Tuba is the general name for several musical instruments which are the newest additions to the brass family. Tubas are the largest instruments in the brass family and also have the lowest pitch. The tuba, unlike most other brass instruments is held vertically when it is played. Sound is produced when the musician vibrates his or her lips into a cup shaped mouthpiece. Notes can then be changed when the musician changes his or her lip tension or fingering on the instrument's valves. The most popular type of tube is the baritone tuba, also known as the euphonium. This type of tuba usually has three or four valves and is most common in concert and marching bands. The upright tuba is usually used in symphony orchestras. This tuba has three to five valves and is generally larger than the baritone tuba. The three valve sousaphone is often used in marching bands. It wraps around the musician and has a flaring bell. In addition, in drum and bugle corps, the marching bugle tuba, a three-valve tuba, is often used.
The tuba was patented in 1835 by Friedrich Wilhelm Wieprecht (a Prussian bandmaster) and Johann Gottfried Moritz (a German builder). It was one of their several attempts to provide the wind band with a suitable valved, brass, bass instrument. There were several antecedents of the tuba, including the serpent (an s-shaped, cup mouthpiece wooden bass with finger holes) and the ophicleide (a keyed bass bugle).