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Ahhh, that explains why he was playing a C-melody. He was high.

But seriously, I absolutely love my C-melody as I do all my saxes. It's great being able to look over a piano or guitar player's shoulder and read the same chart without transposing, which is exactly what the horn was made for. It's a beautiful instrument with its own distinctive sound. Of course I never gig with mine, but when visiting friends and making music for fun, it's perfect. A C-soprano is also on my bucket list.
Any idea what is it about the concept itself, building the horn in C that de facto made it have a tonality that didn’t become popular? Something intrinsic to the key makes a C saxophone have to be less resonant or something, compared to Bb and Eb? Or just no manufacturers put much effort into it and it didn’t catch on?
 

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I'll probably never gig or record with mine, but I don't care. I enjoy playing it and owning it.
Fascinating history! But I think this is the part that intrigues me most— what about it makes you feel this way? Something about the sound, all fads and fallibility of historically popular tastes aside, doesn’t make it as worthy of recording to you, despite your liking to play it. Seems like something inherent in making a C saxophone doesn’t make as good a tone?
 

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Well, the target market consisted of those who couldn't put in the time or effort to learn how to transpose music. You know... quick and easy...short cuts. That's generally not the required frame of mind conducive to mastering a musical instrument. Probably looked down upon by other players to boot.
Hmm.. is this logical? If so no one would be any good on any C instruments. Flute, oboe, trombone, violin— there’s obviously more to mastery than ability/willingness to transpose! And, honestly, you can play tenor and alto without learning to transpose too. Either play in a different key while reading concert, or read already-transposed saxophone charts.
 

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I have no dog in this fight, but consider that C melody mouthpiece development basically stopped about 1925 or so. If we were to judge the tone of tenor and alto saxophones based on playing them with 1925-vintage mouthpieces we might say a lot of the same things I hear about the C melody. Just consider a world with no Otto Link, no Meyer, no Brilhart, no Selmer Soloist.

I suspect that if you refit a C melody with modern pads with boosters and play it with a mouthpiece of modern design, it'll get closer to the general tone family of modern tenors and altos, or at least Conn New Wonder altos and tenors played with modern setups.
Hmm sounds just like a “regular sax” to me!

 
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