Inspiration / 6 November 2019

Six surprising facts about the sax for World Saxophone Day

The sax is instantly recognisable. From ‘Careless Whisper’ to ‘Thrift Shop’, ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘Just The Way You Are’, this versatile woodwind instrument has delivered iconic music moments since it was first invented in 1846 by top Belgian dude, Adolphe Sax.

6 November is World Saxophone Day! We’ve got some Sax-focused MIDI instruments on BandLab to inspire your next track. But before we get to that, here are 6 surprising facts about the Sax that you might not know.

The Sax was pretty misunderstood when it first arrived

Image result for adolphe sax
Adolphe Sax: invented the instrument that gave us the Careless Whisper riff.

Nobody gave any kudos to Adolphe Sax’s creation until composer Hector Berlioz came along and created the first recognised sax piece of its time, Chant Sacré (peak 1860s chamber music). The rest is history.

The Sax is part of the woodwind family

Although the sax looks and sounds like it should belong in the brass section, it’s actually a member of the woodwind family.  That’s because of the way sound is produced on a sax: by vibrating a single reed, similar to a clarinet.

The brass section on the other hand creates sound through the buzzing of the rim around the mouthpiece. (Knowledge is power.)

Saxes aren’t just made out of brass

There are ones made of sterling silver, copper, bronze, plastic, acrylic, and polycarbonate! They can get pretty wild.

The Sax comes in all shapes and sizes. The biggest in its class is…

Image result for contrabass sax

The Contrabass. 6 feet 4 inches tall, usually about 45 pounds. (You probably wouldn’t want to take it to that dive bar gig.)

And the smallest is…

Image result for soprillo sax

The soprillo. Usually 12 inches and sounds an octave higher than the soprano sax.

If you’re looking for famous sax players, a lot of them are jazz OGs.

Check out John Coltrane, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, and Cannonball Adderly to name just a few! And for the newer wave, Kamasi Washington, Melissa Aldana, and Terrace Martin.

Feeling inspired? Get into the creative mood with this Saxophonic BandLab playlist.

Or create your own sax-driven track on BandLab!

Here’s where you can find the MIDI instruments:

Alto Saxophone or Tenor Saxophone options are available under ‘Instruments’ and ‘Winds’.
Alto Saxophone or Tenor Saxophone options are available in the MIDI Instruments view

Click here to access the Alto Sax soundbank on BandLab web and mobile!

Click here to access the Tenor Sax soundbank on BandLab web and mobile!

Tag us in your tracks @BandLab. Let’s get sax-tacular.

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