Tuba< Back to Instrument Overview
The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched instrument of the brass family. It is also the most recent addition to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th-century. Orchestras usually have a single tuba and it is the principal bass instrument in symphonic and military bands. It is often played to reinforce the bass voices of strings and woodwinds, as well as a solo instrument, and are used in concert bands, marching bands, drum and bugle corps, jazz bands, and orchestras. A tuba can be played either sitting down or standing and when in American marching bands, wraps around the body and is called a sousaphone after American bandmaster and composer, John Philip Sousa, requested its more comfortable and mobile design for his marching band tuba players in the 1890s.