The Physics of the Alto Saxophone

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The Alto Saxophone is a single-reed musical instrument that was invented in 1846 by Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax. Adolphe Sax was born on November 6, 1814 in Dinant, Belgium. During his childhood, he studied the clarinet and flute at Brussel’s Conservatory. His father was a renowned maker of musical instruments during that time. Since Adolphe grew up with his father making instruments and studying the clarinet and the flute, it was obvious that he would end up following in his father’s footsteps. The first instrument that Adolphe decided to look at was the bass clarinet; he wanted to improve the tone of the instrument. He came up with a single-reed instrument constructed from metal that had a conical bore and overblew at the octave, which translates to the saxophone. The very first saxophone was called the C bass saxophone, which was Adolphes first creation derived from the bass clarinet. He had tremendous success with this instrument so he went on to replace the oboes, bassoons, and French horns in military bands with Bb and Eb saxhorns. In 1846 Adolphe obtained patents for his 14 variations of saxophones. Among them were: E flat sopranino, F sopranino, B flat soprano, C soprano, E flat alto, F alto, B flat tenor, C tenor, E flat baritone, B flat bass, C bass, E flat contrabass and F contrabass. In 1881 Adolphe extended his patent for the saxophone; while doing this he also made some improvements to the instrument by lengthening the bell to include Bb and A and extended the instruments range to F# and G using the fourth octave keys. In 1886 the saxophone underwent changes again, this time adding in the right hand C trill key and the half-hole system for the first fingers of both hands. In 1888 the single octave key for th... ... middle of paper ... ...y.htm>. • This website is a website of learning and educating people like me. Therefore, I assume that it is reliable and this information is verified because it is teaching about music. Fletcher and Rossing, The Physics of Musical Instruments (2ndEdition), Springer, New York (1998). Chapter 16 Lecture Notes on Woodwind Instruments. Wolfe, Joe. "How Do Woodwind Instruments Work?." Music Acoustics. 1994. 2014. Web. April 13, 2014. . • This website is reliable because it is from an institution of higher learning, more specifically The University of New South Wales and their school of physics department. Wyman, F. S. "An Acoustical Study of Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Chamber Design." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences 33. (1972): 1775. Music Index. Web. 13 April. 2014.

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