Soprano saxophone

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Soprano saxophone
Engl .: Soprano saxophone , Italian .: Sassofono soprano
Yamaha Saxophone YSS-875 EX.jpg
Soprano saxophone in straight construction
classification Aerophon single reed
range SopranSaxNotation.png
Sound sample
Soprano Saxophone Trio
Related instruments

Saxophone designs

A soprano saxophone is a high register saxophone in B.

It has a nasal to piercing, very flexible sound, which is well suited for solo work or for leading a movement, but makes operation much more difficult for the beginner. The pitch range for the instrument tuned in B flat is 0  - es 3  (- f 3 ). Modern instruments often still have keys that expand the range up to a sounding e 3 or even f 3 without having to use overblow techniques ( altissimo ). The soprano saxophone (in Bb) sounds two semitones (a major second) lower than notated and is therefore a transposing instrument .


The soprano saxophone comes in three designs, which differ only slightly in terms of sound:

Two S-bows of a soprano saxophone; left straight, right slightly curved.
  • the classic and most common version with a straight body, either in one piece or with a separate head joint ("S-bend"), as is usual with all lower-sounding saxophones. This S-bend is available in straight and slightly curved forms; it contains the upper octave key (saxophones usually have two). This straight construction corresponds to the shape patented by Adolphe Sax .
  • a rare semi-curved shape (also Saxello ) with an upward-curved bell
  • the curved construction, similar to that of an alto saxophone . This form is preferred by some players, as the sound is easier to hear and therefore more controllable due to the orientation of the bell. Other advantages of the curved shape are the shorter overall length, which enables a smaller case, and the cheaper placement of a microphone .


The soprano saxophone was chosen as the main instrument by only a few soloists. However, many tenor saxophonists have occasionally swapped their instrument for the soprano instrument, including John Coltrane , Wayne Shorter , Dexter Gordon and Jerome Richardson . Famous saxophonist who played primarily or exclusively soprano saxophone, are Jan Garbarek , Branford Marsalis , Sidney Bechet , Steve Lacy and Kenny G .

A soprano saxophone is often used in big bands. In symphony or harmony orchestras there are also instrumentations with a soprano saxophone; however, there is no permanent position as a soprano saxophonist in an orchestra. Despite the good timbre, the soprano saxophone is rarely played. It is mostly used as a solo instrument, which is why there are hardly any soprano-sax parts in arrangements.


Because part of the sound in a woodwind instrument exits through the funnel and another part also through the opened tone holes, the problem arises with straight woodwind instruments that a single microphone does not reproduce the sound perceived by the listener exactly.

Therefore, the straight soprano saxophones are usually equipped with a microphone at an angle in front of the bell and with another microphone above one of the flaps in the lower half of the instrument.

With the curved design - as with the alto and tenor saxophone - a microphone placed above the bell is sufficient, as it can also pick up the sound emerging from the tone holes.

See also

Web links

Commons : Soprano Saxophones  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files