The alto saxophone is a high register saxophone in Eb and belongs to the group of woodwind instruments . As a transposing musical instrument , it sounds a major sixth lower than notated , i.e. a sounding E- 1 is notated as C- 2 for the alto saxophone (9 semitones higher) .
Due to its concise sound, it is suitable for leading the saxophone setting in a big band , but is often also used as a soloist in jazz and pop music. Some very well-known jazz musicians like Charlie Parker , Cannonball Adderley , Ornette Coleman , Paul Desmond , Eric Dolphy and David Sanborn played mostly alto saxophone.