The alto saxophone is a member of the saxophone family of woodwind instruments. It is the most common type of saxophone.
It is smaller than the tenor but larger than the soprano. The alto and tenor are the most common types of saxophones. The alto saxophone was quite controversial among classical musicians when it first emerged in the 20th century, but after becoming recognized as an essential part of wind band literature, it is gaining popularity as an orchestral instrument as well.
The alto saxophone is an E♭ transposing instrument and reads the treble clef. A written C♮ (C natural) sounds a major sixth lower (concert E♭) when played. Because the alto saxophone is a reed instrument, it is classified as a woodwind instrument.
As portrayed in Hibike! EuphoniumThere are six students who play alto saxophone in Kitauji's Concert Band:
- Saxophones are often mistaken for brass instruments, since most of the instrument's construction is brass or some other type of metal. However, saxophones are considered woodwinds because of their use of a single-reed mouthpiece to produce sound.
- There are three stereotypes for alto saxophone players. One is the person who doesn't care very much about band at all and only picked the saxophone because someone told them it was easy to learn. The other is the person who is always playing jazz riffs and never plays anything seriously. The third is the person who takes saxophone way too to seriously and only practices saxophone concertos and etudes in their free time, believing jazz to be a lesser form of music unworthy of a true classical saxophone player. They are also the same kind of people who seriously think that saxophones have a place in symphony orchestras.
- The fourth is the kind of person who maintains a shrine to Adolphe Sax in the corner of their living room.
- All band directors agree that it would be a good idea to simply replace the entire saxophone section with kazoo players. This would help the entire band to create a better sound.