Alto saxophone

The alto saxophone is a member of the saxophone family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones were invented by Belgian instrument designer Adolphe Sax in the 1840s and patented in 1846. The alto saxophone is pitched in E, smaller than the B tenor but larger than the B soprano. It is the most common saxophone and is used in popular music, concert bands, chamber music, solo repertoire, military bands, marching bands, pep bands, and jazz (such as big bands, jazz combos, swing music).

Alto saxophone
Yamaha Saxophone YAS-62.png
Woodwind instrument
Classification
Hornbostel–Sachs classification422.212-71
(Single-reed aerophone with keys)
Inventor(s)Adolphe Sax
Developed28 June 1846[1]
Playing range

    {
      \new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" }
      \clef treble \key c \major \cadenzaOn
      bes1 ^ \markup "written" \glissando f'''1
      \clef bass des1 ^ \markup "sounds" \glissando \clef treble aes''1
    }
Alto saxophone in E♭ sounds a major sixth lower than written. Most can reach high F♯ or higher, using altissimo fingerings.
Related instruments
Military band saxophones: Orchestral saxophones: Other saxophones:
Musicians
List of saxophonists
More articles or information
Saxophone

The alto saxophone had a prominent role in the development of jazz. Influential jazz musicians who made significant contributions include Don Redman, Jimmy Dorsey, Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean, Phil Woods, Art Pepper, Paul Desmond, and Cannonball Adderley.

Although the role of the alto saxophone in classical music has been limited, influential performers include Marcel Mule, Sigurd Raschèr, Jean-Marie Londeix, Eugene Rousseau, and Frederick L. Hemke.

RangeEdit

As with most saxophones, the alto's written range is B3 to F6 (or F6),[2] with the higher altissimo register starting at F6 (or G6). The saxophone's altissimo register is more difficult to control than that of other woodwinds and is usually only expected from advanced players.

The alto saxophone is a transposing instrument, with pitches sounding a major sixth lower than written. In terms of concert pitches, the alto saxophone's range 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).

Alto saxophonistsEdit

 
Free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman playing the alto sax

Notable jazz alto saxophonists include Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Desmond, Benny Carter, Ornette Coleman, Bobby Watson, Eric Dolphy, Marshall Allen, Art Pepper, Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Lakecia Benjamin, Carlos Ward, David Sanborn, Dave Koz, Tom Scott, Paquito D'Rivera, John Zorn, Tim Berne, Steve Wilson, Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Vincent Herring, Mark Gross, Kenny Garrett, and Jeff Coffin.

Notable classical alto saxophonists include Tim McAllister, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, Lawrence Gwozdz, Donald Sinta, Harvey Pittel, Larry Teal, Kenneth Tse, Arno Bornkamp, Harry White, Otis Murphy, Claude Delangle.

Kadri Gopalnath was the pioneer of Carnatic music for the instrument.

ManufacturersEdit

Companies that currently produce saxophones include Buffet Crampon, KHS/Jupiter, Conn-Selmer, Selmer Paris, Yamaha, Leblanc/Vito, Keilwerth, Cannonball, and Yanagisawa.

New alto saxophones range in price between €250 ($281.05) for lower quality models to over €6000 ($6745.20) for professional instruments.

 
Yamaha YAS-62 alto saxophone

Classical music repertoireEdit

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

The alto saxophone is found in the standard instrumentation of concert bands and saxophone quartets. Alexander Glazunov composed his Saxophone Quartet in B-flat major in 1932.

The alto saxophone is sometimes used in orchestral music. Some of the compositions where it appears are listed below.

ReferencesEdit

  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 17 March 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011.