Alto Saxophones

Alto saxophones are prominent members of the saxophone family. The alto is the most popular among classical performers and composers. In fact most classical players focus mainly on the alto. It is the fourth in size of the sax family. The smallest saxophone is the sopranissimo or soprillo, followed by the sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass, and the largest is the subcontrabass.

Most altos range from concert D-flat below middle C to concert D-flat three octaves higher. But few have mastered the higher notes in the altissimo register. The alto is not played exactly as the music is written. You have to do some transposing. The treble clef is read in the key of E-flat. So instead of playing a written C, you play E-flat.

Altos play a major role in concert, funk, jazz, pop, blues, and rock music.It is the saxophone of choice for many beginners. Popular alto saxophone companies include Yanagisawa, Selmer, SML, Vito, Cannonball, Jupiter, and Yamaha. Their prices range greatly from a few hundreds to many thousands. A beginner should choose a cheaper, high quality model. Here's a great place to buy an alto. Click here!

It is the saxophone of choice for many beginners. Popular alto saxophone companies include Yanagisawa, Selmer, SML, Vito, Cannonball, Jupiter, and Yamaha. Their prices range greatly from a few hundreds to many thousands. A beginner should choose a cheaper, high quality model. Here's a great place to buy an alto. Click here!

alto saxophone

Alto and tenor saxophones are the most prominent siblings of the family. But while the tenor appears to be the most dominant instrument, the role played by the alto during the Swing Era cannot be ignored. The alto played a leading role in the evolution of Jazz. Charlie Parker, an alto saxophonist, was one of the most influential bebop pioneers of the 1940s.

Many saxophonists have been known to double successfully on alto and tenor. Popular alto and tenor players included David Fathead, Newman, Sonny Stitt, James Moody, and Frank Wess. Other great saxophone players include Art Pepper, Marcel Mule, Sigurd Raschèr, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean, "Cannonball" Adderley, and Paul Desmond.

Go here for a large alto saxophone picture.

Further Reading:

  • Case
  • Cheap Alto Saxophones
  • Conn Alto Sax
  • Fingering
  • Fingering Chart
  • For sale
  • Free Music
  • Free Sheet Music
  • History
  • Jupiter Alto
  • Lessons
  • Mouthpieces
  • Music
  • Parts
  • Reeds
  • Reviews
  • Solos
  • Songs
  • Student Saxophone
  • Tabs
  • Used Alto
  • Vito Alto
  • What Other Visitors Have Said

    Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

    Help with student sax 
    About 5 - 6 years ago, we bought my son a used alto sax to play in the school band. Without knowing if he would stick with it, I didn't want to invest …

    Discouraged Learner (Saxophone) 
    I am a Soldier in the United States Army deployed to Afghanistan. It has always been a dream of mine to learn to play the saxaphone. I recently proposed …

    Looking for best intermediate saxophone brand to buy 
    Just after some help. I am looking for a mid range priced quality alto saxophone for an intermediate player. (My daughter has been player for 4 years and …

    Changing from Classical to Jazz 
    Does anyone have any tips on how to get the feeling and rhythm and jazz into my system after previously only playing classical music? I really want to …

    Playing my sax at the beach 
    Hello, I am thinking of going down by the beach and playing my sax. I was wondering if the salt air will cause permanent damage to the sax? Gabriella …

    High F on a Martin Handcraft Alto Sax 
    Many 1920 Martin Handcrafts do not have a high F key. Does anyone know of the alternate fingerings to get this note on these horns?

    My alto sax plays a half step flat 
    When I play notes on my new alto saxophone, they are a half step flat. So when I blow into it without covering any holes or pressing any keys, it plays …

    Low G on alto sax squeaks 
    When I play a low G on my alto sax it keep squeaking to a higher note. Help! Meagan

    Airy Sound - Saxophone 
    I have been playing alto sax for a few years now. In all my 4 years of playing saxophone, my saxophone has never done this before. It started doing this …

    What saxophone solo should a student work on to audition for colleges? Not rated yet
    I auditioned on Aria by boza but I would just like to know other ideas? (What saxophone solo should a student work on to audition for colleges?)

    Why the alto sax? Not rated yet
    Since the tenor saxophone can play as high, or even higher than the alto and has a timbre not so open to ridicule as the alto and baritone sax, and it …

    How can I identify the model of a Conn alto? Not rated yet
    I have owned a Conn alto for many years but have never bothered to try and identify the model. It was made according to the engraving on the bell specifically …

    Armstrong alto sax SN# 40 07*** Not rated yet
    I have an Armstrong alto sax SN# 40 07*** and I want to know when it was made. It also has the "Armstrong" legend on the bell.

    Need a new mouthpiece/ligature/reed setup Not rated yet
    I play on a Yamaha Custom, black lacquer YAS-875, and have for years. My wife and I just joined a very good community band to get back into the swing …

    New to all of this ... did I do good? - King 665 Empire Alto  Not rated yet
    My 10 year old informed us that she wanted to switch from violin to sax this year. Being happy that she wants to stay involved with music I did some looking …

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