Alto saxophone

The alto saxophone, also referred to as the alto sax or simply the alto, 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 popular music, concert bands, chamber music, solo repertoire, military bands, marching bands, and jazz (such as big bands, jazz combos, swing music). The fingerings of the different saxophones are all the same so a saxophone player can play any type of saxophone.

Alto saxophone
Yamaha Saxophone YAS-62.tif
Woodwind instrument
Classification
Hornbostel–Sachs classification422.212-71
(Single-reeded aerophone with keys)
Inventor(s)Adolphe Sax
Developed28 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 (or higher using altissimo fingerings).
Related instruments

Military band family:


Orchestral family:


Other saxophones:

Musicians
More articles or information

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

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). When necessary, a player can extend the instrument's range to concert C3 by putting their knee or foot in the bell.[2] As with most types of saxophone, the standard written range is B3 to F6 (or F6).[3] 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.

The alto saxophone is a transposing instrument; pitches sound a major sixth lower than written.

Alto saxophonistsEdit

 
An alto saxophone being played

Notable jazz alto saxophonists include Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Garrett, Paul Desmond, Benny Carter, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Bobby Watson, Marshall Allen, Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, 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, 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

Some companies that currently produce saxophones are Buffet Crampon, KHS/Jupiter, Conn-Selmer, Selmer Paris, Yamaha, Leblanc/Vito, Keilwerth, Cannonball, P.Mauriat Musical Instrument and Yanagisawa. New alto saxophones range in price between €250 ($281.05) for lower quality student models to over €6000 ($6745.20) for professional models.

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. ^ "Playing Notes Lower Than Low Bb". Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Range of the Alto Saxophone". Library.thinkquest.org. Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011.