Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

High Notes on the Tuba

Sign in to follow this  


As an experienced tubist, I have been practicing bettering the quality of my higher range for years now, but it is still a challenge. The challenging aspect of playing clear high notes through a tuba can be attributed to physics. The higher the pitch, the higher the frequency of the sound waves. To increase the frequency of the sound waves, one must increase the speed of the air through the tuba. To do so, you increase the pressure of the air in the mouthpiece by pressing your lips close together to generate a fast stream of air. This seems simple enough, so what's the challenge. As frequency is proportional to velocity, it is inversely proportional to length. Therefore, even though the speed of the air is increasing, the tuba is 16 feet of brass tubing, one of the longest instruments ever made. This makes generating a higher pitch by increasing the frequency extremely hard. The pressure in the mouthpiece need to increase an incredible amount due to the length of the instrument. So I suppose I'll just have to give up on the tuba because I can never defy physics.  

Sign in to follow this  

1 Comment

Recommended Comments

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...