C Melody Saxophone

see mel-uh-dee sak-soh-fohn
The C melody saxophone is a single-reed woodwind instrument that sits in between the common alto and tenor saxophone. It is an aerophone that was initially conceived by inventor Adolphe Sax as a more mellow saxophone that would fit easily into a classical orchestra. It is a tone above the standard tenor Bb saxophone. It’s now a very uncommon saxophone.
History of the C Melody Saxophone
The C melody saxophone was invented by Belgian inventor Adolphe Sax who created and patented many variations of the saxophone in 1846. The C melody saxophone in particular was developed as a more mellow instrument that wouldn’t have to be transposed when played in a symphony orchestra.However, the saxophone was never adopted in this way and there are various legends and theories as to why. Some suggest that Adolphe’s arrogant character was to blame as he created enemies that aimed to block the saxophone’s progress. Others suggest that the loudness of the saxophone wasn’t able to blend with the other woodwind instruments playing classical music compositions of the 19th century. In the early 20th century, the C melody saxophone became popular at the birth of jazz and swing music. Early jazz pioneers like Fats Waller and Frankie Trumbauer brought the instrument into notoriety and in fact the latter became known predominantly for playing the C melody saxophone. Trumbauer played it on the first known recordings of ‘Georgia On My Mind’ in 1930. The C melody saxophone became a rare instrument in the 20th century after this initial boom, being replaced by the alto and tenor saxophone. Today the instrument is experiencing renewed popularity as players look back in time at the saxophone’s history.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£600 - £1,800

Hear the C Melody Saxophone

Audio of the C Melody Saxophone is Coming Soon

How to Play

A saxophone played by blowing air into the mouthpiece and pressing the keys to change the pitch of the sound produced.

In Popular Music

Due to its popularity in the early 1900s, the c melody saxophone was featured on recordings by many twentieth century artist songs including 'Georgia On My Mind' by Hoagy Carmichael and 'Ain't Misbehaving' by Fats Waller.

Famous Players

Frankie Trumbauer, Rudy Wiedoeft

Close Relations

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Video Credit: InstrumentManiac
Understanding the C Melody Saxophone


United States








Instruments of Music

Copyright © 2023 Instruments of Music. All Rights Reserved.