Here we’ll compare: tuba vs sousaphone vs euphonium

The tuba, sousaphone and euphonium are some of the biggest and most popular, not to mention well-known, instruments in the brass instrument family - instantly recognisable both visually and audibly. But what are the similarities, differences and benefits of the tuba vs sousaphone vs euphonium? 

Tuba vs sousaphone vs euphonium

The sizes: the sousaphone is basically a circular version of  the tuba; although it looks bigger because of the sousaphone’s oversized bell reaching up to 32 inches. The weight is carried on the player’s shoulder, with most sousaphone being pitched in BBb with tubing of 18 foot. Whereas the tuba is more compact, usually played on the lap of a musician, or resting on chair, or stand. It can be pitched in F (12 foot of tubing), Eb (13 foot of tubing), CC (16 foot of tubing), or BBb (18 foot of tubing). The euphonium is - without a doubt - the smallest of the 3 brass instruments with typically 9 feet of tubing pitched in Bb, an octave above the BBb tuba, or sousaphone. 

The sounds: the tuba and sousaphone produce very similar sounds, although the tuba tends to be more focused with its smaller bell and through the extra valve has the lowest bass tonal range. The euphonium plays a higher range of notes in the baritone register; the euphonium is often considered to produce a more lyrical  sound than the tuba. 

The uses: the sousaphone is most often played in marching bands; an exceptionally large brass instrument that wraps around the body, the sousaphone is therefore most comfortably played standing, whereas the tuba is much more versatile - heard in orchestras, jazz bands, brass ensembles, concert bands and more. The modern euphonium often provides harmony in concert bands and brass bands and can be a great solo instrument. 

In short, the tuba and sousaphone are similar instruments - the sousaphone is considered to be a type of tuba - whereas the euphonium is quite different; in sound, size and usage. 

All, however, are integral members of the tuba family! 

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