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What is a Sax?

A saxophone or sax is a conical-bored transposing musical instrument considered a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and are played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by Adolphe Sax in 1841. He wanted to create an instrument that would both be the loudest of the woodwinds and the most versatile of the brass, and would fill the then vacant middle ground between the two sections. He patented the sax in 1846.

There are several versions of saxophones varying in sizes and alternating in transposition.  The series pitched in Bb and Eb, designed for military bands, proved extremely popular and most saxophones today are from this series.  The most popular versions of saxophones are the Eb Baritone, Bb Tenor and Eb Alto as well as the Bb Soprano which isn’t used much in ensembles, but is a very popular solo instrument.

While proving very popular in its intended niche of military band music, the saxophone is most commonly associated today with popular music, big band music, blues, early rock and roll, ska and particularly jazz.  Big bands becoming popular in the 1930’s and 40’s general had sax sections of alto, tenor and baritone saxophones which formed the main harmonic texture of the big band and still do. The sax also became a huge solo instrument in all types of rock and roll and blues in the 50’s, 60’s and later.  Famous jazz and pop saxophonists in the past and present are Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn, Clarence Clemons, Kenny G., and King Curtis. 

Souce: “Saxophone.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Sax Teachers

Below is a list of teachers that teach the Sax at the Fabulous School of Music. Click on a profile to learn more.

Daniel Nichols

Instruments: Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, Piano and Rock Ensemble