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Saxophone Types

The different types of Saxophones


Soprano Saxophone

The soprano saxophone is tuned in the key of B Flat. Its tune is the highest of all other saxophones. It can be curved but in most cases it’s straight like a clarinet. The Soprano has a very unique and special sound, however it is regarded as the most difficult saxophone to start with since it requires a lot of embouchure exercise and tons of practice.






Soprano Music example:  (Kenny G – The moment)


Alto Saxophone

The Alto Saxophone is the most common saxophone for beginners since it is very easy to start with. It is pitched in the key of E Flat.  Its medium size and shape makes it very comfortable to hold and compared to the tenor it’s easier to play. And since the alto it usually less expensive than tenor it makes it the ultimate beginners choice.  Alto players can always later on move to other saxophone since the fingering is pretty much the same.


Alto Saxophone example (Charlie Parker – “Groovin’ High”)



Tenor Saxophone

The Tenor Saxophone which is pitched in the key of B Flat is larger than the alto saxophone. Also the mouthpiece and rods are larger compared to alto. Tenor Saxophone is mostly used in jazz music. While most beginners start with alto, you can start with tenor if you can handle it. It’s like a bigger alto. Usually children should start with alto instead of tenor, because of its light weight.


Tenor example: Ben Webster (“Over the Rainbow”)



 The Baritone Saxophone


The final saxophone is the baritone. It’s the largest and heaviest among all other types.

It is pitched in the key of E flat and is one octave lower than alto. It’s mostly used as the bass for soul music and in other niches as well.


Baritone example: (Yasuto Tanaka playing Czardas)



Every different saxophone is unique in its own way, and eventually you will chose the saxophone that you connect mostly to it and connect to its music. In general for a beginner the alto is recommended and if you prefer to play mostly jazz then maybe the tenor is the recommended saxophone for you.


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