Updated: Mar 8
Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax was a Belgian inventor and musician who created the saxophone in the early 1840s, patenting it in 1846. He also invented the saxotromba, saxhorn and saxtuba. He played the flute and clarinet.
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Adolphe Sax was born on November the 6th, 1814, in Dinant, which was a part of France at the time, but was then annexed by Netherlands and in 1830 later became the independent country of Belgium.
He was the oldest of 11 children in his family, and doubtless the luckiest of them since he faced many near-death experiences in his early years.
He was lucky to survive his childhood, during which he fell from a third-story window and hit his head on a stone, swallowed a pin, was burned during a gunpowder accident and burned again by a frypan , was poisoned 3 times by varnish fumes, hit on the top with a cobblestone, and nearly drowned during a river.
His father, Charles-Joseph Sax, was instrument designer who made pianos, harps, and wind and brass instruments.
Making musical instruments was in Sax’s blood so he became his father’s apprentice.
In 1828, he began his formal musical education at the Royal School of Music located in Brussels, where he studied the flute and clarinet.
When he was an adolescent he created whole new designs for the clarinet and for flutes and a couple of years later he invented a replacement clarinet model, referred to as the 24-key clarinet.
In the early 1840s, Sax moved to Paris, where he had his own workshop and made instruments like “saxhorns” and therefore the lesser-known 7-bell trombone.
He was very successful, and his creations began to gain acclaim from the general public . this is often about the time when he met Berlioz , an influential critic .
In 1842, he showed Berlioz an early version of the baritone saxophone, and Berlioz was so impressed by the instrument that he wrote a review on the saxophone in Journal des Debats, the foremost influential arts publication of the day in Paris.
Soon, Sax began to produce the saxophone in several sizes, and saxophone began to gain in popularity, especially among military bands.
Rival builders tried to sabotage his innovations and he was once accused of stealing the thought of the saxophone from the Germans.
He managed to prove that his invention was actually , an ingenious idea, and continued to realize recognition and awards for his inventions.
Sax received his patent in 1846 and won his trophy at the Paris Industrial Exposition in 1849.
In 1858, Sax was diagnosed with lip cancer, but he was successfully treated by an Afro-French herbalist.
Adolphe Sax died on February the 7th, 1894, at the age of 80.
Sax couldn't witness the best success of the saxophone; after it came to America, it evolved into an icon of yank music.
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His invention would revolutionize the planet of music during the 20th century, and start one among the foremost popular genres that have ever existed – jazz.
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