The soprano saxophone, it’s spelt so similarly to the sopranino, that you could easily mistake the words when you look at them. In the same respect they also look very similar but, they’re not! Invented in 1840, the Soprano Sax is really the third smallest in size as a member of the Saxophone Family.
Pitched in the key of B-flat, this saxophone plays an octave above the tenor and is a very well-known member of the family. This is more recently due to their prominent use in recordings. Does Kenny G ring a bell? Well that’s his #1 instrument of choice.
These instruments are sometimes tuned in C, however they are not common and have not been made since around 1940.
Most often designed as a straight tube, the soprano really resembles a brass clarinet. The main difference being that will produce a louder and more penetrating sound at the higher end of the scale. The instrument sometimes has a slightly curved neck. Some manufacturers include two necks with the Saxophone or fully curved neck and bell, with the fully curved model resembling a baby alto saxophone, except with a straighter crook.
This Sax is often compared to the clarinet, but as you can see it is quite different from a Clarinet. It is however sometimes utilised as a replacement for the oboe, because of its similarity in tones. It has all the same keys that exist on other saxophones excluding generally the ‘Low A’ that some baritones have.
For beginners, the soprano will not necessarily be the best instrument to learn on, with a smaller reed and mouthpiece setup than the Alto, it becomes much more difficult to produce a good quality sound. For more advanced players, it can definitely be recommended for its fun and popularity in several styles of music such as jazz, rock and pop music. A very well known Soprano Saxophonist Kenny G has a spectacular command of the instrument. Many Sax Players would consider it to be one of the most difficult members of the saxophone family to learn and master.