The distinctly curved saxophone is one of the most widely used woodwind instruments in popular music. While the saxophone has been around since the nineteenth century, the instrument truly became prominent with the rise of the uniquely American music style of jazz. It is also widely used in marching bands.
The first saxophone was created in the 1840s by Belgian Adolphe Sax. Over time, extra keys were added and fingerings changed.
While the saxophone is made out of brass, it is classified as a woodwind instrument because it produces sound through a reed, instead of through the player's lips as with a trumpet.
There are many types of saxophones, from the foot-long “soprillo” to the gigantic subcontrabass. The most widely known type of saxophone, however, is the alto saxophone.
The saxophone first gained popularity in military marching bands. It is now best known as the main instrument in jazz ensembles. The saxophone is also popular in ska music.
Famous jazz saxophone players include Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Stan Getz.