Playing a really (really) big tuba

Posted on: September 29, 2014

“A typical tuba is about 3 1/2 -feet high, has about 18 feet of tubing and weighs about 20 pounds,” writes Sam Roberts in Friday’s (9/26) New York Times. “Big Carl stands nearly 8 feet tall, contains 60 feet of tubing, weighs about 100 pounds and registers a subcontrabass BBBb pitch.… He used to be on display at the Carl Fischer music store in Cooper Square, in Lower Manhattan, but is now hidden away on an upper story of the music publisher’s Wall Street offices, a beloved but lonely mascot to colleagues at the company, which is trying to bring the tarnished brass instrument back to public view. Carl’s origins are murky—it is not known exactly when or for whom he was created—but seem to trace back about 100 years.… Big Carl was crafted at Bohland & Fuchs in what was then Bohemia by someone who had a sense of humor. Included is a standard hook that would allow a player to strap it on and play it in a marching band—that is, if the musician were about 18 feet tall.” In a video accompanying the article, Derek Fenstermacher, principal tuba with the New Jersey Symphony, plays the instrument.

Posted September 29, 2014