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The Euphonium

and the Tuba

MUSE 250: Brass Tech

Michael Palmer, Ph.D.


What are key differences between the two?


Baritones from British/European

manufacturers have narrow bores
Bell flare of the baritone is less than the
Baritone timbre is lighter in color and weight
than euphonium
Used in British brass bands and school bands
Video of a baritone soloist playing The Swan


Larger bell flare than baritone

Darker, heavier tone than baritone
Developed to emulate human voice and blend
with other conical instruments in British brass
Becoming more standard in American bands
Featured in some orchestral pieces
Solo instrument

Characteristics and

Euphs have intonation issues; what to do?

Alternate fingerings, use of fourth valve, use
of compensating euphonium
Difficult to lip down or up to adjust
To produce a resonant sound, use the proper
mouthpiece (deep cup and back bore)
Euph players should read bass clef (primarily),
treble clef, and tenor clef/treble in Bb

The Tuba
King of the Brass Section

Many Kinds

Sousaphone & Contra

Tuba Characteristics

Types: Eb/F (smaller); BBb and CC (larger)

BBb used in concert bands; CC and Eb/F in
Great variation in size of tubas, in bore and
bell diameter, overall dimensions and weight
Typical sizing: 3/4 (small tuba), 4/4 and 5/4
Four to five valve tubas are best
Notation mainly written in concert pitch
Tubists learn the correct fingerings based on
type of tuba

Tips for Teaching

Young Players

Depending on age/year in school and size,

start students on baritone/euphonium
Talk about the tuba early and often
Have 3/4 size tuba(s) in your inventory
Issue tuba players two instruments: one for
home and one for school
Encourage listening to recordings