Other saxophones & accessories reviews
This part of the review section is for the
more obscure members of the saxophone family, such as the C Melody
- and for related gadgets & accessories.
C Melody, as its name suggests, is pitched in C. Given that the
rest of the family is pitched in Bb or Eb it appears that the C
stands quite alone and apart - and yet when saxes were first built
they were available in F and C as well as Bb and Eb. Rumour has
it that there are even rarer examples in other keys, though I have
yet to see such beasts.
It sounds as though a sax in C ought to have been a winner - and
for a brief period in the early 20th century it was. Altos and tenors
are pitched in Eb and Bb respectively, which means that players
read music which is correspondingly shifted in pitch (transposed)
so that the notes they play match the pitch of the notes all the
other instruments are playing. If pre-transposed music isn't available,
the player has to transpose it themselves - either by laboriously
writing it out or by doing so as they're reading the music (sight
transposition). The former is a hassle, the latter is a formidable
The whole idea of the C Melody was to provide a sax that would
enable the player to read straight off piano parts without having
to struggle with transposition...and as television was yet to become
the opium of the masses, many people entertained themselves and
their family of an evening by bashing out a few tunes on the piano,
with perhaps friends or other members of the family providing accompaniment
on other instruments.
Thus the C melody was intended to fit right into this homely little
Unfortunately that's about all it did do and when radio, and later
television, became widespread the 'parlour concert' became a thing
of the past...and so did the C Melody. But that wasn't the sole
reason for its demise - it has a strange tone, one that's neither
like the alto or the tenor...and many players say that rather than
combining the best of its two brothers (the sonority of the tenor's
low notes and the punch of the alto's top notes), it combines the
worst - which means you get a nasal low end and a stuffy top end.
As for accessories, there's virtually no limit to what you can
stick on a saxophone to better 'improve' or enhance your experience.
A great many of these things are cheap and cheerful, but a few can
cost a considerable sum of money - so it's always worth having an
independent assessment of their capabilities.
To read a review, please select a link from the menu on your left....