The Saxophone

The saxophone, often shortened to sax, is normally not a part of the orchestra. 

The saxophone, like the clarinet and flute, is a member of the family of aerophones, one of the Hornbostel-Sachs classification of instruments which use wind to produce sound through the vibration of blown air.

Info coming soon

Diagram of the Saxophone


Use of the Saxophone

The saxophone player performs seated or standing, usually supported by a sling. The fingers, thumb, and palm are used to press the keys to reach the different pitches of tones.

The saxophone is played by blowing air into the mouthpiece while gently biting the mouthpiece with the top teeth and barely resting the lower teeth against the reed.

The left hand fingers keys closest to the mouthpiece while the right hand presses the keys further down the instrument.

Higher notes are reached by pressing keys, using the octave key, or blowing the air faster.


Similarly constructed instruments of the saxophone family are the (left to right) Soprano sax, Alto sax, Tenor, sax, Baritone sax, Bass sax, and Contrabass sax. See the different types of saxophones in the Woodwind Section.


Where in the Orchestra?

The saxophones are normally not a regular part of the orchestra. When present they are seated centrally alongside the clarinets, behind the flutes and in front of the horns.

Noteworthy Saxophone Players


Lester Young


John Harle


Charlie "Bird" Parker


Stan Getz