ALTO SAXOPHONE KEYS
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There is no doubt that there are numerous keys on the alto saxophone. These keys are the objects that produce different notes from the sax when they are pressed. The lowest note is the B-flat note, and you go up two and a half octaves to the F note.
The notes above the top F are called the altissimo range notes, and they also have the keys that produce them. Just try to learn to play the normal range before attempting the altissimo range.
MAIN ALTO SAXOPHONE KEYS
Let us take a closer look at the alto saxophone keys, some levers, and the alto sax finger positions.
✅ OCTAVE KEYS
There are about 2-octave keys on a saxophone. One on the neck, and another at the body. These octave keys are controlled by the octave lever at the back of the saxophone. Pressing the octave lever only opens the neck octave key, while the G key opens the body octave key and closes the neck octave key.
✅ PALM KEYS
There are three palm keys, and they derived their name from the fact that you play them with the palm of your left hand. The one at the top is the high F key, the next one is the high E-flat key, and the third one is the high D key.
✅ HIGH F AUXILLIARY ROCKER
There is another key at the top which controls the high F key, and it is called the high F auxiliary rocker. This rocker is also controlled by the high F auxiliary lever which is not too far from the rocker.
✅ LEFT-HAND KEYS
These keys include the high C key, B key, B-flat key, A key, G key, G-and sharp key. The G-sharp key is controlled by a lever on the left hand. This lever is controlled by the pinky finger, and it also controls the C-sharp key, low B key, and low B-flat key.
✅ RIGHT-HAND KEYS
These are the three pearl keys you control with your right hand. They are the F, D, and E keys.
✅ BOTTOM KEYS
These two keys control the E-flat key and low C key.
WHAT ARE THE SAXOPHONE KEY NAMES
Watch this excellent video review for the Alto Saxophone Keys and Their Names
ALTO SAX FINGER POSITIONS
You need to understand the finger positioning of the alto saxophone keys. This is vital to playing in tune and would undoubtedly help your play.
ALTO SAX FINGER POSITIONS FINGERING CHART
- There is the top key called the octave key – the thumb rest is right below it. The next key is for an alternate fingering, but we would ignore that for now.
- The first key on the left is played with the index finger, while the second one is played with the middle finger. The last key is played with the ring finger. Below these three keys are the ‘cluster,’ and it contains four notes. These four notes are controlled by the pinky finger.
- The top side keys include the D, E-flat and F key. These keys are played with the right-hand palm, index finger, and ring finger respectively.
- There are about five keys at the bottom, and they are played with the right hand. The first one is played with the index finger, the second is played with the middle finger, and the third one is played with the ring finger. The two keys shaped like half-moon are pressed with the pinky finger.
- There are three bottom side keys, and they include E, C, and E-flat. These keys are all controlled by the index finger. However, there is also a side F-sharp key controlled by the ring finger.
If you are a beginner sax player making your first steps with your new sax, it is important to know your musical instrument and how to play it.
Although the sax manufacturers are different, the alto saxophone keys are usually all the same and they all have the same key names.
So, now that you have read the review and, you know your keys, it is time to start making some music…
Now that you are familiar with the keys and you also know the finger positions, you may also be interested in reading the following blog post on How To Play The Alto Saxophone
You can also read our very detailed and comprehensive post on all the Saxophone Types both new and old, you will get a better understanding of the sax family musical instruments and see which one suits your needs best.