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Saxophone Facts

20 Interesting Facts About The Saxophone

The saxophone is one of the most popular musical instruments today and is probably the owner of the most recognisable sound in all of music. Every time you hear a saxophone playing, it gives you a sense of beauty and smoothness that no other instrument can emulate. That said, here are 20 interesting facts about this iconic instrument, ranging from its history to almost everything else in between. Read on for interesting facts that you might not have never heard of before. 

Saxophone Facts

1. A unique history

Saxophone Facts

Unlike most other musical instruments, the saxophone is the only one that was invented by a single person. That would be the Belgian musical instrument inventor Adolphe Sax, hence, the name saxophone. He wanted to develop something that would feature the soloistic nature of the woodwind, but would also be heard better among other brass instruments. He first patented the saxophone in 1846. 

2. There were once fourteen different types of saxophones

Adolphe Sax wanted to make sure that his creation would fit in with a wide variety of ensembles. So to do that, he made fourteen different types. In comparison, only four are commonly played today; the soprano, alto, baritone, and tenor saxophones. Imagine having to learn how to play all fourteen instruments to be considered a master! Yikes. 

Saxophone Facts

3. People hated the saxophone at first

When you hear the word saxophone or listen to its iconic tunes today, what comes to your mind? Romance. Smoothness. It’s a very sexy instrument. But back when Sax first introduced it in the early 1840s, he was mocked. A lot. It wasn’t until well-known composer Hector Berlioz’s editorial about how revolutionary the instrument is that it gained traction in the popular psyche. 

4. It’s the only woodwind instrument made of brass

Saxophone Facts

We know what you’re thinking: why would a brass instrument be classified as a woodwind? Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But that’s an interesting thing! The sax is classified as a woodwind instrument because it relies on a reed to produce a sound. But ever since its inception, the saxophone has always been made of brass

5. The largest sax for commercial use is taller than the average British man

Saxophones come in four common types (and sizes). But the largest one is outside that and is called the Contrabass. If propped up, it stands at a towering 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 metres)! By comparison, the average height for a British man is about 5 feet 9 inches. (1.75 metres). 

6. There is a world-famous saxophone playing Muppet

The Muppets are famous. We already know this. But what you may not know is that there’s one Muppet named Zoot (named after saxophonist Zoot Sims), who plays the saxophone! He is one of a few Muppets who is seen with a musical instrument or playing it, such as Animal (drums) and Kermit (banjo). 

7. Saxophone reeds are made of an invasive plant species

When you say “invasive” in plant terms, it means that the plant grows really fast and can take over anything in a matter of days! The plant Arundo donax is what sax reeds are made of, and it can grow up to 10 centimetres a day