Is saxophone a brass instrument? This is one question that is constantly sparking up arguments on the internet, and it will come as a surprise to you when you find out that the saxophone is not a brass instrument. You might be wondering why said the saxophone isn’t a brass instrument, and the reason for saying that is because the brass players symposium many years ago came together to conclude that the saxophone isn’t a brass instrument.
The woodwind family is one that has so many musical instruments included inside of it, and the woodwind serves as a family for instruments that do not have what it takes to make it to the families of percussion, brass, and strings. This is why so many people think the saxophone is a dumping ground for so many instruments, and it is a home for so many instruments that lack skills that cannot be transferred from one instrument to another.
These musical instruments that fall into the woodwind family have no similarities among each other, and an instrument like the oboe is played by blowing air into its hole for it to make noise. The woodwind family also houses double reeded instruments and single reeded instruments, and you are left with a set of fingers to play notes on other instruments. This is why you are going to end up with playing a woodwind that cannot be transferred to another.
Saxophone As A Woodwind Instrument
One fact you need to be aware of is the fact that the saxophone is has some similarities with several other woodwind instruments, and we are talking about fingering instruments. Anyone that plays the oboe or flute knows that fingering is similar, but the hole found on the saxophone is bigger than that which is found on the clarinet. It is impossible to cover the hole on the saxophone using one finger, so large pads that are activated using the fingers are used.
This is because these large pads are designed for covering large sized holes, and the making of sound on the saxophone is similar to the making of sound on the clarinet. One fact about the saxophone you should have in mind is the fact that it makes use of a reed that vibrates in creating sound, and it functions as though you are sending air using a very thin gap. This is the reason behind the vibration of the reed, which vibrates air and produces a sound.
So many musical instrument lovers consider the reed as a saxophone’s speaking drum, and you should be able to tell by everything we have said that the saxophone is designed to be similar like the woodwind instrument. The mouthpiece found on the clarinet is the same as that on the saxophone, but the fact that it comes with a different size and shape makes it embouchure very different. There is something so many people find confusing about saxophones.
This is because saxophone when made out of metal is made using brass metal material. In order cases, they make use of chinesium, while another material can be used in other cases.
Is Saxophone A Brass Instrument
Brass Family On Instruments
One thing about the musical instruments in the brass family is the fact that the sound produced isn’t made by any instrument, but it is made directly from the musician’s lips. Vibration is created when the musician’s lips meets with the air escaping from the instrument. The mouthpiece of the brass musical instrument holds up to the vibrating lips used for amplifying and refining the buzz.
Unlike woodwinds where skill cannot be transferred, you can find it easy to transfer skills when playing any musical instrument in the brass family. The only different thing about the instruments in the brass family is the fact that it comes with an instrument you can attached to the mouthpiece. On the other hand, the similarities is one list that is endless, and the body of a brass instrument is designed to align with the air flowing through it.
Alterations of speed and air alongside contractions of the lips helps a musician in altering notes when playing a brass musical instrument, and it is common for a single harmonic series to witness some gaps where pitches tend to go missing. Switching between multiple harmonic series is one versatile skill of brass instruments, and elongating tubes in brass instruments helps in stretching out the vibrating air column.
This results in the production of lower pitch and reduction in frequency vibration. Now that we have talked about the saxophone as a brass instrument, let us talk to you about the saxophone as a woodwind instrument. Just like we mentioned earlier, the saxophone is considered as a woodwind instrument even though it is made out of brass material.
Having a mouthpiece attached to a saxophone means you have found out a simple technique you can adopt when it comes to stretching brass tubes so sound can pass through it with ease. This provides you with a simple way to switch pitch, but you need to know the aim of inventing the saxophone instrument for you to be able to tell if it is a brass instrument or a woodwind instrument.
Bridging the gap between woodwind and brass instrument is the reason why the saxophone was invented or designed in the first place, and finding a way to blend different tones of the brass and woodwind family under wind-instrument music. Creating a tonal balance is what the saxophone is designed to achieve, and the fact that it is designed to blend well with a woodwind or brass families makes it every musician’s choice.
Firming up the tone produced by a musical band, and providing sounds with charm and a rich quality is another reason why the saxophone has gained so much love and popularity over the years. The dynamic range of a saxophone is one that cannot be overlooked, and it boasts of having the widest when considering all the instruments in the woodwind family. It also has tonal qualities that are similar to that of a human voice.
Providing a wide range of expression is what the saxophone knows how to do best, and this explains why it has staked a spot in jazz music. It is also very impressive when played as a solo instrument, and people enjoy the robust experience it provides when played as classical music. French composers are known to the best when it comes to playing the saxophone musical instrument. It can be used in several instrumental groups like;
- Orchestra music
- Chamber music
- Even as solo instrument
Fun Fact About The Saxophone
Right from the early days, the saxophone instrument has been the only brass woodwind instrument. This is because it is made using brass materials, but it is classified as a woodwind instrument based on the fact that it makes use of a reed in generating sounds. What makes this musical instrument the best buddy for so many instrumentalist players is the fact that it has the ability to support the low and high woodwinds.
It has a very high level of versatility that makes it which explains why it plays the role of a middle voice in a large band or ensemble. On the other hand, saxophonists prefer playing the saxophone using the classical mouthpiece, and this is because the classical mouthpiece is known for providing clean and amazing tones. There will be a drastic effect on how the instrument sounds and how you play if you change the mouthpiece on the saxophone.
Everything will end up being different when the mouthpiece on the saxophone is changed, and we are talking about everything like articulation, pitch, sound quality, and tone. However, the cork that is found on the mouthpiece should be able to accommodate various mouthpieces, making it possible for players to switch up the type of sounds they want to obtain.