F Alto Saxophone

F Alto Saxophone

F Alto Saxophone

Another rare, and sadly neglected saxophone, is the Alto Saxophone in F.  This too, like the C Soprano and C Tenor were intended to be part of an orchestral family of instruments.  The difference between the E-flat Alto and the F Alto is quite great.  The F Alto is a much softer and reedier instrument.  It is almost like a lower voiced Soprano.  In fact, the Conn Company, who produced the F Alto for a few years in the early 1930s, called the instrument the Mezzo-Soprano Saxophone (note the same as the modern Mezzo-Soprano in G).  Its bore is much narrower than that of the traditional E-flat Alto.  Its sound is able to blend in with other woodwinds (especially the double reeds) far easier than the larger E-flat can.

These instruments are rare, but not so rare as to prohibit an excited bandestrator.  The same company that is producing the new C Sopranos is looking into producing a new F Alto.  If their success with the C instruments is anything to go on, I look forward to a new F Alto!

A demonstration of an F Alto Saxophone (Note: after the performer posted the video, it was realized that this particular instrument had been oddly lengthened to make it an instrument in E, but you can get the idea of how much sweeter the F Alto is than the E-flat.)

Bach on the F Alto

The famous English Horn solo from Symphonie Fantastique played on an F Alto Saxophone.

4 thoughts on “F Alto Saxophone

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