Theatricality, and especially the delivering of theatrical speech, can be easily implemented within the performance of a work for tuba or euphonium. A few works, such as Mauricio Kagel’s Mirum and Tom Johnson’s Monologue, have expertly paired theatrical speech with tuba performance, and the limit for this technique is determined by the theatrical sensibilities of the performer.
Like its fellow brass instruments, the tuba and euphonium require some time for the embouchure to be properly set up. Although the experienced performer can shorten this time dramatically, it is still the case that removing the embouchure from the instrument in order to enunciate speech to a proper degree is necessarily a disruptive gesture. As long as the composer is aware of this disruptive nature, it can easily be accommodated for.
As with the more extreme techniques in this guide, the diligent composer must be aware of the fact that many tubists and euphonists are unfamiliar with this level of theatricality. Unless it is known for a certainty that the performer is able and willing to perform such theatrical actions, the author suggests that the intrepid composer be judicious with their theatrical directions.
Similar to other forms of vocalization, theatrical speech can be notated through the use of text prompts and/or a dedicated staff. Due to the nature of this technique, it is vital that the specific theatrical actions required for the work be explicitly and clearly written down within the work.
Intermediate to Professional
Works to consider (bolded titles are particularly representative examples of this technique)
Mirum – Mauricio Kagel
Monologue – Tom Johnson
From the Quiet… – Peter Hoch
Death Be Not Proud – Melvyn Poore
Ex. 6 Euphonium Recording Download