What Is The Highest And Lowest Notes On A Saxophone? (Solved)

What Is The Highest And Lowest Notes On A Saxophone
Written by Corey Morgan

Highest And Lowest Notes On A Saxophone?

For all saxophones, including alto, tenor, and so on, the fingering chart is universally applicable due to the instruments’ shared range. The A B flat and F serves as the highest and lowest notes played on the saxophone, A B flat serving as the lowest with an F serving as the highest. The range above high F is called “Altissimo”, and it is accessible to musicians who have mastered the more familiar normal range.

Although there are minor variances among the various saxophones, in general, the range of a saxophone is from a low written Bb to an altissimo F#. However, the tonal range of each saxophone is unique. Let’s have a quick review of some of the pitch ranges for some specific types of saxes.

Pitch Range For Soprano Saxophones

Classical soprano saxophones with a high F# key are transposing instruments pitched in the key of B, having a range from A3 to E6. Some saxes can play an extra F and G at the very top of their range thanks to extra keys.

Typically, newer saxophones will have these additional keys. Also, the Altissimo register is available for even higher notes for guitarists with experience. In addition, there is a soprano tuned to C, although it is far less popular and has not been manufactured since the 1940s.

Pitch Range For Alto Saxophones

The alto saxophone’s range is from concert D3 (the D below middle C) to concert A5 (or A5 on altos with a high F key). As with most saxophones, B3 through F6 (or F-6) is the typical notated range.

The altissimo register begins above the note F and continues higher. In comparison to other woodwinds, the saxophone’s altissimo range is more challenging to manage, hence it is normally reserved for more experienced players.

Pitch Range For Baritone Saxophones

From concert D2 (sometimes C2) all the way up to concert A4. A great number of models come equipped with a key for writing a low A (instead of the more common low B) and/or a key for writing a high F.

Pitch Range For Bass Saxophone

Bass saxophones in the key of C were originally designed for use in orchestras, but modern instruments are in the key of B. As a result, their pitch is a perfect fourth below that of the baritone sax and an octave below that of the tenor sax.

This instrument’s range is comparable to that of the B contrabass clarinet. The music is written in treble clef, the same as it is for the other saxophones, however, the pitches actually sound two octaves and a major second lower than what is written.

The lowest written note on a soprano saxophone is a B flat below the staff, which produces the same pitch as a concert A flat in the first octave ( 51.9 Hz). This is the case for the vast majority of other saxophone family members as well.

The transposition of your individual saxophone in comparison to concert pitch is one of the aspects that causes some people to become confused.

This is how the note you play on a transposing instrument, such as a Bb or Eb saxophone, corresponds to the note played on an instrument that does not transpose, such as a guitar or piano (concert pitch).

Variants Of The Saxophone That Are Common And The Pitch Range It Covers

Saxophone in Bb Soprano Position

The soprano saxophone tuned to Bb is the saxophone with the highest possible pitch that is commonly used. The sound of the instrument is sometimes compared to that of the oboe because it is piercing and reedy.

In the lowest register of the soprano saxophone, as with the oboe, the instrument is difficult to control, and the lowest notes (marked D4 and below) can be rather disturbing to listen to.

This should not be a problem if the performer is an experienced player who has reached their full potential. Once you get above-written C6, the timbre starts to clearly drop-down, and intonation becomes more of a worry.

Eb Alto Saxophone

In terms of popularity, the alto saxophone in the key of Eb is the saxophone that gets the most use. The alto saxophone, because to its versatility, usually has the loudest voice among the band’s saxophone section.

The alto saxophone, like the soprano, has a reedy tone that can be difficult to control at the lowest register (marked D4 and below), but this is not an issue for advanced players. Above written D6, the timbre may narrow out, like with the soprano, and the intonation may become shaky.

Saxophone in Bb (Tenor)

The Bb tenor saxophone is the second most common instrument and can be found in settings ranging from the concert hall to the concert band. Despite its reedy, sturdy, and powerful timbre, it may yet manage to be both tender and emotive.

Notes below written D4 can be harsh, and notes above D6 can sound noticeably thin or out of tune, as is the case with most other saxophones. Writing for a professional audience eliminates the need to worry about this.

What Is The Lowest Sounding Saxophone?

The contrabass sax, which has a written note of Bb but produces a tone with a concert pitch of Db1, is often believed to have the lowest sounding tone. This is a major seventh and two octaves below than middle C.

The baritone sax is the saxophone that is believed to be the lowest of the common saxes. It produces a written Bb, but the note really resonates at a concert pitch of Db2, which is one octave lower and a major seventh below middle C.

Final thoughts on the highest and lowest notes on the saxophone

As you may have already seen, the lowest and highest note of the saxophone is the same for all saxophones; regardless of whether it’s an alto, tenor or bass saxophone.

Although the highest note on the saxophone is the F note, with the aid of extra keys, you can still play as u higher keys such as the G, and it is noteworthy to recall that the range above the F is called “Altissimo”.