Alto saxophone

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Alto saxophone
Etude Alto Saxophone.JPG
Woodwind instrument
Classification
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 422.212-71
(Single-reeded aerophone with keys)
Inventor(s) Adolphe Sax
Developed 28 June 1846[1]
Playing range
Sax range.svg

In E: sounds a major sixth lower than written. Most modern alto saxophones can reach a high F
Related instruments

Military band family:


Orchestral family:


Other saxophones:

Musicians
More articles

The alto saxophone, also referred to as the alto sax, is a member of the saxophone family of woodwind instruments invented by Belgian instrument designer Adolphe Sax in the 1840s, and patented in 1846. It is pitched in E, and is smaller than the tenor, but larger than the soprano. The alto sax is the most common saxophone and is commonly used in classical music (such as concert bands, chamber music, and solo repertoire), military bands, marching bands, and jazz (such as big bands, jazz combos, swing music). The saxophone fingerings are all universal, so a saxophone player can play any type of saxophone.

Range[edit]

The range of the alto saxophone is from concert D3 (the D below middle C—see Scientific pitch notation) to concert A5 (or A5 on altos with a high F key). As with most types of saxophones, the standard written range is B3 to F6 (or F6).[2] Above that, the altissimo register begins at F6 (or G6) and extends upwards. The saxophone's altissimo register is more difficult to control than that of other woodwinds and is usually only expected from advanced players. By covering or partially covering the bell of the saxophone when playing B3, it is possible for the alto saxophone to reach A3 as well[citation needed].

Alto saxophonists[edit]

Main article: List of saxophonists

Some notable jazz alto saxophonists include: Don Redman, Jimmy Dorsey, Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean, Phil Woods, Art Pepper, Paul Desmond, Cannonball Adderley, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Marshall Allen, Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Carlos Ward, David Sanborn, Paquito D'Rivera, John Zorn, Tim Berne, Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Kenny Garrett, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Tia Fuller.

Some notable classical alto saxophonists include Timothy McAllister, Marcel Mule, Sigurd Raschèr, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, Lawrence Gwozdz, Frederick L. Hemke, Donald Sinta, Harvey Pittel, Larry Teal, Jean-Marie Londeix, Kenneth Tse, Arno Bornkamp, Harry White, Otis Murphy, Claude Delangle and Eugene Rousseau.

Manufacturers[edit]

Some companies that currently produce saxophones are Buffet Crampon, KHS/Jupiter, Conn-Selmer, Selmer Paris, Yamaha, Leblanc/Vito, Keilwerth, Cannonball and Yanagisawa. New alto saxophones range in price between €250 for lower quality student models to over €6000 for professional models.

In classical music[edit]

The alto saxophone has a large classical solo repertoire that includes solos with orchestra, piano and wind symphony. Two of the most well-known solo compositions are Jacques Ibert's "Concertino da Camera" and Alexander Glazunov's "Concerto in E Flat major".

Also, the alto saxophone is part of the standard instrumentation of concert bands and saxophone quartets.

The alto saxophone is also occasionally used in orchestral compositions. Several orchestral examples are listed below.

Gallery of Alto Saxophones[edit]

Full range (from B to F) chromatic scale

Problems playing this file? See media help.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "June 28, 1846: Parisian Inventor Patents Saxophone". Wired.com. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Range of the Alto Saxophone". Library.thinkquest.org. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  3. ^ Photo Gallery :: SaxPics.com