The saxophone – or ‘sax’ – is a woodwind instrument used in classical music (such as concert bands, chamber music, and solo repertoires), military bands, marching bands, and jazz (such as big bands and jazz combos).

The saxophone was developed in 1846 by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument maker, flautist, and clarinetist. He wanted to create a group or series of instruments that would be the most powerful and vocal of the woodwinds, and the most adaptive of the brass instruments, that would fill the vacant middle ground between the two sections.

The range of the alto saxophone is from concert D♭3 (the D♭ below middle C) to concert A♭5 (or A5 on altos with a high F♯ key). As with most types of saxophones, the standard written range is B♭3 to F6 (or F♯6). Above that, the altissimo register begins at F♯6 (or G6) and extends upwards.

How to play 
Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The sound is made by blowing a stream of air into the mouthpiece (known as embouchure), and pressing down on the instrument’s keys. This changes the pitch by opening and closing holes on the instrument, creating higher or lower notes. Varying the air flow into the instrument can affect the pitch, volume, and type of sound created.

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