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The Saxophones

The saxophone family is a recent addition to the woodwinds. Modern traditionalists may even omit them from their orchestrations. In church music, the alto sax often doubles the french horn while the tenor sax doubles the euphonium orĀ  trombone. The Bari Sax doubles the tuba. The soprano saxophone is rarely included in church orchestrations. While the practice of doubling can create challenges with intonation and timbre, I do not see it changing in the near future. However, in both concert bands and big bands the saxophone is treated as an independent voice.

The dynamic range of the saxophone slightly mirrors the clarinet, but it has a more even volume throughout its registers. The lowest notes can sound harsh and are more difficult to control, as is the upper register. A conservative range is represented between D and A.

All saxophones have a similar written range, with the exception of the bari sax, which can play a low A-flat. In addition, all saxophones read music written in the treble clef.

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