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Saxophone

The meaning of «saxophone»

The saxophone is a type of single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a reed on a mouthpiece vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument's body. The pitch is controlled by opening and closing holes in the body to change the effective length of the tube.[2] The holes are closed by leather pads attached to keys operated by the player. Saxophones are made in various sizes and are almost always treated as transposing instruments. Saxophone players are called saxophonists.[3]

The saxophone is used in a wide range of musical styles including classical music (such as concert bands, chamber music, solo repertoire, and occasionally orchestras), military bands, marching bands, jazz (such as big bands and jazz combos), and contemporary music. The saxophone is also used as a solo and melody instrument or as a member of a horn section in some styles of rock and roll and popular music.

The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in the early 1840s[4] and was patented on 28 June 1846. Sax invented two groups of seven instruments each—one group contained instruments in C and F, and the other group contained instruments in B♭ and E♭. The B♭ and E♭ instruments soon became dominant and most saxophones encountered today are from this series. Instruments from the series pitched in C and F never gained a foothold and constituted only a small percentage of instruments made by Sax. High Pitch (also marked "H" or "HP") saxophones tuned sharper than the (concert) A = 440 Hz standard were produced into the early twentieth century for sonic qualities suited for outdoor use, but are not playable to modern tuning and are considered obsolete. Low Pitch (also marked "L" or "LP") saxophones are equivalent in tuning to modern instruments. C soprano and C melody saxophones were produced for the casual market as parlor instruments during the early twentieth century, and saxophones in F were introduced during the late 1920s but never gained acceptance. The modern saxophone family consists entirely of B♭ and E♭ instruments. The saxophones in widest use are the B♭ soprano, E♭ alto, B♭ tenor, and E♭ baritone. The E♭ sopranino and B♭ bass saxophone are typically used in larger saxophone choir settings, when available.

The pitch of a saxophone is controlled by opening or closing the toneholes along the body of the instrument to change the length of the vibrating air column. The toneholes are closed by leather pads connected to keys—most are operated by the player's fingers but some are operated using the palm or the side of a finger. There is an octave key which raises the pitch of the lower notes by one octave. The lowest note, with all of the pads closed, is the (written) B♭ below middle C. Modern baritone saxophones are commonly constructed to play a low A, and a small number of altos keyed to low A have also been manufactured. The highest keyed note has traditionally been the F two and a half octaves above the low B♭ but higher-quality instruments now have an extra key for a high F♯, and a high G key can be found on some modern soprano saxophones. Notes above the keyed range are part of the altissimo register of the saxophone, and can be produced using advanced embouchure techniques and fingering combinations. Saxophone music is written in treble clef (appropriately transposed for each different type of instrument) and all saxophones use the same key arrangement and fingerings, enabling players to switch between different types of saxophones fairly easily.

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