First, some pan shots

The bass (Eb) tuba:
The contrabass (BBb) tuba:
The tenor tuba, or euphonium (normally pitched in Bb):

Although bass tubas are not necessarily pitched in C, they are not treated as transposing instruments and are notated at concert pitch in bass clef. The same goes for the euphonium, although occasionally it is written a major ninth higher than it sounds, in the treble clef. John Jenkins explains:

The construction of the tuba:
The mouthpiece:
Note that there are differences between tubas in the UK and the rest of Europe:
Sound production on any tuba uses the harmonic series and is controlled by the valves:
A fourth valve bridges the gap between harmonic series:
The character of the euphonium:
The character of the tuba:
The Wagner Tuba...:
...and some typical confusions that can arise when they are used:
So, when 'tuba' is called for, which tuba does a tubist choose?:

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at]