Here is some advice for everyone out there thinking about taking up the saxophone. Firstly, congratulations on choosing such a wonderful instrument. The saxophone has a warm and mellow tone, but is also high versatile. Having said that, saxophones aren’t the most budget friendly of the woodwind instruments. If you’re spending a few hundred on an instrument you will want to make sure you get value for money.
When it comes to saxophones, there are four basic types of saxophone. These are soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. Soprano is the highest pitch and physically smallest of these four. It is in the key of Bb. After soprano, each saxophone increases in size, but is lower in pitch. There is half an octave between the key that each of these is tuned in. This makes the alto sax one-half octave lower than the soprano saxophone. Therefore, the alto is in the key of Eb. The tenor sax is half an octave lower than the alto and in the key of B flat, but at a full octave below the soprano. Lastly, baritone saxophone is an octave lower than the alto and therefore also in the key of E flat.
If you are still at school your music teacher may have suggested trying the clarinet ahead of embracing the sax. The clarinet has more difficult fingering than the saxophone and it is thought this lays good foundations for learning other woodwind instruments. Conversely, as the saxophone is generally easier to learn it can lso be viewed as the perfect starting point. There are two main points that make the saxophone one of the easiest woodwind instruments to play. The first is its embouchure. This refers to the technique of applying your mouth to the mouthpiece. It’s a complicated concept to grasp on any woodwind instrument, but less so on the sax. The other point is the fingering required on the sax. The range of keys are closer together which makes the fingering easier. All of this means that a novice player will be able to elicit a pleasing tone from their sax quite easily.
But which of the four saxophones should you choose? The alto sax is definitely the type that countless first-timers are recommended to begin with due its pitch. A novice will usually find that they can strike up an effective range of tones from an alto. This is harder on the higher and lower pitched saxophones, which require more strenuous breathing. In addition, the physical size of the keys is scaled-down on an alto sax and thus kids should have no difficulty in comfortably holding the instrument. The alto sax is actually the most regularly chosen kind of saxophone in classical arrangements and consequently there is a mass of sheet music published for it on the market.
But apart from all this advice, it is highly recommended to try out a variety of saxophones before you buy. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from music store staff. In addition, a teacher usually can give good recommendations on where to buy a suitable horn. Remember, getting the cheapest model isn’t always the best decision in the long run. Even though saxophones can be expensive, a pricier sax will more likely stand the test of time. It will also produce a nicer tone and this is important when you are learning an instrument.
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