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Tenor saxophone

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The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax. It is a transposing instrument, pitched in the key of B♭. In addition, tenor music is notated an octave higher than it is played, so when a tenor saxophonist plays a C, the actual pitch that sounds is a B♭ a major ninth lower.

In the early 20th century, instrument makers manufactured a saxophone slightly smaller than the tenor which was pitched in the key of C. This was known as a C melody saxophone. C melody saxophones became common during the American saxophone craze (1918-1929) but the instrument passed out of style. No C melody saxophones have been mass manufactured since 1929, and C melody saxophones are not included in any present-day band or jazz ensemble.

The tenor saxophone is used in many different types of ensembles, including concert bands, big band jazz ensembles, small jazz ensembles, and marching bands. It is occasionally included in pieces written for symphony orchestra and for chamber ensembles; two examples of this are Ravel's Boléro and Webern's Quartet for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano. In concert bands, the tenor plays mostly a supporting role, sometimes sharing parts with the euphonium and trombone. In jazz ensembles the tenor plays a more prominent role, often sharing parts or harmonies with the alto saxophone.

The tenor saxophone became better known through its frequent use in jazz music. It was the pioneering genius of Coleman Hawkins which lifted the tenor saxophone from its traditional role of adding weight to the ensemble and established it as a highly-effective melody instrument in its own right. Many of the greatest jazz musicians from the 1940's onwards have been primarily tenor players. Since then the tenor saxophone and its deep soulful tone have been considered one of the key instruments of blues and jazz music. The tenor is also extremely prominent in Rhythm and Blues music. As a result of its prominence in American jazz, the instrument has also featured prominently in other genres. These include Rock 'n' roll and more recently in Rock music as well as Afro-American, Latin American, Afro-Caribbean, and African music.

Approximately 90% of all student saxophonists start learning the instrument using the alto saxophone. Approximately 20% of student saxophonists later learn to play the tenor. Switching from one saxophone to another is not very difficult, since all modern saxophones are transposing instruments and all saxophones share the same fingerings.

The tenor saxophone requires a slightly larger mouthpiece, reed, and ligature than the alto.

The saxophone family includes the sopranissimo, sopranino, soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, bass and contrabass saxophones.

This article was started using a Wikipedia saxophone article
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