Often used in jazz and popular music, this instrument was invented by Adolphe Sax in 1840. Patented in 1846, it did not gain popularity for many years. Sax invented this instrument while working on a clarinet and this is similar to that instrument. The inventor wanted the saxophone to have the power of brass and finesse of woodwind instrument.
The saxophone uses a single reed mouthpiece like a clarinet, but with a round or square evacuated inner chamber. The saxophone’s body is effectively conical, giving it acoustic properties like the oboe. However, unlike the oboe, whose tube is a single cone, most saxophones have a distinctive curve at the bell. Straight soprano and soprano saxophones are more common than curved ones, and a very few straight alto and tenor saxophones have been made, as novelties.
How are they made? All saxophones are made with brass. Other experiments have been tried as well like wood. After the construction of the saxophone, a lacquer is applied. The manufacturers however have an option to plate the saxophone with silver or gold to make it look better and give out better sound. A debate in the saxophone community believes that the sound of the saxophone changes with the lacquer. Some however do not believe this fact. Although research up to a point has proved that this might be true.
The mouth piece of the saxophone is made with rubber, metal or even plastic. Plastic mouth pieces are bad for sound while metal give out the best and deepest sound effect.
The beauty of sound emanating from saxophone has been well established today. Although this instrument is often played solo, ensembles are very much a possibility, particularly when several members of the saxophone family are played in combination. Although only occasionally called for in orchestral music, saxophone sections (usually encompassing the alto, tenor, and baritone instruments, but sometimes also the soprano and/or bass) are an important part of the jazz big band, as well as military, concert, and marching bands. Ensembles made up exclusively of saxophones are also popular, with the most common being the saxophone quartet
Many believe that becoming a good saxophone player is relatively easy. More so when you are changing from another woodwind instrument. In actuality, a lot of practice is required to perfect the technique to play the saxophone. It is not at all easy as through the design specifications of the instrument, many different colors of the tone can be achieved. Controlling this requires a lot of determination mixed with practice.
The Saxophone indeed is very pleasing, when played properly it can be bright or deep with reflective fazes. Saxophone ensembles with its relatives can form a beautiful form of music. Used in jazz and funk, this instrument has proven its point and won to our hearts although rejected in the beginning.