Re: Contra with two valves

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Posted by Leland on June 22, 1999 at 23:41:34:

In Reply to: Contra with two valves posted by Mike on June 22, 1999 at 21:28:11:

What corps are you marching?

1st is still a whole step, and 2nd is still a half step.

If it's bass clef, it's the same fingerings as usual, although I personally have no clue whether it's based on BBb or CC tuba fingerings. I've never played bass clef in corps, but from what Brett said, I'd say BBb is a safe bet. It'd be the same as the baris and euphs.

If it's treble clef, it's just like trumpet or treble clef euph (or like British Brass Bands' nearly-every-instrument).

I'm just old enough to have never used 3 valve horns in junior corps, and we (on the playing end) never needed a 3rd valve because the staff never wrote for them. Arrangements were written around the problem, either by playing in the higher register or using a different key. That meant that we couldn't just take music out of the store and onto the field, but it also meant that our staff took the responsibility to refine and display their talents (or lack thereof!).

The introduction of 3-valve instruments nine years ago didn't herald the introduction of really odd key signatures, either. Arrangers still favor the G bugles' intonation- and projection-friendly keys of "F, G, Bb, and C" (which translate to concert C, D, F, and G). That's the same idea as having a lot of wind band music sitting in Ab, Bb, Eb, and F, keys that are nice for most of the brasses.

How do you learn? Just practice. On a BBb tuba, if you hold -- or tape -- down the 3rd valve, and pull out the 1st and 2nd slides about an inch each, it'll sound and finger the same as a 2-valve contra bugle. On the contra itself, just practice, and don't be afraid to write in any fingerings that you might need. Besides, you'll have everything memorized in a week anyway, and the long hours spent on fundamentals will get you going in a hurry.

PLUS, they'll know that you're just starting out, and they'll help you as much as they can, and then some. Everyone who's there now was once where you are. Nobody's ever "good enough" at first, but they learn how to get there.

Let me know who you're with -- I'll probably see you this summer!


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