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What do the keys do on a saxophone

Ok, so next would be to understand what each of the buttons on the saxophone do. Your comprehension of this section does depend a little on some basic understanding of music. Without a general knoledge of the notes of the Western European music scale, this may not make much sense. For those of you reading this with little music theory, there is a way to describe saxophone fingering in a simple manner.

Think of the saxophone as a long tube. Just because it bends and has lots of keys on it, doesn’t change the fact that it is a long tube. As with anything that you blow into, the longer the tube, the lower the note. So, if you close the top holes using the keys on the sax, you will get lower notes. Also, if you push the bottom keys down before the top ones, you will not get much of a difference cause you haven’t really made the tube any longer. So, start by closing the holes from the top down, and as you progress, making the tube longer, you will make the sound lower and lower. This is the simple way of thinking of the fingering differences on the saxophone.

Unfortunately, this will not get you very far as there are many complicated keys and such that need to be pushed in different sequences in order to make the correct pitches that correspond with different notes in musical scales. Below you will find two images of the top and bottom stack of the saxophone. I have used an alto saxophone as an example, but it is the same for all saxophones except for a few differences. Baritone saxophones sometimes have a low A key. Most of the horns now come with high F# keys and some even now have high G keys. My alto only has the high F# but if it did have the high G, it would be next to it.

Lower Octave of the Saxophone

Second Octave of the Saxophone

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