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FAQs and Ask the Quintet

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

For all the things we didn’t have time to show and tell you during our visit we have put together page. We hope that they will answer most of your questions and you can always email us if you want to know more!

How long would the tuba be if you unrolled it?

Too long to carry on the school bus! Tubas come in different sizes. Ours would be about 7 meters long, if all the tubes were combined into one.

Is the Tuba heavy?

The tuba is heavy, but not as heavy as it looks because the metal is quite thin. Our tuba weighs about 9 kilograms.

How long would all of the brass instruments combined be?

Well, let’s see: the tuba and horn are about 6 meters each; the trombone is about 4 meters (with the slide pushed all the way out;) the trumpets are about 2 meters (with all the valves pushed) and the piccolo trumpet is about 1 meter. That’s too much math for me…

How did you guys know what Instruments to play?

Hello! Most of us didn’t know what instruments we wanted to play until we tried them. For some of us, our music teacher suggested these instruments. For others, we were given these ones as presents. We all played other instruments before these, piano for example, but we liked these ones better once we played them for a while.

Why do you stick your hand in inside the French Horn?

There are two reasons: it helps me hold it up and it allows me to make different sounds by changing the shape of my hand.

What are those things you stick in the end of the instrument?

Those are called mutes. They come in different shapes and sizes which give us many different sounds on the instruments. Mutes are made of metal, plastic, cardboard, and wood. They are made for all the instruments of the brass family.

Is that a plunger?

Yes, this is a plunger. It’s a small one so it’s actually made for a sink. The larger toilet plunger is more appropriate for the trombone. It’s best to buy a new one for something like this so you know where it’s been.

How long has Foothills Brass been playing?

About 45 minutes. Seriously, FBQ has been around for 30 years – Many players have changed over the years but Chris is the founding member and so has been with the group from the beginning!

How long are the instruments if you uncoiled them?

Piccolo Trumpet – about 70 centimetres (2 1/4 feet) Trumpet – 1.4 meters (4.5 feet) Trombone – almost 3 meters (9 feet) French horn – almost 4 meters (12 feet) Tuba – almost 6 meters (18 feet) This does not include the extra tubes attached to the valves. When we push valves, or move the trombone slide out, the instruments get even longer.

How much does each instrument weigh?

They’re not too heavy, as they’re hollow and made of a very thin metal called brass. The heaviest is the tuba. The one in Foothills Brass weighs about 9 kilograms (20 pounds) but some bigger ones can weigh up to twice that much.

When did you start playing your instruments?

Most of us started around grade 5 or 6 on the instruments we play in Foothills though some of us played other instruments before

In the Little Fugue, is the answer a tonal answer or a real answer?

It is a real answer as the intervals in the answer are the same as the intervals in the fugue subject.

Is the trombone player swallowing his slide?

No, the slide is detachable. It is a long piece of tubing, bent into a skinny letter ‘U’ shape and the placed on top of two other cylindrical pieces of tubing. This allows them to quickly change the length of tubing on the trombone and get different notes.

How do the valves work?

Each valve is attached to a different set of tubing. When the valve is pressed, it opens up an extra length of tubing and changes the overall length of the instrument and gives me a different series of notes.

Are you the musicians playing the theme for the Simpsons on TV?

No, the musicians for that recording live in Los Angeles and make their living playing for television and movies. Thanks for thinking that it might have been us! Also, listen closely the next time you hear that music — you will notice instruments from all the different families: strings, percussion, woodwinds, as well as brass.

How does the Time Machine work?

We’re not sure – we just bought it at a Time Machine Store. Your teacher should know – please ask them when you get back to class.

Which instrument plays the highest note?

Which instrument plays the lowest note? The size of the instrument determines the pitch – the longer the instrument, the lower the notes; the shorter the instrument, the higher the notes. That’s why the trumpets (especially the piccolo trumpet) play the highest notes while the tuba plays the lowest notes. The french horn and trombone play the notes in the middle. How high you can play on each instrument is dependent on the abilities of the player.

What are the instruments made out of?

The instruments of the brass family are made out of the metal brass which is an alloy (a combination) of two different metals: zinc and copper. Brass is really dull looking metal so the instruments are polished up and then coated with a clear coat of paint called lacquer. The silver instruments are coated with a very thin coat of silver.

Who wrote the Harry Potter music?

The music for Harry Potter was written by John Williams, a very successful composer who lives in the United States and makes his living writing music for the movies. His most famous music is the music for all six Star Wars episodes.

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