The bass and contrabass tubas have, effectively, the same range. The difference between the two sub-categories of tuba lies in the ranges in which they are most effective, i.e., the portion of the overall range in which the instruments are easier to navigate and speak with a clearer tone. The contrabass tubas excel in the middle-low and pedal ranges, as this corresponds with the lower partials of the BBb and CC tubas. The bass tubas, in contrast, excel in the middle and higher ranges, as the higher relative partial series of the Eb and F tubas allows for a more comfortable navigation through higher passages. All things being equal, though, a professional tubist will have access to the same range, regardless of tuba choice.
The range of the euphonium does not exhibit such variability, as there is only one key and type of euphonium commonly used by the professional euphonium community.
The following charts show the overall range for both the tuba and euphonium, and the effective ranges of the four keys of tuba and euphonium. The effective range is split into the following categories, delineated by partial series: fundamental (lowest partial), pedal (between first and the false partial, which is an acoustical phenomenon that allows most tubas and euphoniums to play the pedal notes of the horn on the open bugle), low (between the false and second partials), middle-low (between second and fourth partials), middle-high (between fourth and sixth partials), high (between sixth and eighth partials), and very high (eighth partial and higher).
In addition to the range charts given below, there is also a series of charts showing the partial series for each chromatic fingering pattern, from partials 1-16. This encompasses much of the range of each instrument, and can be useful in finding microtonal variations of different notes in the higher range of the instruments. It must be noted that the tuba and euphonium both can play to a theoretically infinite upper partial, but in practice these 16 partials cover nearly the entirety of the range available to professional performers. Additionally, notes below the fundamental E on the tubas become exponentially difficult to perform, even for the professional tubist; notes lower than that are shown here simply to outline the basic limits of the tuba and euphonium range (indeed, some of the lowest fundamental notes listed here are beyond the range of human hearing).
When writing for the tuba and euphonium, as with any brass instrument, the composer must be aware of the ranges in which a piece of music dwells. Too much time spent in the higher ranges can be tiring, while the lowest ranges can be utilized much more extensively without noticeable fatigue.
Fig. 12 – Chart for Overall Range of the Euphonium
Fig. 13 – Chart for Overall Range of the Tuba (all keys)
Fig. 14 – Chart for Effective Range of the Euphonium
Fig. 15 – Chart for Effective Range of the F Tuba
Fig. 16 – Chart for Effective Range of the Eb Tuba
Fig. 17 – Chart for Effective Range of the CC Tuba
Fig. 18 – Chart for Effective Range of the BBb Tuba
Fig. 19 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the Compensating Euphonium
Fig. 20 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the Non-Compensating Euphonium
Fig. 21 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the F Tuba
Fig. 22 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the Non-Compensating Eb Tuba
Fig. 23 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the Compensating Eb Tuba
Fig. 24 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the CC Tuba
Fig. 25 – Chart for the Overtone Series of the BBb Tuba