Saturday, December 29, 2012

Concept of Sound: What a Tuba SOUNDS like..Arnold Jacobs: Portrait of an Artist


I originally just wanted to do reviews of Tuba recordings but I think this is better. I want to review and suggest recordings not only for our listening pleasure but also to help develop a concept of sound for students and educators who don't have a background in low brass. A concept of sound with regards to any instrument is so crucial because our brain will imitate what we hear when we try to create music and if you don't know how your instrument is supposed to sound it can be a major set back for some students. In my opinion, the more educated a student is with regards to how their instruments SOUNDS the more successful they will be as they progress as a player. 

What better place to start than with the gold standard: Arnold Jacobs. Not only is Jacobs one of the finest Tubists to play the instrument, he is arguably the greatest brass teacher ever.

The recording put out on Summit records is Arnold Jacobs: Portrait of an Artist. It is one part of a two part series. The second is Arnold Jacobs: Legacy of an Artist. One of the great features of these recordings is that there are recordings of Jacobs with chamber ensembles, solo practice in his studio, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and intertwined between the music are excerpts from Jacobs' lectures about music, song and wind. 

My favorite bits from this recording are the lectures. Much of Arnold Jacobs' philosophy revolves around getting out of your own head, getting out of your own way and making music. A few of his former students would tell me that Jacobs said "You have two horns; the one in your hand and the one in your head." All of his philosophy put more simply is song and wind.

Since this is an article about developing a concept of sound PLEASE purchase these recordings and listen to them. I will make it easy for you and provide links where the records can be purchased:


Truly the only way to develop a good concept of sound is to listen to the recordings...

A better version..."I'm using my F tuba, and no, I'm not transposing."

 Rachel Matz

I wanted to write something on this topic and just when I think I am ready I go to Rachel Matz's  blog and she has done a better job on the subject than I could. So I do what any sane person might...I link to her version because I honestly think it is terrific. Check it out!


Rachel Matz is a great Tubist and educator. Please check out her other blog posts.

SPAM! Yeesh...


Okay, so it looks like I have made it! My blog is now being graced by spammers. I try to clear this up as soon as I can, but sometimes I miss it. It makes me sad that so many great places on the internet get all gunked up by spam. If you are a regular visitor to this blog and run into some spam, send me a note and I will burn it from my blog. 

Thanks! 

KS