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Wagner tuba


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Brass instr. invented by Wagner as compromise between hn. and tb. to give special tone‐colour in orchestration of Der Ring des Nibelungen (for Hunding in Die Walküre, for example). Look more like hns. than tubas. The 4 used in the Ring are 2 tenors in B♭, with 3 valves plus extra for correcting intonation of lowest octave and 2 basses in F. Played by 5th–8th hns. Wagner had the idea for the tubas after seeing some instruments in Sax's workshops in 1853 which may have been saxhorns. Possibly the tubas used at Bayreuth in 1876 were made in Berlin. They did not survive after 1939. In any case they were replaced in 1890 by a set made in Mainz. CG used brass band instruments until 1935 when Beecham obtained a set from Mainz. Wagner tubas were used also by Bruckner, R. Strauss, and by Stravinsky in The Rite of Spring.

Subjects: Music.


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