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Alto saxophone

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Alto saxophone

The alto saxophone is a variety of the saxophone, a family of woodwind instruments invented by Adolphe Sax. The alto is the fourth in size of the sax family which consists from smallest to largest of sopranissimo (or soprillo), sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass, and subcontrabass. Of these, only the soprano through baritone are commonly used. The less tubing an instrument has, the higher the instrument's range is.

The range of most alto saxophones is approximately from concert D flat immediately below middle C to concert D flat three octaves above. The uppermost notes (the altissimo register), however, are less-frequently mastered.

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

Great alto saxophonists include Charlie Parker, Phil Woods, Art Pepper, Marcel Mule, Lee Konitz, "Cannonball" Adderley and Paul Desmond. The alto saxophone is included in concert music more often than the tenor, and many great concert solos for alto exist. It has great versatility and is used commonly in concert, jazz, funk, blues, pop, and rock music.

Most people who learn to play saxophone begin on alto. The alto and tenor saxophones are the most commonly played. Some companies that produce saxophones are Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, and Jupiter. New alto saxophones range greatly in price from hundreds of dollars to several thousands.

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