If you’re thinking about getting a saxophone you should know that there are four industry-standard types available. Each of these saxophones come in a different pitch. Starting with the highest pitch, these are soprano, alto, tenor and then baritone saxophone. The keys for each go as follows: Soprano is in the key of Bb, then your alto saxophone which is half an octave lower, in the key of Eb. Tenor saxophone is also in the key of Bb, but a full octave lower than the soprano. Last but not least, baritone sax is one octave lower than the alto. Therefore, the baritone sax is also in the key of E flat.
Pupils are frequently counselled in school to begin with the clarinet in before taking on the saxophone. The clarinet boasts more difficult fingering than the saxophone. The thought is that learning this tougher instrument will give a student a better grounding for the saxophone.
But there is a different approach which suggests that the saxophone is an excellent starting point for woodwind instruments. This argument promotes the saxophone’s mild learning curve. This is largely due to the embouchure of the sax. This is believed to be a bit less tricky compared to that of the clarinet and flute. Embouchure denotes the method by which you blow on the mouth piece to deliver the notes. Both this and the fingering are considered quite straightforward on a saxophone. Therefore a learner saxophonist should be able to produce a good tone out of their horn with relative ease.
Of your four key saxophones the alto saxophone is the one which most first-timers are urged to try out. This is due to the instrument’s pitch. The pitch on the alto is neither too low or too high. This means that a novice won’t struggle with getting the full range of notes out of it. On top of that, the range of keys are more compact on an alto and thus children can handle the instrument with ease. The alto sax also happens to be the most used saxophone in classical music. Consequently you can find a lot of sheet music written specifically for it.
But the most important thing about choosing your perfect saxophone is about finding one that you click with. This will be the one that inspires you to play. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from your music teacher or music shop staff as well. Good saxophonists will want to encourage you and will be delighted to help you find the right instrument for your needs. Some music shops even offer saxophones for hire. This can be a good way of getting started if you need some time to save up.
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