In the late 1830s Adolphe Sax created an instrument which could complement the sonorities of brasses, woodwinds, and strings in an orchestral ensemble. Besides providing a unique timbre, the instrument was strong enough to sound with a chorus of brasses and soft enough to blend with a group of strings and woodwinds. Soon many musicians began to praise the capabilities of Sax’s instrument, the saxophone. Its sound could easily swell and diminish, and its tone could mimic a variety of other instruments from a sonorous pipe organ to a plaintive human voice. Despite such flexibility, this first saxophone, the bass saxophone, was thought best suited for slow lyrical passages in orchestral music either as a solo voice or as harmonic support. Initially, musicians and composers considered the saxophone “inappropriate for the energetic and brilliant effects of military music.” However, with the introduction of new members of the saxophone family, the instrument became a standard part of military bands and jazz bands, as well as contemporary ensembles and orchestras.Download booklet
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