I'm a highschool tuba player and I have a solo performance coming up in a couple days. Unfortunately, my tuba has been in the repair shop for over a month and I just got it back, less than a week before my performance. (I've been using a school owned instrument during that time). As such I have not grasped my solo on my horn.

I am playing a three movement piece and two of the movements I can play on my horn, but one movement I can't. Is it fine to switch horns between movements of a solo piece?

  • 3
    Why not play the whole thing on the instrument you're more comfortable with? Jan 25, 2023 at 19:31
  • 1
    Movement one and two I play more comfortably on one horn and movement three I play more comfortably on the other.
    – Wgw327
    Jan 25, 2023 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Yes, you should absolutely feel comfortable switching horns between movements! As tubists advance, this becomes a part of normal practice; even at the highest level of symphony auditions, tubists typically have two separate horns to encompass the various musical needs of the excerpts they're playing.

If you're accompanied by any other instruments, just make sure that the two horns are in the same key; otherwise you may have a big surprise when it comes time to practice with others and you realize you're inadvertently playing completely different notes!

  • 1
    If you're accompanied by any other instruments, just make sure that the two horns are in the same key This is still pretty important regardless of accompaniment — for a lot of multi-movement pieces, it would be very odd to hear one movement randomly transposed relative to the others.
    – PLL
    Jan 26, 2023 at 9:37
  • 3
    I would also add that the instruments don't need to be in the same key, as long as you're playing them both in concert pitch. For example, you could play one movement on an F tuba then switch to a C tuba for a different movement, as long as you stay in concert pitch
    – Andy
    Jan 26, 2023 at 11:45
  • 1
    @Andy Yes, you've put this more clearly than I did. Tubas in different keys is standard, but the tubist must be aware of this difference. Playing the same fingerings on different-keyed tubas is where the problems come up.
    – Richard
    Jan 26, 2023 at 11:48

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