The instrumental design of the saxophone has evolved dramatically from its original patent in 1846. Referencing instruments from the St. Cecilia’s Hall Music Museum at the University of Edinburgh, this article explores the historical origins of the saxophone and traces the evolution of its design into the 20th century. Original research was completed through analysis of unique antique saxophones at St. Cecilia’s Hall and historical source materials in order to determine how, despite its intention to be used as a classical instrument, many factors such as politics, instrument structure, finances, and musician attitude at the time of the saxophone’s invention resulted in limited classical saxophone performance in the modern day. This article addresses the importance of exploring the early history of instruments as an aspect of contemporary musical study.

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