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Thread: Question--Trombone vs. Tuba

  1. #1
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    Another composing question: I want some fullness down in the bass register, and I am trying to figure out whether to use trombone or tuba. I had originally given it all to the trombone, but I am rethinking that.

    I want it to be full like trombone and tuba, but not too brassy (like horn not like trumpet, but more full than horn), and not too heavy. The tuba can be too heavy at times and the trombone can be too brassy. The rest of you have probably heard a lot more of the differences between the two than I have!

    Most of the arranging is in the bass clef, though it goes up as far as middle C. Some is bass counterpoint, sort of baroque counterpoint with a little of a marching band feel, and then I have a running bass. I think I will give the running bass to the trombone (along with cellos, basses, and bassoon), unless that would sound brassy.

    Anyway, any advice you can give would be helpful, so if this overwhelems you just answer what you can. I am more used to a 1700's orchestra.

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    Euphonium/Baritone?
    <span style='color:green'><span style='font-family:Optima'>Music is what feelings sound like...Anon</span>.</span>

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    Contrabasoon&#33;&#33;&#33; B)
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    I am wanting something a little more full and brassy than the horn, and maybe just a little louder, but not "brash" like trumpet. I have heard trombone that sounded good and a lot of trombone that didn&#39;t, and I don&#39;t know what the difference was. (I am using the contrabassoon already for a different part, but thanks for the suggestion&#33; )

    I think I need to get a little more to the point here.
    Here is the type of sound I want for the trombone part (maybe a little more full, but blending):
    http://www.mti.dmu.ac.uk/~ahugill/manual/m...%20Sat%20S2.mp3
    Or maybe this:
    http://www.mti.dmu.ac.uk/~ahugill/manual/m...%20B053-060.mp3

    (Except that my passages are fast not slow.)

    And my main concern is I do NOT want this:
    http://www.mti.dmu.ac.uk/~ahugill/manual/m...%20B357-371.mp3
    But I do not know what the difference is, how to get the right type of sound&#33; I am thinking after more research that the tuba is more what I want for several of the parts, but not all.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    A question: what horns do you use? Maybe you could get that deeper and fuller sounding with another deep transposing horn.

    Think of a bariton trombone.

    Or just take some more horns and/or combine different horn groups. The result with more horns is amazing, you really get deepth.

    I would suggest to take one more horn and a bariton trombone.

    Personally I don&#39;t like Tuba for that parts best, because it is too deep. The colour you get might be good for single effects, but no longer passage in such a work as I assume you want to create.

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    I say we should invent our own instrument gust for the peices you are writing. You will go down in history.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    yea yea&#33;&#33;

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    the baroquaphone&#33; B) Really. You should do it.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    Thanks for your suggestions&#33; I am just going to leave the parts as trombone parts for now, and maybe edit later. My MIDI Trombone voice, and my electronic keyboard trombone voice, are both exactly the sound I want.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    Oh no, baroque flute. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes or breaks the rich and famous. Do you know what the world would be like today if everyone had tried at least once to adapt the world to them instead of adapting themselves to the world? One word: AWESOME. I&#39;ll tell you what; if you don&#39;t want to make the baroquophone, I will. I might give you a few million out of my billions, since you gave me the idea. Anyone else who wants to join me in my quest for the perfect instrument for her composition, feel free. B)

    P.S.
    I think there are some programs that you can buy that edit and filter sound to create the exact sound you want. Maybe you could strap a synthesizer to the trombone...
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

  11. #11
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    why does it sound like full and warm sometimes, and brassy and edgy other times?

    from what I&#39;ve heard, the louder you go with a trombone, the brassier and edgier it gets, the softer you go, the warmer and fuller. so, if you want piano or pianissimo, use a trombone.

    I have read a thing or too that could be helpful.

    I quote:

    The combination with strings does not generally produce homogeneity. Trombones play in unison or in octaves with the cellos and double-basses, fleshing out the sound and playing a supporting role. The result is a concentration of the sound. If a trombone bass part is also carried by a double-bass the sound is projected more effectively.
    Trombone + tuba
    Although it has a different timbre, the tuba is often used as bass to the trombone section. The main reason for this is to produce a full-sounding foundation in tutti passages. The trombone sounds much more compact and focused. The tuba can either be used on its own as bass to the trombones (as a fourth trombone), in octaves, or in unison with the bass trombone. These last combinations are often recommended. The overall effect is one of expansiveness and mellowness. The brightness of the trumpets and trombones is subdued.
    Trombone + French horn
    Overall sound rich and mellow, intensified by the trombones in ff passages. In higher registers the trombone makes the horns sound brighter, the rest of the time the metallic trombone sound is masked by the horns. 1 trombone = 2 horns when the written dynamic levels correspond.
    from what I have read, the sound your looking for corresponds pretty much accurately to a wagner tuba, it appears that inventing the barroquophone won&#39;t be necessary.

    Overall the Wagner tubas’ timbre lies somewhere between the horn, the bass tuba and the trombone. The registers are relatively homogenous and overlap.
    Comparison with the horn
    More somber and less penetrating, less incisive attack, softer. The horn (especially the Viennese horn) begins to blare once a certain volume has been reached. This does not occur on the Wagner tuba. Easy response.

    Comparison with the bass tuba: thinner, edgier, more incisive.
    Comparison with the trombone: milder, softer, darker.


    also maybe of interest:
    Wagner tuba + double-basses
    Possess equal volume and complement each other, merging to a homogeneous group with a dark timbre in the low and middle registers.
    A particularly effective combination is achieved with the bassoons (also together with the horns), which produces a dark luster in unison and in chords.
    Wagner tuba + trombone
    A mighty and impressive blend when played in unison. If that isn’t heroic?
    this is what a WT sounds like in the middle register (playyed pp-ff)

    http://www.vsl.co.at/player.asp?sound=WT_c...2s_mf_ff_F3.mp3

  12. #12
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Very interesting article, oistrach&#33; Thanks&#33;

  13. #13
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    I second trombone, definately not the tuba. Unless u want a very deep, broad and almost towering sound.
    And according to yr previous posts, u&#39;d wanted a moving bass line ... so I don&#39;t think tuba will sound nice with running lines, it will sound like poop...mushy and messy.
    But trombone may otherwise be more suited as a counter melody against instruments such as trumpets...rather than playing the bass line. Trombones have very wide and beautiful palette...using it purely as a bass seems a pity. They can be as versatile as horns.
    Have u thought about using a mute? Harmon mute etc on more brassy instruments...U can keep the philosophical weight of the instrument, but alter the tone/timbre by a great deal.
    Or how about having them as stopped notes or cuirve? U know u can alter the effects to better suit yr composition without compromising on certain essential elements. Brass instruments are highly versatile .

  14. #14
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Mute? hm gets to "brassy" I guess. There is missing the warmth.

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    Thanks for the article you posted, Oistrach. What I am doing is doubling the trombone with cello, often with double bass, and even bassoon. It is mostly a melodic bass line, and for now I think I will not call for any mute. The tuba I think I will use just for accent now and then, and it should be a Wagner tuba, based on that article. Thanks, everyone, for all your help&#33;

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