The saxonette is a variant of the clarinet but is not really considered to be a member of the clarinet family.
It is a cross between a clarinet and a saxophone. It has more in common with
the clarinet than the saxophone. In the book "A Pictorial History of Jazz" by Keepnews and Grauer
the Saxonette is referred to as "the French clarinet". The instrument on the picture to the right is a Gretsch
saxonette made in France. Picture curtesy Scott A Miller. The length of the
two assembled center sections (the pieces that would be comparable to a standard
straight clarinet with mouthpiece and bell removed) is 41.43 cm. The saxonette
is pitched in C and has the Albert key system with the same range as the C clarinet.We
beleive that the instrument was created in France in the 1930's. More information
here would be appreciated.
The Internet doesn't
tell you much about this instrument or why it was constructed, so if any of you know anything please send
me an email.
Here are a few more pictures with curtesy of Pete:
These pictures shows a close-up of a saxonette with an inscription
that says "Gretch Saxonette". Many thanks to Mark for the pictures.
Back to the clarinet family
This page was updated 2004-06-08
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