What Is an Alto Saxophone?

The alto saxophone is a wind instrument that belongs to the woodwind family. These saxophones have a curved body with numerous padded keys and a mouthpiece with a reed that produces the sound. Most saxophones are made of brass, which gives them a yellow color, but some are made of nickel and are silver in color. It is a mid-ranged saxophone when compared to other types of saxophones, and it is the most commonly played saxophone. It is lower than soprano saxophones and higher than tenor and baritone saxophones. John Zorn, Charlie Parker, and Cannonball Adderley are all well-known alto saxophonists.

The alto saxophone, like other types of saxophones, belongs to the woodwind family of instruments. Most woodwind instruments are classified as part of this family because they use a reed to produce the vibrations required to produce sound. The flute is an exception, as it produces sound blowing air through a hole, similar to blowing air through a bottle top. A flute is classified as a woodwind instrument because early flutes were typically made of wood, but modern flutes are almost always made of metal. For short, a saxophone is known as a sax.

Alto is a saxophone in the common saxophone family that produces a mid-high range of sound. It has a lower range than the soprano sax with a straight shape. The alto saxophone is a step up from the tenor and baritone saxes. Alto saxophones are larger than soprano saxophones, but smaller than tenor and baritone instruments, because the larger the instrument, the lower the sound range.

The alto saxophone gets its name from the instrument’s range, or the number of notes it can play. Middle C is the C note in the middle of the keyboard on a standard piano. The alto saxophone can play notes ranging from D below middle C to A two octaves above middle C.

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in the mid-nineteenth century. Although there are more than nine different types of saxophones, only four are commonly used. Other common saxophones include the tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, and soprano saxophone, in addition to the alto saxophone. The fingering controls on each saxophone are similar, but the size, shape, and range vary.