The History of Sax

William Lee, Contributor

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The saxophone is a woodwind instrument despite its similarity to a brass instrument. It is a woodwind instrument because it uses a mouthpiece that requires a reed which is wooden. This instrument was invented by a Belgian instrument maker, Adolphe sax in the 1800s. Sax wanted a woodwind that was strong and powerful and something that laid between the Brass and Woodwind families. After the first saxophone, or the Alto Saxophone was created, the other saxes were created. These are the Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Saxophone, and the Soprano Saxophone. After building this masterpiece of an instrument, he applied and received a patent that protected his work for about 15 years. After these 15 years, many manufacturers started to modify and sell the saxophone. Today, it is well known for its use in Jazz and orchestra. As many Brass and Woodwind instruments are, the Saxophone can be taken apart for easier transportation. Many famous musicians use this instrument. One of the most famous saxophonists is Kenny G. Kenny G did not just play one saxophone, but all the variations. He even has his own line of saxophones. The saxophone is used in military bands, marching bands, and many other types of bands. Similarly to the Clarinet, the saxophone is a valve instrument which relies on opening and closing valves to change its pitch. The most commonly used saxophone is the alto saxophone. It is medium sized which makes it very portable, it has a range of high to medium low pitches, and it is much easier to learn. The saxophone also allows for circular breathing which allows you to play the instrument without stopping to breathe. Circular breathing is very difficult to master. Kenny G even had to practice for 10 years just to get it to work well. The popularity of the saxophone has not waned in any way since its creation and is still much loved today for its smooth jazz and low resonation. Even some video games make characters that are based on the saxophone. One is from the game Skullgirls. That character’s name is Big Band. Music is made from this instrument everyday.

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