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Sound is nothing. Music is everything.

Date: 09/04/2013

I am SICK and tired of all the emphasis on sound quality in music competitions.

What is a beautiful tuba sound anyway? Put a damn paper clip into your mouthpiece to distort your sound, but play musically and you have won my heart. Play with the “worlds best” tuba sound but unmusically and you leave me cold.

Unlike in an orchestral audition where you need a specific sound to blend with the orchestra the OPPOSITE is true in solo playing. As a soloist you need to stick out, to have a voice that is heard. You need to be able to change your sound constantly to serve the music. Sometimes beautiful and singing, sometimes ugly and harsh. Sometimes featherlight and delicate, sometimes solid as a rock. Rather than sound quality, we should be talking about sound control.
To claim that one sound is better than another is as ignorant as saying that green is a better color than red. Good music requires an infinite variety of sound colors.
About 0,0001% of the worlds population plays tuba and “knows” what a good tuba sound is.
If you intend to play for these guys you might be able to impress a few with your perfect sound.
If you intend to reach the other 99,9999 % they don’t have a clue what a tuba should sound like, and they could not care less. What these people do care about, is not getting bored. And that happens really, really quickly with the “perfect tuba sound”.
Now, go and kick the next guy that uses the phrase “good sound” in his butt!

5 thoughts on Sound is nothing. Music is everything.

  • I love this! I agree that it is the ability to use your sound to make music that is the most important thing. Also, I believe that having individual sound characteristics is what makes each player unique. Otherwise we could just use computer-generated tones.

  • Mr.Baadsvik I am a fifteen year old that gladly joined a and ensemble and became a tubist I play the Bb flat tuba my range starting from the pedal Bb extending to the Ab above the staff and I was wondering if I could have some pointers especially in the double and triple tonging.
    P.S I also bought your solo fnugg yesterday it’s a nice arrangement

    • also you might know my instructor his name is John Reimund he’s from Laredo,Texas

  • Player 1 may have a very limited array of sound effects / qualities at their disposal, but show good mastery of the few, and make tasteful use of them.
    Player 2 may have a LARGE array of such sound qualities and deal them out in perfect control and with taste.
    A third player may have heard of all kinds of ways to alter their sound, but may master none of them.
    To me, player 1 may need encouragement, while the third should practise basics and go on from there. I´m sure Mr. Baadsvik is referring to players 1 and 2 in this entry.

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