Posted by Frederick J. Young on December 27, 2001 at 17:11:20:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: tuba vs. sousa posted by Dan on December 26, 2001 at 14:15:35:
Very interesting! Years ago I played in the Gunnison Band Camp Directors band with Bill Bell and Arnold Jacobs. When Mr. Bell played solos with the band he used his favorite instrument which was a gold plated Eb Sousaphone his mother gave him in 1915 when he was 10 years of age. He liked it for its good tone, projection and clarity of articulation.
There is a strong scientific basis for that. The highest frequency components of the sound come straight out of the bell whereas the lower harmonics come out sideways. Good articulations depend strongly on the high frequencies in your sound and thus you can play with more clarity with a bell front instument. With a rain catcher the clarity gets lost in the curtains. Also note how many quintet players sit with the tubas at about 30 degrees on their laps so that they point to the audience. THey are rediscovering what was discovered in the twenties by the recording studios. I believe that the bell front instruments were a great improvement abandoned at the behest of symphonic conductors. When I first played my bell front King with the Pittsburgh Symphony, director William Steinberg glared at it and said "Was ist das? Ein Sousaphone?" He was more understanding than most conductors and decided to find out how it sounded before he thru me out. Actually, he and Igor Strawinsky did not mind it and nothing more was said during the next 20 years.