By loosening the lips, a tubist/euphonist can consciously un-focus the buzz to the point of creating an airy or “floofy” sound. This occurs because the buzz is likewise losing some fidelity, allowing for the types of air sounds normally suppressed to be re-introduced into the sound. This technique can also be performed by partially disrupting (i.e., removing the lips from) the seal of the embouchure on the mouthpiece.

Necessary information

            Both methods of creating airy sounds are best performed at lower dynamics. This is due to the technique itself, which relies on a de-stabilization of the lips. That being said, some interesting effects may be created by slightly removing the embouchure from the mouthpiece and buzzing loudly. At that point, though, it turns into a different technique (that of free buzzing, which is not covered in this guide because it is as simple as it sounds—buzzing the lips freely from the mouthpiece). On the spectrum of techniques and their relative difficulty, this technique is on the easier end of the spectrum.


            As with some techniques in this guide, there is no agreed upon method for notating this effect. Since it is a modification of standard performance practice, it is the author’s belief that the best way to notate this is as a modification of standard notation—with an assigned notehead, or with some sort of symbol that directs the performer to use an airy sound.

Relative Difficulty


Works to consider (bolded titles are particularly representative examples of this technique)

            center unmoored in the presence of infinite fringes – Colin Tucker

            Tube space – Dmitri Kourliandski

            19 E. Main St., Alhambra, CA 91801 – Nicholas Deyoe

Ex. 12 Euphonium Recording
Ex. 12 Tuba Recording

Ex. 12 Euphonium Recording Download

Ex. 12 Tuba Recording Download