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The saxophone was developed in 1841, by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument maker, flautist, and clarinetist working in Paris. While still working at his fatherís instrument shop inBrussels, Sax began developing an instrument with the projection of a brass instrument and the agility of a woodwind. He wanted it to overblow at the octave, unlike the clarinet, which rises in pitch by a twelfth when overblown. An instrument that overblew at the octave, would have identical fingering for both registers.
Prior to his work on the saxophone, Sax had made several improvements to the bass clarinet by improving its keywork and acoustics and extending its lower range. Sax was also a maker of the then-popular ophicleide, a large conical brass instrument in the bass register with keys similar to a woodwind instrument. His experience with these two instruments allowed him to develop the skills and technologies needed to make the first saxophones. Adolphe Sax created an instrument with a single reed mouthpiece like a clarinet, conical brass body like an ophicleide, and the acoustic properties of both the French horn and the clarinet.
Photo by Svetlana Nilova
August 19th, 2014
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