The tenor is one of the two most common types of saxophones, the other being the alto. The tenor is pitched in the key of B♭, and written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. It is also one octave lower than the soprano saxophone.
Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F# key have a range from A♭2 to E5 (concert) and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone
The tenor saxophone uses a larger mouthpiece, reed, and ligature than the alto and soprano saxophones. Visually, it is easily distinguished by the bend in its neck, or its crook, near the mouthpiece. The alto saxophone lacks this and its neck goes straight to the mouthpiece.
People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists" or "tenor sax players".
As portrayed in Hibike! EuphoniumThere are three students who play tenor saxophone in Kitauji's Concert Band, including:
- People will forever point at tenor saxophones and mistake them for altos.
- Scott Weinhold plays the tenor saxophone.