: Why are saxophones not commonly included in orchestras?


: Why are saxophones not commonly included in orchestras?

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It’s too new, being invented in the 1840s. The classical period was from 1750 and 1820. So must of the orchestral music people commonly listen to predates the saxophone.

Saxophones didn’t exist at the time when a lot of orchestral music was written. They were first invented in 1846 and, despite their resemblance to classic orchestral instruments, have been most closely associated with popular forms of music like marches and jazz. Classical composers paid as much attention to them as they would to steel guitars or drum kits.

Saxophones were invented long after most of the classical musical pieces had already been written. And even after saxophones were invented it took a few decades for it to take off so most music was not written for saxophones. The popularity of saxophone coincided with the introduction of jazz music.

But you may still see some orchestras incorporate saxophones into them. Either playing more modern music or rewriting some of the classical music to fit the saxophone. Most commonly the saxophone would replace the clarinet. Both instruments sound almost the same and the clarinet became popular around the time of Mozart and was standard in orchestras by the time Beethoven wrote most of his music. So a saxophone player can easily fit into an orchestra and play the clarinet parts. And this is not too uncommon for teaching orchestras as the saxophone is usually easier to learn then the clarinet.

TLDR: The saxophone is a relatively new instrument invented in the 1840’s and therefore most well known classical music pre-dates it.

The saxophone was one of a number of Brass instruments invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax in the 1840s and at the time it was not well received by the industry because Sax refused to use the pre-fab components that dominated the brass instrument industry at the time.

This turned it into a niche instrument (like a small brand synthesizer today) so it ended up being used in *modern* music vs classic music.

The Saxophone was picked up by military bands of all things, and would later become a staple of Jazz music in the US.

But the simple fact is that the saxophone is a relatively new instrument that wasn’t around when most well known pieces of classical music were being written in the 17th and 18th centuries.

So the saxophone isn’t in an orchestra for the same reason that Electric Guitars, Electric Bass, Synths, and Drum kits aren’t.