C Tenor Saxophone

C Tenor Saxophone

C Tenor Saxophone range

Of the family of C and F instruments that Adolph Sax originally envisioned, the C Tenor, commonly known as a C Melody, was by far the most popular.   It was highly popular throughout the 1920s and many instruments are still extant (with a few modern instruments now being produced).  Procurement is usually fairly easy, but mouthpieces are less common (B-flat Tenor mouthpieces do not work on the C Melody).  The same company (Aquilasax) that is producing modern C Sopranos is also producing a modern C Tenor.  These instruments are said to be very good.

In sound it is somewhat akin to the Alto (like the F Alto is akin to the B-flat Soprano).  The bore is narrower than that of the larger B-flat Tenor, and thus produces a lighter sound.  I find this sound will mix better with strings and double reeds than will the B-flat Tenor.

Piece for C Tenor and Harp

Sax-O-Trix by Rudy Wiedoeft

Liebesfreud by Kreisler


5 thoughts on “C Tenor Saxophone

  1. Pingback: Saxophones – Introduction | Bandestration

  2. Pingback: F Alto Saxophone | Bandestration

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  4. Chad Erickson

    Hi Brett, my name is Chad Erickson and I’m one of your subscribers on your YouTube channel. As a saxophonist I have been quite intrigued by the C tenor (melody) saxophone. I watched your video about the instrument, and I’ve contemplated getting one. My question to you is how I would go about obtaining mouthpieces that will work on C melody saxes? Thank you.

    1. It was very simple. I ordered a C Melody mouthpiece from Caravan. It works ok, but the instrument itself is woefully out of tune. A few other makers make them. I just went with Caravan as I have a much more traditional sound concept.

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