This Day in History (28-Jun-1846) – Saxophone is patented by Antoine Joseph Sax

The saxophone is known as a single-reed musical instrument that is a staple in jazz bands. Considered to be newer than other musical instruments in terms of its music history, the saxophone was invented by Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax. His father, Charles, was a maker of musical instruments. His father’s passion for creating musical instruments influenced him greatly and he began plans of improving the tone of the bass clarinet. What he came up with was a single-reed instrument constructed from metal that has a conical bore and overblows at the octave. Adolphe Sax first showed his creation (a C bass saxophone) to the composer Hector Berlioz. The great composer was impressed by the uniqueness and versatility of the instrument. Hector Berlioz published an article in the Paris magazine “Journal des Debats” describing the saxophone.

In 1844, Adolphe Sax revealed his creation to the public through the Paris Industrial Exhibition. Hector Berlioz conducted a concert featuring his choral work. Hector’s choral work arrangement is called Chant Sacre and it featured the saxophone. In December, the saxophone had its orchestral debut at the Paris Conservatory through the opera “Last King of Juda” by Georges Kastner. French military bands during this time used oboes, bassoons, and french horns, but Adoplhe replaced these with the Bb and Eb saxhorns. In 1846, he obtained patent for his saxophones that had 14 variations. Among them are: E flat sopranino, F sopranino, B flat soprano, C soprano, E flat alto, F alto, B flat tenor, C tenor, E flat baritone, B flat bass, C bass, E flat contrabass and F contrabass. In 1847, a saxophone school was created in Paris. It was set up at “Gymnase Musical,” a military band school.

In bollywood, well know saxophonist Manohari Singh was a key performer of many great songs. His piece on saxophone in songs like ‘Gaata Rahe Mera Dil’ and ‘Din Dhal Yaye’ in Guide and ‘Ye Duniya Usi Ki Zamana Usi ka’ (Kashmir Ki Kali) are still raved by film music lovers.



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