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|Developed||in the 19th century|
The tuba is the biggest of all the brass musical instruments. They are the newest part of the symphony orchestra, first showing up in the mid-19th century. Most orchestras have a tuba now. The standard tuba has about 16 feet of tubes.
Tubas are normally in the key of F, Eb, CC, or BBb and can have 3 to 6 valves. Because they are so big, some tubas have a compensating system. This means a fourth, fifth or sixth valve is used to make the instrument sound more in tune - especially the lowest notes.
It takes a lot of breath to play the tuba. It is one of the loudest instruments in the orchestra but can also play very quietly.
Use of the tuba
The tuba usually plays the bass (lowest sounding) part even though it can play relatively high as well.
The tuba is used in all sorts of music and can be found in orchestras, wind bands, brass bands, jazz groups, pop groups, brass ensembles and even in tuba quartets (in groups of 4).