Saxophone (Fr. saxophone; Ger. Saxophon; It. sassofone)
- Claus Raumberger
- and Karl Ventzke
(Fr. saxophone; Ger. Saxophon; It. sassofone)
A single-reed wind instrument invented by the Belgian-born maker Adolphe Sax (see Sax family family) in about 1840, and granted a 15-year patent in 1846. Sax originally intended the instrument for use in orchestras and military bands. The saxophone combines a single-reed mouthpiece with a wide-bore conical tube of metal. Acoustically, it behaves as do other cone-bodied reed instruments, ‘overblowing’ at the octave to yield a second register (see Acoustics, §IV, 6).
In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification the saxophone is classed as a clarinet.
The saxophone has a conical body providing a resonating air column, widening out in the ratio of about 1:5·5, expanding at the open end into a small flare (bell). In the 19th century and sometimes the 20th the tube was often parabolic in shape, but nearly all saxophones are now made with a straight cone. The instrument has 22 to 24 relatively large note-holes (each being between 40% and 60% of the respective diameter of the bore). In addition, there are two smaller holes for overblowing, the one closer to the mouthpiece coming into operation from ...