Posted by Carl M. Jones on February 23, 1999 at 13:47:50:
In Reply to: valve number five posted by Tom Caudron on February 23, 1999 at 08:10:29:
I definitely don't think the fifth valve is "wasted hardware." As a matter of fact, I began playing a five valve BBb while in Germany, and think it is almost essential in the low register, if one plays in that range and really wants to have good intonation, alternate fingerings, increased projection and tone. One can play very well in the low register on a four valve BBb, but I feel the fifth valve is worth it. On C tuba, the fifth valve is almost a necessity. On Eb and F tuba, the fifth valve IS necessary, otherwise the usual range of the tuba is not accessible with ease. The exception to these statements are the compensating tubas, which are a reall boon to intonation improvement in the low range.
I use my fifth valve on C and F tuba every time I pick them up to play, and would not like to play a horn without one. (Except maybe BBb). I don't generally use it on fast runs (except on F tuba), because composers generally don't write fast runs in the lowest octaves of the tuba ( wonder why?!), however, I have used it for trills, repeated 16th notes, etc. It does work wonders on low sustained tones, and melodic material in the low register.
For may taste, I also prefer the major third fifth valve on C tuba. It allows me more choices for fingerings in the low register, and you end up using fewer valves which allows for increased volume by way of less resistance. I like both a flat whole step and/or a major third fifth valve on the F. Both systems offer a lot. For instance, using a flat whole step 5th on F makes 1&5 low BBb right on the money, but 2,3,&5 does the same on a major third 5th valve, and you can play right down to low FF using valves (think of the low FF to GGb sixteenths in the openig to the Vaughan Williams tuba concerto).
This is my humble opinion, and I hope it helps you draw your own conclusion. (sorry I wrote so much).