Posted by Alex on January 27, 2000 at 15:43:12:
In Reply to: What Key? posted by Dave W. on January 27, 2000 at 14:55:38:
I'll take a crack at this one.
The key of an instrument has little to nothing to do with the quality of the horn. It can and does affect the quality of the sound, however. It's silly to think that with a CC you can play higher than with a BBb. The main difference is usually in the wrapping. Many BBb's have to be wound tighter to keep the extra tubing to a reasonable size. With the same size horn, the CC has less turns and/or can afford to expand the cone more rapidly.
I ran across this idea a year ago at the Army conference, when the magnificient tuba quartet from Germany were giving a lecture/ recital. (hot DAMN, they were good.)
It is quite useful, depending in the variety in your playing, to have a contrabass tuba (B and C) and a bass tuba (Eb and F). Tuba literature is so varied that it helps to change colors in many ways. Also, it is really, really hard to play some solo lit on C and some orcheral lit on F, in my opinion.
As for an emphasis on any pitch, Americans (broad generalization, I know) tend to use CC horns, while almost no-one in Germany would touch one. Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and anywhere else will have general preferences, usually deriving from a specific teacher or two, way back when. In my experience, no pitch of horn is easier to learn than another.
I hope this helps a little.