The saxophone was invented by a Belgian-born man named Adolphe Sax in 1841. In addition to being an instrument-maker, Sax was a flautist and a clarinetist. He also previously made key advancements in regards to the bass clarinet, enhancing it acoustically and expanding its range. He designed the brass instrument to be a loud, versatile instrument, and he was successful. With the help of composer Hector Berlioz, Sax introduced the saxophone to the musical world.
The first saxophone was created similarly to the clarinet, an instrument the saxophone was designed to outplay in volume. The two had a single reed mouthpiece in common. The saxophone also borrowed from another instrument, the ophicleide, another work of Sax. From the ophicleide the saxophone took a cone-shaped body. From the oboe the saxophone took its acoustics. The properties from these three instruments made the saxophone an unusual and immediately well-liked instrument. In fact, a saxophone school opened up in 1847.
After Sax’s patent on the saxophone ran out, musicians took to altering the original design. One manufacturer extended the bell and further increased the lower range of the saxophone. Other musicians added keys and different fingerings to change the way the saxophone could be played, opening it up to new, more complicated pieces.
The first saxophone to be built in the US was constructed in 1885 by a man named Gus Buesher.
The saxophone became widely popular as an instrument in the military band. Then its popularity spread and the saxophone became a major part of big band, blues and jazz music.Today the saxophone is a part of many different types of music including the aforementioned big band, blues and jazz, as well as rock, classical and ska. The saxophone adds a certain sound that can’t be replicated by other instruments.