How to Transpose Notes on an Alto Sax

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Transpose saxophone notes on an alto sax using the proper techniques and learn how from our expert sax player in this free sax video music lesson.

Part of the Video Series: How to Play Alto Saxophone
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Video Transcript

Today I am going to talk about how the alto saxophone is actually a transposing instrument. The instrument is actually built in the key of E flat, and what this means is when you play with the band and you are tuning up to a B flat contour, which is very typical, the alto saxophone actually needs to play the note G. When they go to play the B flat contoured scale, you’ll play a G major scale. The saxophone actually comes in several different sizes, the smaller saxophone is the soprano saxophone and that is almost in the shape of a clarinet and that’s in the key of D flat. Then moving to a larger instrument, there is a tenor saxophone, which is also in the key of D flat. Then we go to a berry sax, which is in the key of E flat and then there is also a bass sax, which is very, very large and the chances of you ever playing one or certainly even seeing one are rather slim. They are pretty rare may be because they are very, very expensive.

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