The saxophone is a single-reed woodwind instrument that was developed in 1841. Adolphe Sax, the saxophone’s inventor and namesake, redesigned the classic shawm and intended his new creation to combine elements of both woodwind and brass instruments. The instrument was originally called the bass horn and it was only after the instrument was reviewed in the French Journal des Debats that it was renamed the saxophone. 


Facts and Features

1)    Despite most saxophones being made of brass, the instrument is classified as woodwind because a reed directing air into it produces the sound.
2)    The most common types of saxophones are the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. 
3)    Even though the saxophone can be used orchestrally, it is not a permanent member of the orchestra.  
4)    Military bands initially popularised the saxophone, and the instrument also became an inspiration for jazz bands, resulting in the saxophone becoming an iconic element of jazz music. 
5)    The largest saxophone produced is the contrabass saxophone, which stands at 6ft four inches tall (1.9m) and operates an octave lower than the baritone sax. 

Famous Players

Marcel Mule (1901-2001) 
Sigurd Raschèr (1907- 2001)
Eugene Rousseau (1932-)
Frederick Hemke (1935-) 
Arno Bornkamp (1959-)

Music to Listen to

Brahms - Sonata No. 1, Op. 120
Debussy- Rapsodie pour Orchestre et Saxophone
Harle – Innocent
Heiden - Diversion
Schmitt – Quatuor pour Saxophones, Op. 102

Find Out

1)    Why are saxophones lacquered? 
2)    How many types of saxophones are there?