Carby, Lucy (2021) An investigation into the development of the baritone saxophone and selected published solo works, from its invention to the 21st century. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The baritone has almost always been associated with ensemble performances, whether it be in jazz orchestras, wind orchestras or saxophone ensembles. However, there is solo repertoire written for it and performed – but why is this not heard of as much? My aim in this project is to look at the baritone from the beginning of its life and follow its journey to where it is in the modern day, whether it has always been perceived as an ensemble instrument or perhaps at one time took centre stage.

The thesis will be split into three sections:

The first will look at the instrument’s early life – from inventor Adolphe Sax’s patents and notes, and early method books written by musicians at the time. Looking at a range of sources I will be able to find out what the public’s perception of the saxophone was, how social and political factors affected it and the struggles that Sax endured to create the instrument and begin to teach it in the Paris Conservatoire.

The second section will move forward into the 1900s, briefly looking at jazz and how this influenced the baritone; the reopening of the saxophone class discussed in the first section and what new directions were occurring for the saxophone. Again, the focus will lie with the baritone and how these factors directly affected (or didn’t) its position in the classical music field, and whether this had an effect on solo repertoire written for it.

The third and final main section will follow a chronological continuation into the second half of the 1900s and beyond, where we see such events as the World Saxophone Congress beginning, new styles being adopted and performed, and an increase in accessibility to both the instrument as well as technological advances in terms of performances. I will look how the baritone has travelled through
the times, and whether its position and identity has changed throughout its lifetime and how this differs to what was intended for it originally.

As a part of this project, I have recorded some of the earliest pieces written for the baritone, as well as two more modern pieces so to discover the changes in compositional styles and approaches to the instrument.

FINAL THESIS - Carby.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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