National Saxophone Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

National Saxophone Day is annually celebrated on November 6th in the United States. This day commemorates the birth anniversary of Antoine-Joseph ‘Adolphe’ Sax the creator of the saxophone. 

This incredibly unique musical invention is the only instrument to be created by solely one person as well as being the woodwind family’s only brass instrument. 

This soulful instrument has a rich history and musical range. We love the saxophone and what it brings to both the classical- and jazz music worlds. Through the ages, the saxophone has a long legacy for its contributions to music and that’s why it is celebrated on this say along with it the tribute is also paid to its inventor. 

Event National Saxophone Day
Date November 6, 2022
Day Sunday
Significance The day celebrates and honors the Saxophone
Observed by United States

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National Saxophone Day History: 

The saxophone was designed around 1840 by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument maker, flautist, and clarinetist. Born in Dinant and originally based in Brussels, he moved to Paris in 1842 to establish his musical instrument business. Before working on the saxophone, he made several improvements to the bass clarinet by improving its keywork and acoustics and extending its lower range. Sax was also a maker of the ophicleide, a large conical brass instrument in the bass register with keys similar to a woodwind instrument. He created various ‘sax’ brass instruments including the saxtuba, saxotromba, and the saxhorn. However, these instruments never received the same popularity in the musical community as the saxophone did and quickly faded into non-existence.

Sax’s dream for the saxophone was for it to perform low to high ranges in an orchestra. He originally created 14 different-sized counterparts, from sopranino to contrabass to provide a spectrum of musical notes. The saxophone underwent many changes to its design over time, and not just by its inventor. When Sax’s patent expired in 1866, Millereau Co. created and patented a version of the saxophone with a forked F sharp key and Goumas patented one with the clarinet-inspired Boehm fingering system. Later, in 1881, Sax extended his original patent and made some adjustments to expand the instrument’s octave range to include B flat, A, F flat, and G. 

In the 1840s and 1850s, Sax’s invention gained use in small classical ensembles (both all-saxophone and mixed), as a solo instrument, and in French and British military bands. Saxophone method books were published and saxophone instruction was offered at conservatories in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. French saxophonist and educator Jean-Marie Londeix greatly expanded the saxophone repertoire and available techniques in the second half of the 20th century, commissioning a great deal of new saxophone works with extended techniques, including those by Denisov, Lauba, Rossé, and Rolin. 

The modern layout of the saxophone emerged during the 1930s and 1940s, first with right-side bell keys introduced by C. G. Conn on baritones, then by King on altos and tenors. The mechanics of the left hand table were revolutionized by Selmer with their Balanced Action instruments in 1936, capitalizing on the right-side bell key layout. In 1948 Selmer introduced their Super Action saxophones with offset left and right hand stack keys. Thirty to forty years later this final Selmer layout was nearly universal on all saxophone models.

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National Saxophone Day Significance: 

The saxophone is a type of single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a reed on a mouthpiece vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument’s body. The pitch is controlled by opening and closing holes in the body to change the effective length of the tube. The holes are closed by leather pads attached to keys operated by the player. Saxophones are made in various sizes and are almost always treated as transposing instruments. Saxophone players are called saxophonists. 

The saxophone is used in a wide range of musical styles including classical music (such as concert bands, chamber music, solo repertoire, and occasionally orchestras), military bands, marching bands, jazz (such as big bands and jazz combos), and contemporary music. The saxophone is also used as a solo and melody instrument or as a member of a horn section in some styles of rock and roll and popular music. Overall ever since its introduction saxophones have made a mark in global music and it is also essential to music in many cultures around the world as well. 

The saxophone first gained popularity in military bands. Although the instrument was initially ignored in Germany, French and Belgian military bands were quick to include it in their ensembles. Most French and Belgian military bands incorporate at least a quartet of saxophones. British military bands tend to include at minimum two saxophonists on alto and tenor. Today saxophones are so integral to military parades that you can find saxophone in almost any military band in our world today. 

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the saxophone found increased popularity in symphony orchestras. The instrument has also been used in opera and choral music. Musical theatre scores also can include parts for saxophone, sometimes doubling another woodwind or brass instrument. The rise of the saxophone as a jazz instrument followed its widespread adoption in dance bands during the early 1920s. The Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, formed in 1923, featured arrangements to back up improvisation, bringing the first elements of jazz to the large dance band format. 

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National Saxophone Day Celebrations: 

Learning to play the saxophone not only adds to your list of talents but also makes a great conversation starter. So make the use of the opportunity and take time to learn play this beautiful and amazing instrument. And if you already know how to play then why not join a local jazz or blues band and play some of the popular classics or create new ones and this will also provide you the nice opportunity to showcase your saxophone playing skills in front of the world. 

Take a special someone for a musical date night to a live jazz bar or concert. Not only is this a unique and cultural experience, but it’s a great way to enjoy food and drink while listening and swaying to the rhythms and emotions that the saxophone contributes to jazz and blues music. In this way this day will also be more memorable and exciting for you to remember later on. So do tru to spend it in the company of someone special. 

If you are still not familiar with saxophone or haven’t listened any saxophone playing in concert then this is the opportunity for you to take a look into the world of saxophones on this day. There are many iconic saxophonists out there or have lived in our world so it is the time to pay tribute to their art and talent and you can do it by watching some of their performances on tv or internet. 

Most Searched FAQs on National Saxophone Day: 

1. When is National Saxophone Day celebrated? 

National Saxophone Day is annually celebrated on November 6th in US. 

2. What does National Saxophone Day commemorates? 

National Saxophone Day commemorates the birth anniversary of Antoine-Joseph ‘Adolph’ Sax, the creator of saxophone. 

3. How much does a decent saxophone cost? 

Beginner saxophones usually range in cost from $800 to $2,700. Intermediate, or step-up saxophones usually range in cost $2,000 to $3,000 and entry level pro saxophones (still largely played by advanced students) around $3,000 and up. 

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