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5 Facts About Saxophones

Want to learn more about the saxophone? We'll help you get started. Let's explore a little bit about the anatomy and history of saxophones.

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1. Saxophones can be traced back to one inventor: Adolphe Sax. Most musical instruments have existed in many variations for centuries making it hard to pin down their original creators. Born in Belgium in 1814, Adolphe played many instruments, but sought to invent something that functioned like a woodwind, and sounded like a brass horn. Enter: the Saxophone, patented in 1846 in Paris, France.

2. Saxophones are the only brass woodwind instrument. Clarinets, oboes, bassoons, and English horns are traditionally made of wood. Even the flute, the only other metal woodwind instrument, was originally made from wood. Some people argue that because saxes and flutes are metal bodied that the term woodwind refers to the reeds required to play them... but the flute may have a bone to pick with that...

3. There are more types of saxophones than you might think. You may be familiar with the most widely used saxophone sizes: soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. There are even more body styles to be explored including sopranino, bass, contrabass, and subcontrabass.

4. Saxophones have a conical bore. The inside of the instrument is cone shaped - narrow at one end, and wider at the other. The tone this type of bore produces often reminds people the sound of a human voice.

5. Famous Players: Jazz legends John Coltrane and Charlie Parker are some of the most influential saxophone players of all time. They pushed the boundaries of saxophone performance and helped to bring it to the forefront of jazz music. Other notable saxophone players include: Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, and Cannonball Adderley.

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