies to be able to focus on the quality of sound and tuning, getting used to the instrument.



Something we should also be aware of, is that the Wagner tuba parts depending on the composer can be written in F, Bb or Eb. Of course this is something we horn players are already used to, but still we should be aware of it and be prepared for it. Especially in the case of Bb bass, where we have to transpose a descending just 5 and it is not an easy task. Therefore, we must have our score well reviewed beforehand to identify the transpositions and not be caught by surprise. This will also help us to investigate which way of thinking about transposition works best for us, as there are different ways of doing it (transposing each note directly, changing the clef...).


Although not the most common, the use of the mute for Wagner tubas may be necessary in works by Schoenberg or R. Strauss. Strauss. For this reason we should inform ourselves as soon as possible whether we need them or not, as they are not easy to find and not cheap to buy. A euphonium mute could be used, which, if the size of the bell matches well, could be useful. However, a horn mute would not fit.


The picture on the right shows the three types of mutes that the Romanian brand Balu Musik offers. As you can see, there are three different sizes and with their interchangeable corks they can fit any type of brand on the market, as the designers explain.