Soprano Saxophone

The soprano saxophone is the smallest in that family of instruments and therefore has a higher range than the other saxes. It is only about 26 inches long and is usually manufactured as one straight, metal tube without any curves. Because of its shape the soprano is often mistaken for a gold clarinet. The tone of the soprano is much more like the tone of the other saxophones, though, and the fingerings are the same as those for the alto, tenor, and baritone.

The soprano is more difficult to play in some respects than the other saxes and therefore has not been used as extensively throughout history. The first musician to make the instrument famous was Sidney Bechet (1897-1959), one of the great players of early jazz. The soprano was virtually nonexistent in the swing and bebop eras, though, and was not given serious consideration again until John Coltrane (1926-1967) played it in the 1960s. In the last few decades instrument makers have improved the soprano, making it less difficult to play. As a result, many jazz and popular musicians have made it their instrument of choice.