The Saxophone is my favorite instrument. Despite being made entirely of brass, the saxophone is considered a woodwind because it utilizes a reed to create its sound. It looks smooth and sexy, yet the sound is rich and strong. Although it is more commonly found in jazz, military and marching bands than in orchestras, it is occasionally found in some classical music.
1. History and Manufacturers:
This website was wonderfully rich in information. On this website, it is revealed that the original saxophone was invented by a man named Adolphe Sax. He began construction in 1840 on an instrument that he wanted to carry a sound range fitting between the clarinet and the trumpet. The saxophone was completed in 1845 and was quickly put to use by French composers. Adolphe Sax invented a total of 14 different types of saxophones! They range in size from 16” long, which is the smallest (called the soprano), all the way to the largest, which is 6-1/2 feet tall (called the contrabass).
This website discusses the different brands and manufacturers of saxophones and how each brand varies in quality and in price. There are descriptions about each brand, such as which are most useful for the student, beginner or professional. They also describe price ranges.
2. Famous Performers:
This website has a great biography on David Bowie (born David Robert Jones), who is a popular rock singer/musician/actor from England. He has been playing the saxophone since he was 13 years old! He developed his passion for music from his older brother, Terry. His brother also influenced David’s music, especially when he committed suicide in 1985. For a prime example of his brother’s influence, listen to the song “Jump They Say.” His brother’s suicide influenced the writing of this song. His work has evolved through the years revealing just how talented of a performer David Bowie really is. His true talent was revealed in 1996 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006, when he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
This website contains the biography of John Coltrane. His full birth name was John William Coltrane, Jr. It is estimated that he started musical training at the age of 13 years old. He first started with the alto horn, then moved on to the clarinet and finally the alto saxophone for both community and high school bands. After Coltrane served in the Navy from 1945 to 1946, he played with several bands, such as Jimmy Heath’s big band. In 1948, he started playing professionally with Eddie Vinson, then on to Dizzy Gillespie from ’49 to ’51 and with Earl Bostic in ’52. Finally in ’54, he got the chance to play with his favorite musician Johnny Hodges. In 1955, Miles Davis heard his music and got him onto the “fast track” to fame. After a few years battling a heroin addiction and then quitting cold turkey, Coltrane excelled in his musical career. He incited a lot of controversy for his somewhat eccentric styles of musical tastes through the years. His final performance was May 7, 1967, in Baltimore. John Coltrane died on July 17, 1967 from liver cancer. The jazz world still mourns his passing today.
3. Famous Composers:
This website covers the life and works of rock musician and orchestral composer, Danny Elfman. Danny Elfman got his start as a musician for Oingo Boingo. In fact, he was discovered by Paul Reubens and Tim Burton because of his music with the band. His first musical score was the theme music for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which was a foot in the door for bigger and better professional achievements. Through the years, he has accumulated quite a collection of musical scores. Included are Beetlejuice, The Dark Knight, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, the...
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