I play Eb tuba, and sometimes I come across bending down in my notes - either as an effect at the end of a note, or sometimes as a slide between two notes. I find this difficult to achieve with a good result, even using some kind of half-valve technique. Do you have some good descriptions on how to do this succesfully?


"Effect" at the end of a note:

Example is taken from the Frasier theme (from the TV series). See the last note.

Frasier theme

Slide between two notes:

Example is taken from a short intro to the Michael Jackson song "Don't stop till you get enough".

Don't stop till you get enough

  • 1
    Has your tuba a trigger?
    – ogerard
    May 13, 2011 at 19:25
  • 2
    @ogerard: triggers give a rather small range (max half tone), don't they?
    – Gauthier
    May 25, 2011 at 13:57
  • @Gauthier: that's why it was important for OP to put some examples of what he meant.
    – ogerard
    May 25, 2011 at 14:32
  • @ogerard: No, I don't have a trigger. And from reading more about it (and comment from @Gauthier) this would not help much for slides (even for effect - it would not be much of effect to just slide down a half note...)
    – awe
    May 26, 2011 at 7:11
  • 1
    Don't play tuba, but I know on trumpet you can lip it a bit in either direction.
    – segiddins
    Oct 4, 2012 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


I think half-valve is the only technique that would be effective.

Try to find a valve position that gives you the flexibility. It can involve any number of valves in any position (whatever if they are involved in the start or the end tone). Once you find a position where you can have a rather large range, use that for your drops and falls.

In these examples you do not need to play as a trombone would have, it's not meant as a clean glissando.

What could help - and in my opinion even have a positive effect - is to play quieter under the gliss. If you play loud you would have a hard time not to get to whatever tone you'd land on.

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