Baritone Saxophone

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The baritone saxophone is a single-reed woodwind instrument and one of the largest and lowest found in the saxophone family. It consists of a conical metal tube, a mouthpiece and approximately 24 keys that are operated to produce a melody. The baritone saxophone is pitched to Eb and is a rarer instrument than its tenor and alto counterparts.
History of the Baritone Saxophone
The baritone saxophone is a member of the saxophone family which bears the unique history of having all been invented by one person, the father of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. In the 17th century, The Serpent was the most common wind brass instrument ancestor which later developed into the ophicleide (invented by Jean Hilaire Aste). These mid-century designs gave way to the invention of piston-valve based instruments in the 18th century, which have become the foundation of modern brass instruments. The saxophone, however, is not a brass instrument as it has a wooden reed which makes it a woodwind instrument. Belgian inventor Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone and its 14 variations in Paris during a boom that also saw the invention of the euphonium and bass tuba. Sax wanted to create a hybrid that was made of brass but had the soothing sound of woodwind instruments. The baritone saxophone was less common than its alto and tenor counterparts owing to its large size and low sound. In the early 20th century, performers like Harry Carney of the Duke Ellington band were instrumental in bringing the baritone saxophone to a larger audience. In the 1940s, saxophonists like Serge Chaloff also had an influence on making the baritone saxophone a soloist’s instrument.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

$3,000 - $10,000

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How to Play

A type of saxophone with a lower pitch than a tenor saxophone, played with a single reed and mouthpiece.

In Popular Music

The baritone saxophone has been featured in many popular music recordings, for example, in the brass solo section of ‘Baby Love’ by The Supremes from 1964. The baritone saxophone also features on ‘Moanin’ by American jazz musician Charles Mingus.

Famous Players

Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams, Harry Carney

Close Relations

Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Video Credit: Xtela .10
Understanding the Baritone Saxophone
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Size

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Belgium

Country

1846

Year

Woodwind

Family

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