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21/01/2019 Adolphe Sax - Wikipedia

Adolphe Sax
Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃twan.ʒozɛf adɔlf saks]; 6 November 1814 – 7 February 1894)[1]
Adolphe Sax
was a Belgian inventor and musician who invented the saxophone in the early 1840s (patented in 1846). He played the flute
and clarinet. He also invented the saxotromba, saxhorn and saxtuba.

Early life
Honors and awards
External links

Early life
Antoine-Joseph Sax was born on 6 November 1814, in Dinant, in what is now Belgium, to Charles-Joseph Sax and his wife.
While his given name was Antoine-Joseph, he was referred to as Adolphe from childhood.[2][3] His father and mother were
instrument designers themselves, who made several changes to the design of the French horn. Adolphe began to make his
own instruments at an early age, entering two of his flutes and a clarinet into a competition at the age of 15. He Adolphe Sax
subsequently studied performance on those two instruments as well as voice at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.[2][3]
Born Antoine-Joseph Sax
Sax faced many near-death experiences. Over the course of his childhood, he: 6 November 1814
Dinant, Sovereign
fell from a height of three floors, hit his head on a stone and could barely stand afterwards, Principality of the United
at the age of three, drank a bowl full of vitriolized water and later swallowed a pin, Netherlands
burnt himself seriously in a gunpowder explosion,
(now in Belgium)
fell onto a hot cast iron frying pan, burning his side,
survived poisoning and suffocation in his own bedroom where varnished items were kept during the night, Died 7 February 1894
was hit on the head by a cobblestone, and (aged 79)
fell into a river and barely survived. Paris, French Third
His mother once said that "he's a child condemned to misfortune; he won't live." His neighbors called him "little Sax, the Republic
ghost".[4][5] Burial Montmartre Cemetery
place (Cimetière de
Career Montmartre), Paris
After leaving the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Sax began to experiment with new instrument designs, while his parents 48°53′16″N 2°19′49″E
continued to make conventional instruments to bring in money. Adolphe's first important invention was an improvement of
Nationality Belgian
the bass clarinet design, which he patented at the age of 24.[6] Sax relocated permanently to Paris in 1842 and began
working on a new set of instruments. Hector Berlioz was so enamoured of them that he arranged in February 1844 for one Occupation Inventor, musician,
of his pieces to be played entirely on Sax's new instruments.[7] These were valved bugles, and although he had not invented musical instrument
the instrument itself, his examples were much more successful than those of his rivals and became known as saxhorns. They designer
came in seven different sizes, and paved the way for the creation of the flugelhorn. Today, saxhorns are sometimes used in Known for Inventor of the
concert bands, marching bands and, orchestras. The saxhorn also laid the groundwork for the modern euphonium.[8] saxophone

Sax also developed the saxotromba family, valved brass instruments with narrower bore than the saxhorns, in 1845, though they
survived only briefly.[2]

The use of saxhorns spread rapidly. The saxhorn valves were accepted as state-of-the-art in their time and remain largely unchanged
today. The advances made by Adolphe Sax were soon followed by the British brass band movement which exclusively adopted the
saxhorn family of instruments.[9] The Jedforest Instrumental Band formed in 1854 and The Hawick Saxhorn Band formed in 1855,
within the Scottish Borders, a decade after saxhorn models became available.

The period around 1840 saw Sax inventing the clarinette-bourdon, an early unsuccessful design of contrabass clarinet. Around this time
he also developed the instrument for which he is best known: the saxophone which he patented on 28 June 1846. The saxophone was
invented for use in both orchestras and military bands. By 1846 Sax had designed (on paper at least) a full range of saxophones (from
sopranino to subcontrabass). Composer Hector Berlioz wrote approvingly of the new instrument in 1842, but despite his support,
saxophones never became standard orchestral instruments. However, their ability to play technical passages easily like woodwinds and
also project loudly like brass instruments led them to be included in military bands in France and elsewhere. The saxophone was Sax's
signature accomplishment and created his reputation more than any other. This helped secure him a job teaching at the Paris
Conservatory in 1857.[10]

Sax continued to make instruments later in life and presided over the new saxophone program at the Paris Conservatory. Rival Saxophone produced by
instrument makers both attacked the legitimacy of his patents and were sued by Sax for patent infringement. The legal back-and-forth Sax
continued for over 20 years. He was driven into bankruptcy three times: in 1852, 1873, and 1877.[4]

Sax suffered from lip cancer between 1853 and 1858 but made a full recovery. In 1894 Sax died in complete poverty[11] in Paris and was interred in section 5 (Avenue de
Montebello) at the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris. 1/2
21/01/2019 Adolphe Sax - Wikipedia
Other invented instruments

Saxotromba Saxhorn Saxtuba 6-piston Trombone A bass saxhorn, 1863

Honors and awards

In his birthplace Dinant in Belgium the Mr Sax's House is dedicated to his life and saxophones.

1849: Awarded the Chevalier rank of the Legion of Honour.[12]

1867: 1e Grand Prix de la Facture Instrumentale at the 1867 Paris International Exposition[12]
2015: Google Doodle commemorated his 201st birthday.[13]

1. Many sources give alternative dates for Sax's death, mainly 3 and 7 February. 7. Cottrell 2013, p. 18.
A sign at Sax's grave in Montmartre says 7 February, for example. However, 4 8. Boyd, Clark (3 December 2013). "Meet the 'dangerous Belgian' who invented
February appears in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th ed., the sax" (
Nicolas Slonimsky); and in both the first and second editions of the New Grove nvented-sax). The World. Public Radio International. Retrieved 3 February
Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2018.
2. Hubbard, W. L. (1910). The American History and Encyclopedia of Music (http 9. T. Herbert, The British Brass Band: a Musical and Social History (Oxford:
s:// Toledo, Ohio: Squire Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 4–5.
Cooley. p. 454. ISBN 1-4179-0200-0. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
10. Fred L. Hemke, The Early History of the Saxophone, (Doctor of Musical Arts
3. Richard Ingham (1998). The Cambridge companion to the saxophone. (DMA) dissertation), University of Wisconsin, 1975, 249–250. OCLC 19033726
Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–2. (, 65652818 (
ISBN 978-0-521-59666-4. oclc/65652818), 164782566 (
4. Cleary, Tom. "Adolphe Sax: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know ( 11. "Adolphe Sax Obituary" (
ews/2015/11/adolphe-sax-google-doodle-201st-birthday-photos-saxophone-inv ax_obituary/). New-York Tribune. 10 February 1894. p. 12. Retrieved
entor-bio-history-almost-died-near-death-wine-facts-age-death-family-sons/)", 6 November 2015 – via, Retrieved 06 November 2015
12. Cottrell 2013, p. 33.
5. Rémy, Albert. "Adolphe Sax (".
13. Adolphe Sax’s 201st Birthday (
Ville de Dinant website, Retrieved 06 November 2015.
6. Cottrell 2013, pp. 12–13.

Haine, Malou, ed. (1980), Adolphe Sax, Bruxelles University
Thiollet, Jean-Pierre (2004), Sax, Mule & Co, Paris: H & D, ISBN 2-914266-03-0
Horwood, Wally (ed.), Adolphe Sax 1814–1894 — His Life and Legacy, Egon Publishers Ltd., ISBN 0 905858 18 2
Ingham, Richard, ed. (1998), The Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521596664
Cottrell, Stephen (2013). The Saxophone ( Yale University Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780300190953.
Retrieved 8 November 2015.

External links
Pictures of saxophones made by Adolphe and Adolphe Edouard Sax (
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sax, Antoine Joseph" (,_Antoine_Joseph). Encyclopædia
Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Adolphe Sax ( at Find a Grave

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This page was last edited on 18 January 2019, at 01:34 (UTC).

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