Skip to Main Content

Performer Guides: Saxophone

Use this guide to find resources for music performance, including LC call number browsing ranges for repertoire, books, and journals..

Looking for Something Specific? Use Library Search!

Finding Repertoire:

If you're looking for new repertoire to perform, it is often helpful to browse the Music Library's scores. The following call number ranges are for saxophone music; individual works within these numbers are arranged alphabetically by composer or arranger:

  • M105-M109, Saxophone alone
  • M268-M269, Saxophone and piano
  • M1034 .S4, Saxophone with orchestra (full score)
  • M1035.S4, Saxophone with orchestra (piano reduction)
  • M1134.S4, Saxophone with string orchestra (full score)
  • M1134.S4, Saxophone with string orchestra (piano reduction)
  • M1205-M1206, Solo instrument with band

Excerpts, etudes, and instructional materials are classified in the MT range and housed in the same location as books about music (MLs):

  • MT500, General works
  • MT502, Systems and methods
  • MT505, Studies and exercises
  • MT506, Orchestral studies (excerpts)

Digital Score Apps:

The Wilson Music Library provides Blair students, faculty, and staff with free access to nkoda and Henle through our subscription. Follow the instructions below to start using these popular apps today.

Books on the Saxophone and Saxophonists:

The Saxophone

In the first fully comprehensive study of one of the world’s most iconic musical instruments, Stephen Cottrell examines the saxophone’s various social, historical, and cultural trajectories, and illustrates how and why this instrument, with its idiosyncratic shape and sound, became important for so many different music-makers around the world. After considering what led inventor Adolphe Sax to develop this new musical wind instrument, Cottrell explores changes in saxophone design since the 1840s before examining the instrument's role in a variety of contexts: in the military bands that contributed so much to the saxophone's global dissemination during the nineteenth century; as part of the rapid expansion of American popular music around the turn of the twentieth century; in classical and contemporary art music; in world and popular music; and, of course, in jazz, a musical style with which the saxophone has become closely identified.

The Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone

The Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone, first published in 1999, tells the story of the saxophone, its history and technical development from Adolphe Sax (who invented it c. 1840) to the end of the twentieth century. It includes extensive accounts of the instrument's history in jazz, rock and classical music as well as providing practical performance guides. Discussion of the repertoire and soloists from 1850 to the present day includes accessible descriptions of contemporary techniques and trends, and moves into the electronic age with midi wind instruments. There is a discussion of the function of the saxophone in the orchestra, in 'light music' and in rock and pop studios, as well as of the saxophone quartet as an important chamber music medium. The contributors to this volume are some of the finest performers and experts on the saxophone.

Basic Concepts and Strategies for the Developing Saxophonist

Intended for the upper-level high school student as well as undergraduate student, Basic Concepts and Strategies for the Developing Saxophonist provides fundamental topics as well as exercises with suggested approaches to help the saxophone student and performer better understand the "workings" of the saxophone. This book contains twenty-two topics with musical examples demonstrating concepts and strategies, as well as a final chapter of technical exercises at the end. "This new book belongs in every college music library and in the personal library of all serious saxophonists. It will be especially beneficial to those who teach the saxophone. I applaud Dr. Bongiorno's work in bringing these important concepts to his readers." -Dr. Steven Mauk, Retired Professor of Saxophone, Ithaca College

The Science and Art of Saxophone Teaching

Dr. Ray Smith is the saxophonists' saxophonist, the teachers' teacher. His 50+ years of saxophone playing and teaching have prepared him well to bring together perhaps the greatest breadth of practical saxophone information ever assembled under one book cover in The Science and Art of Saxophone Teaching. This book is valuable to saxophone teachers and serious saxophone students alike covering such topics as basic tone production (embouchure, oral cavity, breath support) and solving problems with tone, playing low notes, slurring down over intervals, solving reed issues, saxophone repair and adjustments, coordinating classical and jazz study and practice, warmup exercises and practice routines, articulation basics and articulation styles, development of technique and speed, choosing fingerings, solving vibrato issues, working on intonation problems, playing dynamics, rhythmic development, learning altissimo (may be worth the price of the book alone), phrasing musically, choosing good breathing places, working with ornamentation and cadenzas, dealing with differences between styles, becoming a multilingual musician, doubling other woodwind instruments and helpful information on clarinet, flute and double reeds, dealing with stage fright, and much more. This volume belongs in the library of every earnest saxophonist. There are also a series of video tutorials on a coordinated YouTube channel that bring all the concepts to life. 

Adrian Rollini: The Life and Music of a Jazz Rambler

Adrian Rollini (1903-1956), an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, played the bass saxophone, piano, vibraphone, and an array of other instruments. He even introduced some, such as the harmonica-like cuesnophone, called Goofus, never before wielded in jazz. Adrian Rollini: The Life and Music of a Jazz Rambler draws on oral history, countless vintage articles, and family archives to trace Rollini's life, from his family's arrival in the US to his development and career as a musician and to his retirement and death. A child prodigy, Rollini was playing the piano in public at the age of five. At sixteen in New York he was recording pianola rolls when his peers recognized his talent and asked him to play xylophone and piano in a new band, the California Ramblers. When he decided to play a relatively new instrument, the bass saxophone, the Ramblers made their mark on jazz forever. Rollini became the man who gave this instrument its place. Yet he did not limit himself to playing bass parts-he became the California Ramblers' major soloist and created the studio and public sound of the band. In 1927 Rollini led a new band that included such jazz greats as Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer. During the Depression years, he was back in New York playing with several bands including his own New California Ramblers. In the 1940s, Rollini purchased a property on Key Largo. He rarely performed again for the public but hosted rollicking jam sessions at his fishing lodge with some of the best nationally known and local players. After a car wreck and an unfortunate hospitalization, Rollini passed away at age fifty-three.

The Devil's Horn

In The Devil's Horn, Michael Segell traces the 160-year history of the saxophone-a horn that created a sound never before heard in nature, and that from the moment it debuted has aroused both positive and negative passions among all who hear it. The saxophone has insinuated itself into virtually every musical idiom that has come along since its birth as well as into music with traditions thousands of years old. But it has also been controversial, viewed as a symbol of decadence, immorality and lasciviousness:it was banned in Japan, saxophonists have been sent to Siberian lockdown by Communist officials, and a pope even indicted it.Segell outlines the saxophone's fascinating history while he highlights many of its legendary players, including Benny Carter, Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Branford Marsalis, and Michael Brecker. The Devil's Horn explores the saxophone's intersections with social movement and change, the innovative acoustical science behind the instrument, its struggles in the world of "legit" music, and the mystical properties that seduce all who fall under its influence. Colorful, evocative, and richly informed, The Devil's Horn is an ingenious portrait of one of the most popular instruments in the world.

Celebrating the Saxophone

"Who can resist the call of the saxophone? This expressive instrument is at the very heart of 20th-century music. Celebrating the Saxophone is a colorful and affectionate look at its richly diverse history. Paul Lindemeyer follows its progress from the 1840s Paris workshop of Adolphe Sax, through years of obscurity in band music, to its eventual fame in 1920s America, to the election of a sax-playing President." "The saxophone is best known as the symbol - and musical standard-bearer - of jazz. Celebrating the Saxophone illustrates its role in the music from early times - when Sidney Bechet became the pioneer jazz saxman - to the present, when artists like Branford Marsalis have won unparalleled public acceptance. The saxophone's development as the creative jazz voice is traced in profiles of its great innovators - among them Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. Yet jazz is only part of the story. Classical saxophonists have been gaining long-overdue acceptance. And the horn has played many roles in popular music - from the ragtime virtuosity of Rudy Wiedoeft, to the big band era, to the ever-popular David Sanborn."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond

Biography of jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond. Large format with 190 photographs.