There are numerous saxophone fingering charts out there. Rather than describing your “side C key”, it is simply named TC (or trill – C). Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to mention them. In such circumstances, one of the alto saxophone players will double on the soprano saxophone. Next is the key marked 2. This means that when you play the note C on tenor or soprano sax the note that is heard is actually B-flat. I've since added flute and clarinet to my repertoire, and have spent a sizable portion of my life playing in wind bands and chamber ensembles. Considering that the standard contrabass and subcontrabass saxophones run into problems in these areas, the tubax might be considered an improvement. Maybe it sounds good on your horn. For instance, it uses relatively small tone holes considering its size, and the tubing is both much thinner and much more compact compared to the standard saxophone. Hey John, My recommendation is that you learn to read music. So, how many types of saxophones are there? Just remember, what is comfortable at the moment is not always what’s ultimately best. sxpoet says: January 13, 2018 at 4:13 am. Some claim that the tubax gets the deeper sound of the low saxophones while still allowing the musician to maintain consistency of tone and dexterity in technique. The next key marked X is for an alternate fingering which you will learn in another lesson. Great blog post Johnny When I bought my Trevor James Alto from Massullo Music, one Sax player told me I should have put that money on a good Tenor Sax instead. These saxophones will typically be identical to the base design, but slightly longer or shorter to change the key. Even in saxophone choirs, it would be a rare occurrence to see a subcontrabass saxophone. Need Help Finding a Teacher? If you really want to get a sense for what the bari sax sounds like, try listening to Moanin’ by Charles Mingus. The high F# on my tenor saxophone runs a little flat, so I add the Bb spatula key whenever I can to bring it in tune. Readers with a background in electricity, seeing the region of the curve in which flow decreases with increasing pressure, will recognise this as a negative (AC) resistance. Most notes on the saxophone have only one viable fingering. So, what happened to the remaining 6 designs? Which saxophone is hardest to play? For example, the YAS-21 student-grade alto saxophone of the 1970s was superseded by the YAS-23 and YAS-25 saxophones during the 1990s. Most of the chart you can get to from this page, you can sign up on the side with your email to get a password for the fingering chart on this page. The nine types of saxophones, from highest to lowest, are as follows: Of these saxophones, only the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones are commonly used. You can even make these at home. Hand position is a topic which I’ve found is often neglected among saxophonists, but is nonetheless critically important to both playing well and avoiding injuries. It is beneficial to have a good saxophone fingering chart, especially for beginning saxophone students. Some saxophones are made with abalone, stone, or wood key buttons. Above you will find our saxophone fingering chart for major notes on the instrument. This means that when you play a C on your alto or baritone saxophone the note that is heard is actually an E-flat. However, there is some debate as to whether or not it actually counts as a “saxophone,” since there are key differences in design between the tubax and the typical saxophone. On some premium models, the key button material is used to form the convex key touches for other keys. George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue uses a bari sax, for instance, but it also uses several other saxophones, including a soprano sax. Sharp keys, the number and order of sharps. For instance, Leonard Bernstein’s original score for West Side Story included a bass saxophone part, as did Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. These things aren't just random occurrences where one day a saxophone builder woke up and decided he'd make it play in a different key just for hell of it. I first picked up a saxophone when I was ten and fell in love with it. Baritone is in Eb. Next is the key marked 1. The rods and screw pins … However, the sopranino part is much more commonly played on a soprano saxophone. The upper thumb rest stabilizes the instrument while leaving your fingers free to hit the keys. This is the kind of saxophone which tends to be larger than the musician playing it. Hello Sax Players Saxophone finger chart for beginners. Concert Key of G. So on our B-flat saxophone we need to transpose up a whole step putting us in the key of A on our instrument. This is by far the most common saxophone, and the one which is most commonly picked up by beginners. In the context of a jazz band, the lead tenor sax tends to play the main harmony of the saxophone section. Saxophone Keys Explained; 8 Comments. 1 decade ago. Nonetheless, some marching bands still use it. As is the case with the alto saxophone, you may even find the tenor saxophone in orchestras on rare occasion. Of course, they first have to overcome the difficulty of learning to play it well and consistently, which for this instrument is no easy endeavor. This saxophone is still quite uncommon, though not as much as the soprillo saxophone. For example, the pads (the leather on the underside of the keys) can remain intact for six to ten years, depending on the quality of the pads, maintenance, and usage.. With a used saxophone, pay special attention to the condition of the instrument: Bass is in Bb. Having a saxophone fingering chart is essential. Some saxophone players use the “1+1” fingering as their main Bb fingering. I’ll go through each of the nine types of saxophones individually. In some cases, the fingering that is the most intuitive isn’t even the best choice. Nonetheless, whether you consider this to be a unique type of saxophone, something other than a saxophone, or just another variation of the contrabass and subcontrabass saxophones is up to you. Learn about key signatures (and how to play piano) with Rocket Piano lessons. Most of them were just intended to be prototypes. It's a carefully thought out system that makes it easier for the musicians to make music. The contrabass saxophone stands at 6 feet and 4 inches (1.9 meters) tall, weighs about 45 pounds (20 kilograms), and uses twice the length of tubing as the baritone saxophone. Log in to Reply. It plays at a full octave above a soprano saxophone, and is usually about 12 inches long. These sharps and flats have a particular order as you will notice below. There are nine different types of saxophones in total, but only the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones are commonly used. Though it is typically thought that the larger saxophones allow for easier control of tone and intonation, the bass saxophone is such a large instrument that it requires a substantial amount of air support and skill to produce a consistent sound out of. But on occasion, I’ve had the privilege of seeing and hearing saxophones that fall outside of these four. The remainder of the saxophones will usually only be found in saxophone choirs, or for purposes of showcasing the specific instrument. It’s easy to call a bad habit the easiest option. Few jazz bands or wind bands will use them, and I certainly don’t know of any orchestral piece which has used one.The only context that you might frequently see a contrabass saxophone is in a saxophone choir, or in a very niche selection of chamber music and solo literature. The soprano saxophone is not typically one which is recommended for beginners, as many people find it is difficult to maintain tone and intonation. The alto sax is also fairly common in rock and pop music. 0 0. However, its much easier to sound like a dying duck when you play sax! Over time, you would develop a feel for what is comfortable for you. Perhaps the most well-known musician who plays the soprano saxophone is Kenny G, though plenty of other musicians of various genres have been known to play it. We’re starting to get to saxophones that are simply massive. This is one of the least common saxophones, and you will almost never see one at your typical band or jazz band concert. Impedance curves for all keys closed on a soprano and tenor saxophone Figure 2. Occasionally, you will read that there are 14 different types of saxophones. In addition to those on the internet, there are also several saxophone fingering charts available in various saxophone method books. For instance, soprano and tenor saxes may sometimes be made in the key of C, a whole step above the key that they are usually in. Most other fingerings you will figure out will just be slight adjustments to the fingerings on the provided chart. In the world of rock music, the sopranino saxophone has been adopted by the band Violent Femmes, which features the instrument in several of their albums. John Chattle says: December 16, 2019 at 7:58 pm. This system for naming the keys is easier because each key on the saxophone is given a simple identifier name. Of course, there are a few dedicated saxophonists who can play it and still sound fantastic. Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered what kind of saxophone is featured in Careless Whisper and the Epic Sax Guy song, that would be the alto sax. Wish i had read this article years ago. True, it can be fun, and even beneficial, to try and figure out some of the fingerings yourself. Musicians who are looking for a particularly exotic sound may be drawn to the contrabass saxophone. The bass saxophone may rarely be seen in the contexts of jazz and rock bands, but almost no serious saxophonist plays it as their primary instrument. Many people I’ve spoken to have told me that the image of the tenor saxophone comes to mind whenever they think of saxophones in general. For instance, the orchestral version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition features a single alto saxophone solo in the movement The Old Castle. You should read and understand the lessons, but most importantly play the exercises. There is very little classical literature for it, but it nonetheless enjoyed its hay day in the 1950’s and 1960’s in musical theatre. My only main recommendation is that if you learn sax, you should start with the alto. In this video, I go over all of the names for the keys on a saxophone. Composers who write specifically for saxophones may often try to include parts for the contrabass saxophone in their music. Other materials are used for some mechanical parts and keywork. I just started playing the alto sax two months ago and I have a method book that illustrates the fingering, but you info is more extensive. In other words, a new fingering is naturally more difficult than what you’ve become used to, but getting past the initial learning curve will make the new fingering ultimately more efficient. Much like the tenor saxophone, the baritone sax can be found in the low woodwinds section of a wind band. The soprano saxophone is one of the four most common saxophones. It is also a saxophone which is suitable for beginners, though children may struggle with it as it is somewhat large. Since 1920, most saxophones have replaceable key buttons operating the stack keys, usually made from either plastic or mother of pearl. Selmer Balanced Action and the Super (Balanced) Action. The list also includes solos for flute, clarinet and EWI. How to play the notes on alto sax. I don’t know how to read music ♂️. The alto saxophone is also a staple in nearly every jazz band and wind band. It is extraordinarily rare to find this saxophone outside the context of a saxophone choir or a smaller ensemble that uses exclusively saxophones. It is, admittedly, still somewhat uncommon, and is not part of the standard instrumentation for most wind bands. The hardest saxophone to play is the subcontrabass saxophone, since there are only a few people in the world who can actually play it. However, many of the saxophone fingering charts out there come with little or no explanation on how to read and interpret them. So, we still use 8 out of the 14 saxophone designs in Sax’s original patents, albeit with many modifications. Source(s): 10 years of sax, 6 of clarinet. I’ll go through each of these below, and explain why the saxophone strictly fits into the “woodwind” category. In wind bands, the tenor sax is usually in the low woodwinds section. It uses any baritone or bass saxophone mouthpiece. However, many of the saxophone fingering charts out there come with little or no explanation on how to read and interpret them. It is often considered suitable for children, since it is small enough for kids to handle while also being large enough to be reasonably easy to control tone and intonation. In fact, the tubax is thought to be closer to the original designs of the saxophone than the standard contrabass saxophone. Out of the four most common types of saxophones, however, soprano is typically considered the hardest to play since it requires excellent control of one’s tone and intonation to produce a good sound. If you try to play B to B-flat using the Bis key fingering, you’re in trouble. For the most part, when there is a second fingering listed, it is a fingering that’s used for trills or for fast chromatic passages. The number ‘14’ refers to the number of different designs of saxophone that Adolphe Sax originally patented in 1846 and 1850. The bass saxophone is even larger than the baritone saxophone, and is relatively rare to see in any ensemble outside of a saxophone choir. Usually, wind band and jazz band composers will only include a soprano saxophone in their scores if they intend to feature it as a solo instrument. There are tons of books that feature transcribed solos, but why should… He felt like the $ I put into my Alto was a waste of $. The chart at the top of this article lists the key that the saxophone is typically in, but this is not universal. If you are starting out, you will probably want to pick up the alto saxophone. This got me wondering about how extensive the saxophone family is. Most people I’ve talked to about it don’t. Thank you for this valuable information on the saxophone fingering. Ultimately, in order to ensure accuracy and to avoid potential frustration, it’s a good idea to have a reliable reference on hand. If the alto saxophone is the most common saxophone, then the tenor saxophone definitely holds second place. If you count these as unique types of saxophones, then perhaps one could say that there are actually more than nine kinds of saxophones. Tenor is in Bb. This is for your middle finger. Wrap your fingers around the neck and place them on the 3 keys on the upper neck of the saxophone. When i bought my sax, i researched it before buying, my requirements at the time where cheap price, sound brand name, good resale value, reliable working sax – how it sounded and felt playing wise didn’t come into the equation. Groups of keys have names. Something that many saxophone fingering charts fail to address is the names that key groupings are regularly referred to by. Impedance curves on the lowest note of my alto saxophone . Of all the saxophones, the alto saxophone is the one which has the most literature for it; many composers have written solo pieces and chamber music for alto saxophone. To the extent of my knowledge, they were either replaced with better designs or abandoned entirely. In that case, you should use an alternate fingering for B-sharp, not the Bis key. As stated above, the fingerings on the provided saxophone fingering chart are, for the most part, in order of preference. So what do I do ?About downloading the Music when I can’t read it. The mouthpiece is larger, and the rods and tone holes are longer. In jazz bands, the lead alto saxophone will usually be the most audible instrument in the saxophone section; the other saxophones tend to harmonize to the lead alto. I was frequently guilty of poor... Oiling your keys is a basic instrument-care process which every flutist should know. Adding certain keys to the main basic fingerings can slightly change intonation, timbre, or resonance. The keys on your right will be on the right side of the diagram. In addition to those on the internet, there are also several saxophone fingering charts available in various saxophone method books. In addition, certain individual keys have names they’re referred to by as well. A lesson to help you learn this system. Though it is a full octave below the soprillo saxophone, it is still a relatively smaller saxophone and thus may be difficult for beginners who are still developing their embouchure. I’ve provided a saxophone fingering chart key that labels the key groupings. However, this is actually misinformation. When manufacture of the YAS-23 and YAS-25 ended they were superseded by the YAS-275, which was in production as of 2010, but was eventually replaced by the YAS-280. 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