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What Is a Tuba Quartet?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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A tuba quartet is a group of four of these brass instruments. The musical quartet, whether vocal or only instrumental, is a group of four. Tuba quartets provide a brass sound on the low end of the register, using the tuba and similar horns. The tuba is the largest brass instrument, and at the low end of the brass spectrum.

Tuba quartets are found in a variety of places within the world of modern music. Often, they are used in martial music, or in military processions in various countries around the world. People might also hire a tuba quartet for any formal event, from a corporate event to a wedding. These quartets allow for a unique low-register horn sound that has its own auditory presence.

It’s important to note that, in addition to the tuba, a tuba quartet might also include what’s known as a euphonium. The euphonium is a valved horn similar to the tuba that has a Greek name simply meaning “good-sounding.” The euphonium is most commonly found in the natural key of B flat. It is sometimes called a “tenor tuba” because it is pitched higher than other varieties.

The tuba is also made in F, E flat, C, and B flat varieties. The lowest pitched tuba is called the contrabass tuba. The next lowest register is the bass tuba, then the tenor. A class of tuba called the subcontrabass exists, but is not popular.

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Tuba quartets can play classical music and formal period pieces, as well as more modern or informal arrangements. A tube quartet hired for an event may play instrumental forms of popular lyrical songs that the audience will recognize. Alternately, the group is asked to exclusively play music that was originally written as an instrumental composition.

As a performing group, the tuba quartet has to meet some unique challenges related to the lower register tubas such as the contrabass. Specifically, these instruments frequently need the players to play while sitting down to accommodate the size of the instrument. Other lighter brass horns can usually be played standing up and accommodate the player’s ability to move around. This is one thing to think about when considering the positioning and logistics of a hired tuba quartet at an event. These groups might also need longer set-up times than some other brass groups.

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