Concise Profile of the Saxophone

from Stock Xchng. Photo Courtesy of Greek Golangco

Name of Instrument:



Woodwind, single-reed

How to Play:

The musician or saxophonist, places the mouthpiece in his mouth, with the reed gently resting on his bottom lip and his teeth on top of the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece must be sealed with his mouth before he blows. The tube of the saxophone is made of brass.


There are many types of saxophones but generally they are divided into:

  • Soprano - May be either straight or curved. It is in the key of B flat and may be difficult for beginners.
  • Alto - May also be curved or straight, but because of its size and shape, it is recommended for beginners and is the most widely used. It is in the key of E flat.
  • Tenor - Larger than the alto sax and has a larger mouthpiece. It is in the key of B flat.
  • Baritone - The largest of the saxophone family.

First Known Saxophones:

The saxophone was invented by Antoine Joseph (Adolphe) Sax and his father Charles Joseph of Belgium. They first perfected the bass-clarinet before inventing the saxophone. Their friend, Hector Berlioz, wrote an article in a Paris magazine about the saxophone. It was patented in 1846.

Saxophone Players:

Among them are: Charlie "Bird" Parker, John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins.