Types of Saxophones

The saxophone belonging to the woodwind family is a conical instrument made of brass and played with a reed mouthpiece, like the clarinet. It was patented as 14 instruments divided into two groups.

Saxophones vary in size from fifteen centimeters to two meters. Commonly available saxophones include the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone, the most popular being the alto saxophone.

The alto saxophone is medium sized, ideally suited for a beginner. It is curved with a smaller mouthpiece that does not allow much personalization of sound. The alto saxophone is the most popular among classical composers and performers. It sometimes comes in a straight model with a slightly tipped bell. The alto is in the key of E flat. True tone alto is also available.

Soprano saxophones come in straight or curved models. They are rather difficult to learn and therefore not advisable for beginners. Most of the new sopranos are straight or with a slight curve in the neck, bell or both. Curved sopranos were in vogue during the thirties. E-flat and B-flat soprano saxophones are available.

The tenor saxophone is larger than the alto saxophone, with a small bend in the neck. The mouthpiece, the rods and tone holes are larger. This saxophone is commonly used in jazz music. The tenor is in the key of B flat. It has some excellent applications in classical music. However, the shape and length of the neck may cause neck damage.

The baritone is the largest of saxophones. It is available with or without an extension attached to the end of the horn. If it has an extension, it is called a low A baritone. The baritone has severe intonation problems, especially in the highest and lowest registers. The latest model baritones have an extra key that allows the player to play a low A.

Other rare types of saxophones include the C Melody, F Mezzo soprano, C soprano, Bass, Conn-O-Sax and F baritone. B-flat tenor, E-flat baritone, B-flat bass and contrabass are also available.

Hip Hop is Not Dead

For years we have been hearing about hip hop is dead. Those who say this don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word death. Death is the complete and total end of life or a permanent cessation of all vital functions. By that very definition Hip Hop is not dead. Well what’s wrong with it? What has happened to it? Like any organism that gets exposed to a toxic substance it mutated into something that most of us who remember real Hip Hop will never recognize. Remember when rappers were called MC’s and would be rappers would gather and have rap battles all taking pride in their lyrical abilities?

Some of us are old enough to remember Rappers Delight, the first real commercial rap song. Those were the days a couple guys called the Sugar Hill Gang got together rapped over a sample of a song called Good times from Chic. Although it took some time a new Genre of music was born. Although that was the first commercial rap hit it was DJ Cool Herc that is given credit for starting HipHop music in the early 70’s. DJ Kool Herc is the originator of break-beat DJing, where the breaks of funk songs being the most danceable part, often featuring percussion were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. Hip Hop went through struggles during the early to late eighties but kept to its roots with rappers like Ice T, KRS 1, Grand Master Flash and RUN DMC. It was fun, authentic, original and it grew from the street. Remember LLC Kool J and Kool Mo Dee rap battles? In the late eighties group like NWA and the Ghetto boys started gangsta rap.

The nation was shocked at the harsh lyrics but gangsta rap became very popular because it spoke to the frustration that a lot of you urban men were feeling back then. So what happened? During the 1990’s hip hop experience great success. Dr. Dre kicked it off with The Chronic, there was Tu Pac, B.I.G and JayZ Capped it off after Tu PAC and B.I.G were killed. By that time it had become hopelessly corrupted. Like anything that is exposed to poison it will either die or mutate to survive. So no, Hip Hop is not dead but it has mutated into something that hip hop purest will never be able to recognize. One of the most popular rappers today is Drake. Can you really mention Drake in the same sentence is a B.I.G? Hip Hop went corporate and left its roots. So the business part of Hip Hop is alive and well but the genre has become something quite different. It can longer be classified as hip hop and it is no longer Urban Music. Most commercial hip hop today is consumed by middle class suburban kids not the inner city kids who started the genre.