Alto


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The alto saxophone is the most widely seen and played saxophone in the world of music. It is such a fun instrument to play, its size fits perfectly in the average sized persons hands and is medium in weight for a musical instrument. I played the alto saxophone for two years in high school beginning my junior year. I loved it so much, that I was moved to first chair in just my second year ever playing an instrument. (Although I have to admit, when I first began, I could not figure out why I was in so much pain playing it...until the band instructor informed me that I had the mouthpiece upside down. After that playing came naturally easier!)

Alto Saxophones

Alto SaxophonesWow, what a breathtaking instrument! Just look at the beautiful curves and shapes in this alto saxophone. Makes me want to pick one up right this second and start playing. Just looking at that image of the alto sax above, I can hear its tone in my head now. I think I see David Sanborns reflection in that silver! ;)

In the family of woodwind instruments, the alto saxophone is a variety of the saxophone invented by Adolphe Sax. Of the ten sizes in the saxophone family, the alto is the 3rd smallest. The alto is also the second most common size of saxophone, and is the type most commonly included in classical compositions.

Because of its prevalence, the alto saxophone is the most common choice for beginners learning to play the saxophone. The second most common saxophone used by beginners is the tenor; teachers often suggest either an alto or a tenor for a beginner depending on their physical size, as well as their preferences.

The saxophone had to wait many years before its potential was recognized. It gained its reputation in American jazz movement, and since been become more and more popular.

Notable alto saxophonists include jazz musicians Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley, Lee Konitz, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Anthony Braxton, Phil Woods, and Paul Desmond, and classical musicians Marcel Mule, Sigurd Raschèr, and Eugene Rousseau. The alto saxophone is included in classical music more often than the tenor. The alto has great versatility and is used commonly in jazz, blues, pop, concert, funk, marching bands, and rock music.

Some companies that currently produce saxophones are Buffet Crampon, Cannonball, P.Mauriat, KHS/Jupiter, Selmer, Yamaha, Leblanc/Vito, Keilwerth, and Yanagisawa. New alto saxophones range in price between US$200 for lower quality student models to over US$7000 for professional models. Used models can be much lower, unless looking at vintage alto saxophones.

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Alto — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Alto Saxophone For Beginers | Tayside Music

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