For music class, I have to write 3 compositions. I've done two already, both were major scale and with guitar as the lead instrument. My teacher told me to do something different, so I decided to write a blues piece for Sax. A friend of mine plays the Alto sax really well, and is willing to record it for me.

In my composition I've got a guitar playing an A minor riff, with the Sax soloing on top.

The thing is, I'm halfway through my composition, when I suddenly realised that the Saxophone is a transposing instrument. After looking it up on Wikipedia, I'm really confused. I'm writing it all down with PowerTab, which also shows standard notation in the treble clef, but now I'm afraid that what I've written will not sound in the intended key.

I think some notes are out of the Alto's range. I'm really confused with the transposition. I'm thinking of using the Clarinet instead....

Can anyone help me with this?

Thanks to everyone in advance
Download Finale Notepad from finalemusic.com. It's an actual notation program (not the full Finale, but it should get you by) and it automatically transposes the instruments.

Concert pitch C = Eb on alto sax
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Do you play the sax?

Could you just tell me:

What are the HIGHEST and LOWEST notes on the sax, in terms of guitar frets?

ok, that makes no sense.

Let's say if you were to play the lowest/highest note in an Alto saxophone's range on guitar, which string/fret would it be at?
just play the blues minor pent scale over over a minor ,it should work in my opinion!,theroy should aply right?
Quote by gblues rocker
just play the blues minor pent scale over over a minor ,it should work in my opinion!,theroy should aply right?

'Tis what I'm doing. A minor pentatonics. Nothing special, really. But I'm afraid some notes are out of the range...
You should ask your friend what the highest and lowest notes he can play are, because range on wind intruments can be subject to the player. For example, I can only just get up to a high C on soprano sax, when the actual range goes higher.
Quote by Liberation
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The Alto Saxophone is in the key of Eb. Therefore, when an alto sax plays what the player knows as C, they are actually playing the pitch of Eb. So, as a summary here is what all the notes of the sax are in concert pitch (what the guitar plays in):

Concert Pitch           Alto Saxophone notes
A                                       F#/Gb                            
A#/Bb                               G
B                                       G#/Ab
C                                       A
C#/Db                               A#/Bb
D                                       B
D#/Eb                               C
E                                       C#/Db
F                                        D
F#/Gb                                D#/Eb
G                                       E
G#/Ab                               F 

(Sorry for the notes being all over the place in that code thing^^)

As for the clarinet, it is in the key of Bb. That means that that when a clarinet plays the note C, what you are actually hearing is the note Bb. Like what i done above, i'm sure you can work out chromatically what each note on the clarinet responds to.

As for the range, i play the clarinet and i played the alto sax for a while but not anymore, so i can't remember so much about it's range. But the clarinet's lowest note is the same as a detuned D on a guitar (drop D tuning -> the clarinet can play that low D). As for the highest: the highest note i can play on a clarinet is F -> thats 13th fret of your high E string.

As for the alto sax, its lowest note is C#/Db on your guitar. So i think it can play as low as drop C# tuning on your guitar. I am not too sure on what it's highest note is though, but it should be near the highest note on a clarinet.

hope that helped you.


Last edited by Morgy at Feb 15, 2007,

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Last edited by sashki at Feb 15, 2007,