The Sopranino Saxophone
Let's take a look at the sopranino saxophone. This saxophone is one of the smallest members of the saxophone family. It is bigger than the new sopranissimo or soprillo saxophone (constructed by Benedikt Eppelsheim), but smaller than the soprano saxophone.
So in terms of size, the smallest saxophone is the sopranissimo, followed by the sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass, and the subcontrabass. (Of course, the smaller the saxophone, the higher the pitch.)
The E-Flat sopranino sax is a very delicate instrument in terms of how it is built, as well how it is played. Extremely difficult to manufacture. This sax is only a fraction of the size of the soprano and the intricate detail required to produce it is amazing. The instrument almost looks like a toy, but it is very far from that.
Yanagiswa and Selmer are popular manufacturers of the sopranino saxophone.
The high-pitched sopranino is tuned in the key of E-flat. The instrument sounds an octave above the alto sax. The sopranino is not very common, unlike saxophones like the tenor, soprano, and alto, but is still being produced by many of the major musical instrument manufacturers. It is increasingly being used in contemporary music.
Most sopranino saxophones are not curved, but straight. This is because of the fact that they are so small. However, you can still find some curved ones, made by Orsi.
Due to the fact that this saxophone is so small, many players find it a rather cramped task to get their fingers onto the keys. Some of them have a tendency to sound rather thin and shrill.
Notable use of the instrument is in the orchestral work Bolero, by Maurice Ravel. Notable improvisors using the sopranino include Anthony Braxton and Martin Archer. Today, sopraninos are used as solo instruments and within saxophone ensembles.
Sopranino saxes are pretty expensive. For instance, last time I checked, the Selmer Paris 50 Series II was being sold for $4995.00 at a leading online musical instrument seller.
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