Tuba Fanfare - "Regal"

Fanfare / Euphonium Tuba Quartet

Creative Vision for the Track:
This will be recorded by a live group at the beginning of March along with two carols for euphonium and tuba quartet. To ensure diverse styles across three short pieces I opted for an opening tuba fanfare of sorts. (One of the other pieces to be recorded is more lush while the other focuses on multiple time signatures and rhythmic devices.)

  1. Clearly heavily influenced by John Williams’ penchant for triplet subdivisions the opening section is a straight ahead statement of a fanfare melody.

  2. The B section is more flowing. I used four-tuplets and other cross rhtyhms to breakup the monotony of the rhythms in the A section.

  3. The piece returns to the A section theme as a canon. It makes it a little more interesting for the tubas (particularly Tuba 2). The filigree in the euphoniums adds a little spice for them, too.

I was encouraged by the ensemble this is written for not to go easy on them. They wanted something that people would hear it and go “I didn’t know tubas could do that!” PRO TIP: Be careful what you ask for!

Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc):

Time signature: 6/8 throughout
Tempo: Dotted Quarter = 132
Key: Bb
Main Chords:

  • Generally major triads in the A section. Bridge gets into some 7th and 9th extentions.

  • Keeping with Williams’ predilection for second inversion chords it opens with a Bb triad in second inversion. It cadences with an Ab triad (2nd inversion) - Fsus4 to F (root position) to Bb (2nd inversion).

  • That said there is a G7 (b13, #9) lurking in the A section.

  • Inversions are prominent. (e.g. the bass line C - D - Eb appears more than once. In the more “jazzy” part it is harmonized as a D-7 (F triad over D). As the bridge returns to the A section I use a Bb / D chord (no chordal third in the upper voices per traditional rules for first inversion chords) to foreshadow the fanfare feel yet to come.

Special Note:

Tuba 1 is written very high since the performer will be using an F Tuba. Care was taken to avoid the interval of a second between Tuba 1 and Euphonium 2 for balance / clashing reasons. Without guidance from the performer I doubt I would’ve attempted that register with a BBb tuba.

PRO TIP: Talk with your musicians / performers. I always appreciate it when I’m playing on a studio session when the orchestrator / composer asks for input.

Main Instruments used:

This direct from Finale’s Aria player.

“Regal” – Euphonium and Tuba Quartet - Stan Bann


Great stuff Stan! I’m always amazed at your euph and tuba arrangements. I know the tuba is more agile than it normally gets to play, but I still always think, “That’s cool!”

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It’s really nice. I envy your musical knowledge.

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Fun! Love it. It has a hint of the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Band to it.

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Thanks, Matt! Much appreciated!

I had some good tuba and compositional race horses to follow in my very early days!

Hal Freese was my elementary band director. Hal’s elementary band method was published and used around the world.

His son, Stan Freese, is a world class tuba virtuoso (Stan was a featured soloist on Lawrence Welk at the age of 11, I believe. He was the first band director at Epcot and went on to 42+ years hiring musicians for Disney. He was on “Hee Haw” with his comedic tuba songs … check out his “Play That Country Tuba, Cowboy” for some fun!). Hal would bring Stan over to the elementary school to play for us so we could hear how it’s done.

Stan’s kids are rock stars in their own right. Jason Freese appears regularly with Greenday (keyboards, sax, anything else in the room) and Josh Freese has been with Nine Inch Nails and Devo among all his studio drumming credits.

Dr. Frank Bencriscutto was the director of bands for the University of Minnesota and a marvelous composer. Dr. Ben started the whole indoor marching band concert idea while at the UofM. Got to gig with him several times … marvelous jazz sax player.

I said all that to share this:

Dr. Ben wrote “Concertino for Tuba” as a tour de force for a young man in his Wind Ensemble at the U of M. Just so happened the tuba player was Stan Freese. In 1966 the U of M band recorded “Concertino” as part of their audition packet to the State Department to tour Russia. That tour happened in 1969. Stan got a ten minute standing ovation at the White House for his performance of “Carnival of Venice”. (Check that on YouTube, too. Holy cow!)

The piece is quintessential Bencriscutto. Absolutely love his writing.

I have student who is working up “Concertino” for a competition in the fall. I asked a friend of mine who was an archivist at the U to see if they recorded “Concertino” and, in fact, he had the MP3.

Keep in mind this is a college band recorded with three mics (two for the band, one for Stan) in 1966. Save some room on the floor for your jaw.


Stan Freese / Dr. Frank Bencriscutto / University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble 1966 “Concertino for Tuba”

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Thanks for your kind words, Vincent! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece!

Thanks, Clint! No matter how hard I try there’s almost always a but of jazz in there somewhere!

Well it’s a fine piece. Since I’m an amateur and self-taught musician, I would be hesitant to share my work in a public forum. That’s why your work stands out.

Can you tell us a little bit about the projects you’re currently involved in?

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Wow, I’ll need to check some of this out. I know who Josh Freese is as I’m a big fan of NIN and A Perfect Circle

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Hey, Vincent! Thanks for asking!

I’m doing a variety of things. Lots of low brass and full wind ensemble work (both composition and orchestration). Working hard on upping my digital game (I’m far more comfortable with score paper and live musicians but I’m getting better!). I’ll be doing a lot of orchestra writing starting in April which I’m looking forward to exploring.

Doing a lot of teaching as well. 35 private students a week help keep lights on!

And, as always, a lot of learning! As the old phrase goes “The only difference between a groove and a grave are the dimensions!

Stay safe and well, Vincent! Keep learning! Keep in touch!


Yeah, Stan! Love it! Wonderful melody, rich and pleasing harmonies. Can’t wait to hear the live recording!

Are you familiar with Rich Matteson, the jazz euphonium player?


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Thanks, Steven!

Very familiar with Rich! A warm, generous man and an abundant talent! I loved the lyricism in his improvisation. The lyricism sometimes masked how technically brutal those lines actually were!

A friend of mine turned me on to Ashley Alexander years ago (another stellar cat!). Ashley played an unbelievable jazz euphonium along with his SuperBone stuff. It was through Ashley’s big band recordings I was introduced to Frank Mantooth’s writing. So blessed I had a chance to learn from and get to know Tooth. Sorely missed!

There’s a wonderful musician by the name of David Bandman who is playing jaw dropping jazz euph. I came across him doing a trombone solo on a Pete Peterson recording. Lost track of him for a while then saw some YouTube things of him and couldn’t believe what he was doing.

As a fellow Minnesotan you need to check out the link in the long reply I left Matt above. Ski-U-Mah!!!


Wow- how great is that- learning from Frank Mantooth!
Ashley Alexander- another great player. I wasn’t familiar with David Bandman; I don’t think he was at North Texas when I was there. But I’ve been checking him out on youtube, and he’s terrific.
Speaking of Pete Peterson, I was blessed to play with his band while at UNT. What a great band!!

And I checked out the Stan Freese performances. Luckily, I had placed a pillow on the floor underneath my jaw. :^)


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Glad you enjoyed the sounds and practiced “safe Stan Freese listening” protocols! Too much unprotected listening can lead to TMJ concerns.

Tooth was a gem. Used to travel to his apartment in Chicago for lessons when I worked for the airlines. Always inspirational! He’d teach arranging out of his Voicings book (all the miracle voicings, upper structures, etc.). He’d break out pencil charts he was working on (“Arranger’s Home Movies” as he called them!). Got the long story behind “Moonlight In Vermont” … he got the run around on that from Lou Rawls’ people. I totally appreciated to sit and ask him “why this chord / voicing in this place at this time” questions. Felt (and still feel) totally blessed to have known him both as a mentor and a friend.


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Okay- so i need to know-

Why this chord / voicing in this place at this time?



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The simple answer, Steven, is “42”. :+1:

Tooth talked often about cadences being more about “pain and release” than “dominant tonic”. So sometimes a harsher upper structure chord (Gb/C7 which equates to a C7(#11,b9))was the right chord at the right time.

Where it it falls in the chart was always one of his answers. Is there a more intense point to come? Using the above Gb/C7 example above he might use a D/C7 (C13(#11)) on the first pass saving the b9 alteration for later.

Preserving an inner line was another very common answer. If the original had a strong inner moving line he’d work to preserve that with his upper structure reharmonizations. He always respected the original tune no matter how far afield he took his charts.

He used a 13sus - 7b9 progression often to delay resolution / gratification, too. (If the target chord is a C13b9 with an A in the melody, for example, he’d interject a Bbmaj7/C before resolving the inner voices down by half step (F to E, D to Db)). I find myself digging that one out of my toolkit quite often!

Sorry to digress … Love me some Tooth-ian harmonies!


35 students per week? As a former tutor in a different field myself, I hope there are some group lessons in all that.

My learning has gone in the opposite direction – from digital to actual scores. I learned this, somewhat, during the pandemic.

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35 individual private students per week. The closest I come to a group lesson is when siblings come one after the other and one stays while the other has their lesson. There are times when … yeah … I’ll stop there!

I’ve found the analog to digital journey interesting. I come to the digital world with a sense of what has worked for me and others in live situations (e.g. balance, registers, cross section voicings, line writing, and even what to do when a critical musician misses the gig!).

The curse is when it comes to the digital world I work hard to make the digital sound analog. The digital and hybrid worlds have their own strengths, their own esthetic, and their flexibility. There are times when I remind myself the digital / hybrid combinations are their own instrument. One that needs to be learned and cultivated for it’s own right.

It’s a massive shove out of my own safety zone … which is a great creative plus and one I’m excited about exploring!

The great news is the experiences on both sides of the aisle complement each other. It’s easy to write a string part in blocked piano style voicing and overlook the linear nature of the strings themselves. Looking at the string parts from a string player’s perspective makes the digital result more natural and, to my ear, stronger.

I mentioned Stan Freese above. Stan has a tattoo on his forearm saying “Don’t Let The Old Man In”. Age is a number. Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional. Always be learning new things and challenging assumptions. Its the only way to find those new and hidden facets in the gems around us.

Take care, Vincent! Please keep in touch!


Stan: Your comments are invaluable.
You’re successfully addressing the same issues I am coming across – except you know the minute mechanics of how the instruments work and should sound in real life. I try to keep this aspect in mind as much as possible, and in terms of sound I think I generally achieve it. But in terms of mechanics, i.e., the real possibilities/limitations of individual instruments, on that I’m still a beginner and probably always will be.

For example, the different registers of a clarinet, or keeping in mind pauses for breath in general with woodwinds and brass, and how to account for them when composing. Ugh, I’ll probably never really know.

Another aspect I’ve come across is the concept of “contemporary” in terms of classical music. I was told my music is too neoclassical to be considered contemporary, but it’s also sometimes too unconventional to be considered neoclassical. Have you dealt with that issue?

I somewhat ignored these concerns over the last week when creating the piece dedicated to the people of Ukraine, because I only did the audio rendition and I haven’t put it into the form of a score, yet. When I do, the headaches will begin.

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Thanks, Vincent!

None of us are alone in this journey! We are learning to play an instrument … which happens to be an amalgam of acoustic and digital instruments. It takes a lifetime to master. Embrace and enjoy the learning journey!

Someone once asked Pablo Casals why he still practiced every day when he was in his 90s. His response was "Because I think I’m starting to improve."

Did you post the audio for your Ukraine piece here? Sorry if I missed it. Consider me a sounding board for the score / engraving process!!

“Contemporary” … hmm …

I lost out on a grant one time to someone who pitched the idea of a piece for treated ping pong table. He put sensors on the bottom of a ping pong table and bombarded it with various object to trigger loops, sound effects, and even the sound of the ping pong balls themselves.

Silly me … I had a piece with melody, harmony, rhythms, dynamics … very old school. Being old fashioned I believe melody and harmony have a place in music.

I forget who to attribute another pithy statement to but it was “Composers no longer compose music. They compose ways to compose..” This was back in the early 60’s if I remember. I think it was criticism of John Cage at the time. Still more truth than poetry.

Flying low at the moment. Be safe! Be well!

Take care, Vincent!