The tuba is a large, low pitched, valved brass instrument with a conical bore and a wide bell. Invented in 1835 by Wilhelm Friedrich Wieprecht and Johann Gottfried Moritz, it serves as the principal bass instrument in orchestras and brass bands.
The sousaphone is a type of helical tuba that encircles the player, and which is often used in marching bands. The sousaphone was developed in the 1890s for John Philip Sousa, who wanted to reproduce the full, warm tone of a concert tuba in an instrument that was easier to hold and play. Sousaphones have the same tube length as other tubas, and are played in much the same way.
- The tuba is held in front of the player’s body; the sousaphone wraps around the player, resting on the left shoulder. Sousaphones are easier to carry while standing.
- The bell of a tuba usually faces nearly upward; the sousaphone’s bell projects forward and is detachable.
- Tubas are generally made of brass; sousaphones may be constructed from brass or fiberglass, which is lighter and more durable.
- Tubas usually have between three and six valves; sousaphones always have three valves.