Are Saxophones Used In Brass Bands? (Explained)

Are saxophones in brass bands
Written by Corey Morgan

Yes, Saxophones are used in brass bands. They have always been used in brass bands since the dawn of Jazz history.

The saxophone is the only woodwind instrument that officially fits in these types of groups, according to the definition of a brass band. Even yet, some ensembles made up majorly of brass players may still refer to themselves as brass bands if they include a few clarinetists or flutists.

This is frequently connected with specific regions. Because of the strong relationship between Dixieland and jazz works, New Orleans brass bands frequently include at least one clarinetist.

What is a brass band?

A brass band is a musical unit that is made up solely of brass instruments and often includes percussion. Brass and woodwind ensembles are sometimes referred to as brass bands, most especially in the New Orleans context–style, although they are accurately referred to as exhibition bands or brass bands

A cornet segment, a flugelhorn, a tenor horn section, a baritone horn section, a euphonium section, a trombone section with two tenors and one bass, and a tuba section – often referred to as the basses make a brass band with a complete set of 28 players in the British manner with the Inclusion of percussion. Brass bands have a long tradition of competing in band competitions, which are usually focused on local industry and towns.

How did saxophones get to become a part of brass bands?

Saxophones have been used in ensembles since the dawn of Jazz history. Marching bands were mostly composed of brass instruments, and the saxophone often appeared alone in these ensembles. The main question is “how did this brass-woodwind combination emerge in such brass bands?”

Brass instruments are renowned to outperform most woodwinds, yet the saxophone has survived the disappearance of flutes, with exception of the piccolo. The answer could be found in saxophone design, particularly tenor saxophone design. A. Sax built and designed the saxophone to be a powerful machine capable of covering or competing with the volume of brass instruments, and he succeeded.

The saxophone has a formant in the most delicate region of our hearing system that gives it that “voice” sound. Finally, with these two traits of power and voice, saxophones are as crazy instruments as the other components of marching bands, which is why they stand out in brass bands and why are included in brass band instruments.

How loud are the saxophones in brass bands

Marching bands have typically used single-reed woodwind instruments, as well as brass and percussion instruments. However, they are frequently drowned out by louder instruments, making them less noticeable to the audience and band members.

The saxophone was created to replace the clarinet in military bands, allowing the woodwind section to take center stage.

The sound generating technique of single-reed woodwind instruments such as the saxophone is studied to see which reed and mouthpiece parameters have a major impact on the amplitude of the emitted sound. Transfer function observations and numerical research employing physical modeling are used to achieve this goal.

The former might show how varied mouthpiece geometry and reed kinds affect the sound magnitude. The latter can be used to methodically adjust reed and embouchure-related factors while monitoring how well these changes affect the emitted sound.

What Is the Role of Saxophones in Brass bands?

The job of the saxophone in almost all the brass band configurations is to assist brass instruments; altos double the french horn, tenor sax doubles the trombone or euphonium, and baritone sax doubles the tuba. Those brass parts, however, can be overpowered by an overabundance of saxophone numbers.

The saxophone is frequently used to complement the French horn in ensembles such as band and orchestra since they have similar timbres and ranges. The woodwinds can also be balanced with the saxophone.

Should the saxophone be involved in a brass bands?

The saxophone may be a suitable choice for you if you want the sophistication of a classical instrument and the intensity of a non-classical instrument. Despite its reputation as a jazz instrument, the saxophone is frequently heard in band and orchestra settings, and a wide range of classical music has indeed been composed for it.

How does the saxophone appear in brass bands?

Each saxophone has a certain function. There are normally five saxophones in a classic big brass band: two altos, two tenors, and one baritone. In addition to flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, and other instruments, the soprano is sometimes employed as a double.

There is hardly much classical repertoire for the saxophone because it is a relatively new instrument. However, solos, concertos, sonatas, and studies systematically for the saxophone can still be found throughout the twentieth century.

Can tone effects be applied to the saxophone while playing in brass bands?

Tone effects can be applied to the saxophone in brass bands, and this application can be used to create intriguing and unique sounds.

Glissando is a sliding technique in which the saxophonist bends the note with voicing (mouth location) while sliding up or down to a different fingered note. This method can be recognized in big band music on occasion.

A glissando can also be made by controlling the airstream with the tongue while keeping the embouchure stationary.

Multi phonics is a technique for playing multiple notes at the same time. The instrument vibrates at two separate pitches alternatively due to a specific fingering combination, creating a warbling tone.

Overtones are created by fingering one note while changing the air stream to create an overtone of the fingered note. If a low B is fingered, for example, altering the air stream can produce a Bone octave higher.

“Voicing” is a term used to describe the process of altering the airflow to achieve various effects. Variating the placement of the tongue causes the same quantity of air to move through a more or less limited oral cavity, which is known as the voicing technique. The air stream speeds up or slows down as a result of this.

Proper voicing not only allows the player to play overtones/altissimo with ease, but also aids in the development of a clean, even, and concentrated sound throughout the performance.

Growling is a saxophone technique in which our sings, hums, or growls while playing with the back of your throat. This causes the sound to modulate, resulting in a gruffness or roughness in the sound. It is uncommon in classical and band music, but it is common in jazz, blues, rock and roll, and other popular genres.