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Alto saxophone

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The alto saxophone is a variety of the saxophone, a family of woodwind instruments invented by Adolphe Sax. The alto is the third smallest of the saxophone family, which consists of ten sizes of saxophone (see saxophone). The alto is the most common size of saxophone, and is also the size most commonly composed for by classical composers.

Of the people who learn to play saxophone, most begin on alto. The second most common size of saxophone is the tenor; most tenor players start on alto and switch to tenor after a few years.

The alto saxophone is a transposing instrument and reads the treble clef in the key of E♭ (that is to say, a written C for the alto will sound as E♭; concert, a major sixth lower).

The range of the alto saxophone is from concert D♭ (D♭3) to concert A♭ (A♭5) (or A5 on altos with a high F# key). The range as written for the player is B♭3 to F6 (or F#6). An additional upper range, known as the altissimo register, begins at F# and extends upwards for an octave or more. However, this range is commonly mastered only by advanced players.

Notable alto saxophonists include jazz musicians Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Eric Dolphy, and Paul Desmond, and classical musicians Marcel Mule, Sigurd Raschèr, and Eugene Rousseau. (Complete list of saxophonists) The alto saxophone is included in classical music more often than the tenor, and many concertos for alto exist. The alto has great versatility and is used commonly in concert, jazz, funk, blues, pop, marching bands, and rock music.

Some companies that currently produce saxophones are Buffet Crampon, Cannonball, P.Mauriat, Jupiter, Selmer, Yamaha, Vito/Leblanc, Keilwerth, and Yanagisawa. New alto saxophones range in price between US$350 for low quality student models to over US$5000 for professional models.

This article was started using a Wikipedia saxophone article
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