A saxophone is a musical instrument that belongs in the woodwind category. It is one of the youngest musical instruments, having been invented in the 1840s by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian. Saxophones were earlier used in the military and in big orchestras but are now found in smaller bands as well. They are generally used for big band music, pop music, concerts, marching bands and jazz music. There are four commonly used kinds of saxophones: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone saxophones.
The alto saxophone is the most common saxophone in use. It is a basic model, and is generally preferred for beginners because of its comfortable shape and size. The alto is of medium size. It is shaped like a “J” bent backwards. Some alto saxophones are also straight in shape with a slightly tipped bell. The alto is usually preferred for classical compositions from composers like Ibert, Glazunov and Debussy.
The alto, like all other saxophones, is a transposing instrument. It is in the key of E-Flat. It is slightly longer than the soprano, and also lower sounding. Hence, it is a preferred solo jazz instrument.
The main parts in an alto saxophone are: the mouth-piece, including the ligature and the reed; the main tube that has tone holes and keys; a series of rods that connect the keys to the tone holes; the pads that securely cover the tone holes and, most importantly, the bell.
The local music store, mail-order service, a private party or the Internet are different places where one can buy alto saxophone. The main aspects to be considered are the quality, service, price and the model. The Internet is a good source to find information about alto saxophones, but it is wise to test a few of them before buying.