Document Type



Music, Theatre, and Dance


The purpose of this project is to uncover the reasons why the saxophone was not integrated into the orchestra. Through an examination of political, economic, and cultural accounts of Paris during the nineteenth century, this paper attempts to examine the effects on the saxophone’s reception. During the nineteenth century, French composers had a vehement fascination with timbre and the manipulation of its effects as a new aesthetic dimension in music; the perfect environment for an entirely new timbre to be added to ensembles, let alone introduced. The multitude of acclaim that the saxophone received from prominent composers, critics, and other noteworthy musical figures upon its arrival to the French capital does not add up with the ultimate dismissal it received by the orchestra as in institution. Therefore, because of the excessive amount of commendations—many that explicitly say the saxophone could be, or is destined to be the newest expressive tool in the symphony orchestra—the instrument’s timbre must not be the ultimate reason for its quick dismissal. This paper consults general historic events and individual accounts from music critics, musicians, composers, instrument makers, and military leaders in attempt to determine why the saxophone was not added to orchestral forces around the time it was invented.

Included in

Other Music Commons