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The Bass Saxophone: A Historical Account and Performer's Guide Public Deposited

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  •      Around 1840, Adolphe Sax created the saxophone with the original intention of bridging the tonal disparities between the different sections of the orchestra. Although an entire family of saxophones would come into existence shortly after its invention, the bass saxophone was the first saxophone that Adolphe Sax created. At the time, the bass instruments of the orchestra often lacked power or had a harsh sonority, as mentioned in the saxophone patent, and Sax likely envisioned the bass saxophone as solving these issues. The bass saxophone has a rich history, from early descriptions of the instrument and its uses in military bands and orchestral compositions to its significant use in the jazz music of the 1920s-1930s. Additionally, the instrument has seen continuously increasing use as a contemporary solo instrument.

         This document is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource about the bass saxophone by discussing the instrument's extensive history and as acting as a tool to aid performers interested in performing on the bass saxophone. Various uses of the bass saxophone throughout time are examined: from its invention, to its use in jazz music, the wind ensemble, as a solo instrument, and more. In terms of playing the bass saxophone, few resources exist, and the Performer’s Guide section is intended to aid anyone interested in playing this instrument. Included are discussions on equipment, suggestions and tips for playing the instrument, altissimo fingering charts, and extensive repertoire lists.

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  • 2021-06-01
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