Key Difference – Tuba vs Sousaphone
Tuba and sousaphone are two of the biggest instruments in the family of brass instruments. Tuba is a brass instrument with three to six valves and wide bell facing upwards. Sousaphone is a type of tuba. The key difference between tuba and sousaphone is their shape and appearance. Sousaphone has a broad bell that faces above the player’s head and projects forward whereas the bell in tuba is smaller and doesn’t extend as far as the player’s head.
What is a Tuba?
Tuba is a brass instrument with three to six valves and a broad bell typically facing upwards. It is the biggest instrument in the family of brass instruments. A standard tuba usually has about sixteen feet of tubes. It is also the lowest-pitched instrument and plays in the bass pitch. Tuba is similar to a euphonium in appearance. When compared with other instruments in the brass family, it is relatively new.
Tuba is played by blowing into the instrument, causing the air to buzz into the large mouthpiece. It is one of the loudest instruments in the orchestras; however, it can be also used to play quiet parts. Tuba is used in a wide variety of performances such as orchestras, brass ensembles, concert bands, jazz bands, and wind bands. An orchestra typically has one tuba whereas brass bands, concert bands, and military bands use two to four tubas. It is the principal instrument in these bands.
What is a Sousaphone?
The sousaphone is a type of a tuba with a wide bell pointing forward above the player’s head. It fits around the player’s body and has to be supported by the left shoulder. It is easier to play this instrument while walking or marching; thus, it is widely used in marching bands and various types of bands that perform outdoors. This instrument is named after the composer and bandmaster John Phillips Sousa who popularized its use.
The main difference between tuba and sousaphone is their shape; the bell shape in the sousaphone is above the player’s head and projects forward. Thus, the sound is directed forward, unlike in the traditional upright tuba. This bell can be typically detached from the instrument for convenient storage. Although different in shape and appearance, sousaphone has the same musical range and the same tube length as tuba.
What is the difference between Tuba and Sousaphone?
Tuba vs Sousaphone
|Tuba is a large low-pitched brass instrument typically oval in shape with a conical tube, a cup-shaped mouthpiece.||Sousaphone is a type of tuba with a wide bell pointing forward above the player’s head, used in marching bands.|
|The bell shape doesn’t reach the musician’s head.||The bell shape in the sousaphone is above the musician’s head.|
|Tuba does not encircle the musician’s body.||Sousaphone fits around the musician’s body and is supported by his shoulder.|
|Tuba can be played while sitting.||Sousaphone is played while walking and marching.|
|Tuba is used in orchestras, concert bands, pop bands, jazz bands, brass ensemble.||Sousaphone is mainly used in marching bands.|
Summary – Tuba vs Sousaphone
Tuba and sousaphone are two of the biggest instruments in the brass family. The sousaphone is a type of a tuba. The main difference between tuba and sousaphone is their shape and appearance. In addition, sousaphones are typically used in marching bands and other bands that perform outdoors. There are no other noticeable differences between them based on the musical range or the length of tubes.
1. “Euphonium” By By Yamaha Corporation – Yamaha Music Europe (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Yamaha Bass tuba YFB-822” By Yamaha Corporation – Yamaha Music Europe (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia