About The Saxophone

The Saxophone (often known as the Sax) was invented in 1846 by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument maker. Despite being made of brass the saxophone is a member of the woodwind family. It is a single reed instrument, similar to the clarinet. There are a number of different saxophones in the saxophone family ranging in size and pitch, the most common are the Alto Saxophone and the Tenor Saxophone.

Famous Saxophonists

  • Charlie Parker
  • Kenny G
  • Marcel Mule
  • John Coltrane
  • James Moody
  • Lisa Simpson (from the Simpsons)


The saxophone is mainly associated with Jazz and Classical music. Famous classical pieces for the saxophone include:

  • Rapsodie pour Orchestre et Saxophone (1901) – Claude Debussy
  • Aria pour Saxophone Alto (1936) – Eugène Bozza

There are many famous sax solos in pop songs over the last two decades. Listen out for the sax in the following songs:

  • Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty)
  • The theme to Men Behaving Badly
  • Simply the Best (Tina Turner)
  • Money (Pink Floyd)

Did You Know…

Ex American President Bill Clinton plays the saxophone. On a visit to Prague in 1994 he played at the Reduta Jazz Club with President Havel, now known as the ‘two presidents gig’.

Is The Saxophone For You?

The saxophone is a great instrument if you’re interested in playing both classical and modern repertoire. It is very versatile and can be played as a solo instrument as well as in bands and orchestras.

The saxophone is quite heavy and does not come in junior sizes so we would not recommend it for very young children, however if they are interested in learning they can start with the clarinet which has a very similar technique and fingering and is easy to transfer to the saxophone.