Saxophone

About the Saxophone

The Saxophone is one of the newest acoustic music instruments and yet one of the most popular. It has distinctive tone, incredible flexibility, wide range and amazing look. Playing sax is like singing, just better.

This instrument was invented by Belgian-born instrument maker, flutist and clarinetist Adolphe Sax in 1846, in Paris. Mr. Sax intended to create woodwind family instrument with a strong sound, so to improve woodwind section in marching bands. The intention was truly successful, and his instrument, saxophone, became a star not only in marching bands, but in academic music of the time and later in blues, jazz, and many other music styles.

Saxophones are made of brass, but the sound is produced by a reed, small stripe of cane that is attached to the ebonite or metal mouthpiece and vibrates when air passes through. Controlling the air stream and forming embouchure (use of facial muscles and the shaping of the lips to the mouthpiece) are two most basic components of producing the sound. There are over 23 finger keys on sax, depending on a type and brand, so you need to use not only fingers, but also sides of the palm to play different pitches.

There are 4 saxophones widely used: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. These instruments differ in size and pitch range, soprano being the smallest one, playing the highest notes, baritone – biggest and reaching the lowest notes. The playing technique for all types of saxophones is almost the same, so once you learn to play one of them, you can easily switch to the other.
Saxophones, such as little sopranino, tiny soprillo, monster bass, contrabass and enormous subcontrabass are rarely used.

Saxophone is extremely fun instrument to play, because it is easy to produce a basic sound. It will take couple of lessons for a complete sax beginner to learn basic fingerings, produce controlled sound and play first tunes. Saxophone is such a versatile instrument, that you can play anything on it. There are many techniques, such as vibrato, bending, growling etc. that can be used on saxophone. Playing this instrument allows you to produce wide variety of tone colors, articulations, dynamic levels.

While proving very popular in military band music, the saxophone is most commonly associated with jazz and classical music. There is substantial repertoire of concert music in the classical idiom for the members of the saxophone family. Saxophone players are called saxophonists

Playing music is good for your brain!