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Saxophone section – an introduction

Learn about all the saxophones from expert musicians with the U.S. Marine Band. Includes demonstrations of the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones, as well as a performance of the famous saxophone chorale from Grainger’s "Lincolnshire Posy.".

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Video transcript

- Hi, we're all saxophonists in the Presidential and United States Marine Band. My name is Steve Longoria. We have a pretty large section here today. We have all the way from a soprano down to a bass saxophone. Soprano saxophone, it's not the highest saxophone in terms of the range, but it's the highest one we have with us today. It's in the key of B flat. And I'll play a little bit for you. (plays saxophone) That's what a soprano sounds like. - I'm Rachel Perry and I'm playing alto saxophone. - And my name is Steve Temme. I'm also playing alto saxophone. It's probably the more common of the saxophone family for a student to start on. It's in the key of E flat. I'll give you a little sound. (plays saxophone) - My name is Jacob Chmara. I'm playing the tenor saxophone today, which is also in B flat, which is an octave below the soprano saxophone. And it sounds like this. (plays saxophone) - I'm IV Goodlett and I am today playing the E flat baritone saxophone, which is an octave below the alto and actually twice the size. The typical range of a saxophone goes down to B flat, where some baritone saxophones actually down to a low A, and this is what it sounds like. (plays saxophone) And that's the baritone saxophone. - My name is Miles Smith. Today I'm playing the bass saxophone. It's in the key of B flat and it's one octave below the tenor saxophone, two octaves below the soprano saxophone. It's less frequently used in the concert band setting. Now I'll demonstrate it for you. (plays saxophone) And that's the bass saxophone. - Playing the saxophone in a band can be a very interesting experience. We're going to perform a little bit of Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, a little selection from the second movement called Horkstow Grange. And it's just a chance for you to hear the entire saxophone section playing something together. (solemn music)