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Selmer MarkVII Tenor
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All :
I am new at this forum, and also new playing sax after many, many years out of playing. I found this website and I found it very useful and informative. I have not played classical music with a sx as classical musci has been performed with "classical instruments" and being the Sax a newer instrument it was not used in classical performance. I would like to know from you classical players, which one is more suited for classical performance and playing, Soprano or Alto ? and the reason for your choice..
Best regards and happy playing
 

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Wellcome, Humbardi -

As for your question: both soprano and alto are used for classical music. Many classical sax quartets consist of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes. I play soprano and alto in one quartet and baritone in another.

Regards Bo
 

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Most of the major solo rep is on alto, but the soprano is starting to get a lot more pieces lately. When it comes down to it, you can find great music to play on any size sax, so don't limit yourself.
 

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Selmer MarkVII Tenor
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your answer. I was thinking that the soprano , because is in in Bb , like the clarinet, would have more use as classical instrument than the alto.
 

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I'm NO classic player. But what I did for fun a couple of times is to play flute baroque works (Bach) on soprano. It needs to be transcribed (unless you sight-transpose), is a hell of a challenge in terms of intonation, but once you're there, it sounds great. You could do the same with oboe or clarinet works.
The alto's range doesn't offer the same opportunities, and tends to sound dull, compared to it's baroque counterparts.
 

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Alto has more repertoire, by far, but soprano comes in second of the whole family. I'd consider both equally valued classical instruments, though. I'd not think of the individual sax voices as "alto for classical, tenor for jazz, etc." but rather, just as ranges of a similar timbre; the saxophone timbre.
 

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Why not consider the baritone? Bassoon concertos are a perfect match for that instrument, and since they are already are in the bass clef they are "ready to play".

Not that they are easy. I have tried playing through a couple of Vivaldi's bassoon concerti and they really test your playing skills!
 

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Lots of good stuff in the classical realm - either in transcription or for transposition - e.g., J.S. Bach's six unaccompanied cello suites have been transcribed/edited for sax by Trent Kynaston. And the modern bari, what with the low A and good altissimo, could pretty much match the tessatura of the 'cello. I personally like a lot of the operatic literature and have "borrowed" a number of great arias (e.g. Queen of the Night's "Der Holle Rache" from The Magic Flute for soprano sax) for the various saxophone voices.

If I had to pick one voice, I would choose soprano - not necessarily for what has been written specifically for the instrument, but for what can be played with it. Oboe, flute,violin, and soprano vocal music are all possibilities. I tend to concentrate on the sound and tonal range of the music, not the key in which the specific instrument is pitched. Transposing for either Eb or Bb horns is often necessary - and will be an extremely useful skill to develop.

I'm absolutely sure that Mozart, Beethoven, all the Bachs and crowds of other classical composers would have delighted in the sound of saxophones and written for them had they been available. Good luck to you in your classical adventuring - enjoy the discovery
 

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Thanks for your answer. I was thinking that the soprano , because is in in Bb , like the clarinet, would have more use as classical instrument than the alto.
Don't get hung up on the Bb thing since, although most concert band music in written for Bb, classical(symphony) compositions are often written for Clarinet in A. Alto will give you the most opportunities to play, originally written for Eb, but the reality is, if you want to play classical a lot, double on clarinet. You could also find a C soprano and play the oboe part. There was a rare Alto in F to play the French horn part, I guess.

Why not do both, soprano and alto?
 

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Alto saxophone has far more repertoire than the soprano as well as the majority of what saxophonists would likely agree is the best literature written for our instrument. Compare for yourself here:

http://www.dornpub.com/saxcat.html

There are more pieces in "Alto Saxophone Composers A - G" than the entire soprano saxophone section. This website doesn't have everything ever written for classical saxophone, but is has most of it.

That being said, as mentioned, the soprano has become a very popular instrument for new music. But I wouldn't say that composers have stopped writing for the alto either.

I think the better question is: why not both?
 

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Alto saxophone has far more repertoire than the soprano as well as the majority of what saxophonists would likely agree is the best literature written for our instrument. Compare for yourself here:

http://www.dornpub.com/saxcat.html

There are more pieces in "Alto Saxophone Composers A - G" than the entire soprano saxophone section. This website doesn't have everything ever written for classical saxophone, but is has most of it.

That being said, as mentioned, the soprano has become a very popular instrument for new music. But I wouldn't say that composers have stopped writing for the alto either.

I think the better question is: why not both?
I prefer contrabass or sopranino saxophones for my standard classical playing :twisted:
 
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