The saxophone is one of the few instruments that was actually invented. Adolphe Sax, a musician and instrument manufacturer from Belgium invented the saxophone in 1842. The saxophone was patented in 1846 and originally heard in French military bands. The instrument gained popularity as it became used in small combo jazz groups. It later became a permanent member of the concert band.
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The B-flat tenor saxophone’s ability to deliver smooth, warm tones at one moment and then raw, guttural depth the next has made it a mainstay of the jazz genre. Although also used for concert band and orchestral work, its vast powers of expression are capable of much broader emotional scope. The tenor’s tonal range makes it ideal for powerful support roles, but it is also a very capable instrument for melodic lines.
The E-flat alto saxophone is generally considered to be the most representative member of the sax family. It is the standard instrument for most classical players, and many jazz performers. The alto saxophone features an ideal balance between size and musical range that gives it extraordinary versatility.
Today the soprano saxophone is more popular than ever – particularly in the jazz and popular music fields. The tone of this instrument is richly expressive, making it perfect for solo melodic work.
The baritone saxophone is indispensable in saxophone quartets and music requiring a solid, deep saxophone low end.