Soprano Saxophone

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The soprano saxophone is a single-reed woodwind instrument. It is smaller in size than the tenor and alto saxophones and has a higher pitch range. It is characterized by its bright and clear sound and is commonly used in various genres of music, including jazz and classical.
History of the Soprano Saxophone
The soprano 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 soprano saxophone is less common than its alto and tenor counterparts and features a straight conical bore rather than an upturned lower end. Many jazz innovators picked up the soprano saxophone such as John Coltrane and Sidney Bechet and it is still predominantly heard in jazz, swing and experimental music.
Inventor: Adolphe Sax

Where to Buy

$1,000 - $4,000

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How to Play

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

In Popular Music

The soprano saxophone is less commonly found than its tenor and alto counterparts, however, it has been featured in many popular song recordings. There is a soprano saxophone played by Jeff Coffin in ‘Big Country’ by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Famous Players

John Coltrane, Sidney Bechet, Wayne Shorter

Close Relations

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Video Credit: Sax
Understanding the Soprano Saxophone
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Handheld

Size

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Belgium

Country

1840s

Year

Woodwind

Family

Information

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