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Fingering Scheme for Saxophone

The fingering scheme below describes the text and key images used to represent fingerings in the fingering charts.

 

All Keys Pressed and All Holes Covered

Soprano/Alto/Tenor/Baritone/Bass Saxophone

T Eb D Ff1Bb23G# C# B Bb|E C Bb1f#2F#3Eb C

Left Thumb Keys

T Octave Key
The octave key is the only thumb key found on most saxophones.  It is used as a vent for most second and third octave notes and for almost every altissimo fingering.

Left Hand Main Keys

1 First Finger Key (B)

2 Second Finger Key (A/C)

3 Third Finger Key (G)

f Front F Key
The Front F key is the topmost left hand key and is pressed by the first finger.  It was designed to provide an altissimo fingering for F6 as an alternate to using the palm keys.  The key is used for various other altissimo fingerings as well.

Bb Bb (Bis) Key
The Bb key is pressed by the first finger to play first– or second–octave Bb in passages without B–naturals.  It is located between the main keys for the first and second fingers.

Left Hand Palm Keys

D D Palm Key
The D palm key is used for playing third–octave D, Eb, E, F, and F# and for trilling to second– or third–octave D.  It is the outermost key in the group of three palm keys and is operated by the knuckle of the first finger.

Eb Eb Palm Key
The Eb palm key is used for playing third–octave Eb, E, F, and F#.  It is the topmost key in the group of three palm keys and is operated by the first joint of the first finger.

F F Palm Key
The F palm key is used for playing third–octave F and F#.  It is the lower key in the group of three palm keys and is operated by the first joint of the second finger.

Left Hand Little Finger (Pinky) Keys

G# G# Key
The G# key is the topmost key in the little finger key group and is used primarily for playing first– and second–octave G#.

C# Low C# Key
The low C# key is the outer key in the little finger key group and is used primarily for playing low C#.

B Low B Key
The low B key is the inner key in the little finger key group and is used primarily for playing low B.

Bb Low Bb Key
The low Bb key is the bottommost key in the little finger key group and is used primarily for playing low Bb.

Right Hand Main Keys

1 First Finger Key (F)

2 Second Finger Key (E)

3 Third Finger Key (D)

F# Alternate F# key
The F# key raises first– and second–octave F by a semitone as an alternative to using the right hand middle finger for the corresponding F#.

Right Hand Side Keys

E E Side Key
The E side key is the upper side key and is used to play third–octave E, F, and F# as well as to trill second– and third–octave C# to D#.

C C Side Key
The C side key is the middle side key and is used as an alternate and trill fingering for first– and second–octave C.

Bb Bb ("Bis") Side Key
The side Bb key is the lower side key and is used for the basic and trill fingering for first– and second–octave Bb.

f# High F# Key
The high F# key is a fourth side key on newer models and is used primarily as a third–octave palm–key fingering for the lower altissimo F#.

Right Hand Little Finger (Pinky) Keys

Eb Low Eb Key
The low Eb key is the upper right hand little finger key and is used for playing first– and second–octave Eb and acts as a vent in many altissimo fingerings.

C Low C Key
The low C key is the lower right hand little finger key and is used primarily for playing low C.

Baritone Saxophone Keys

A Low A Key
Baritone saxophones often have a second left thumb key to extend the range down to A.

Main Holes and Other Symbols

| : Separates left hand keys and holes from right hand keys and holes.

 

Trilled Keys

Keys to be trilled are indicated in red boldface text and by red key images (e.g., ).

For a fingering involving more than one trilled key, the trilled keys are to be trilled simultaneously unless specified as alternating in the fingering description. Alternating trill keys are also indicated by a combination of red boldface text and red boldface italic text.

 

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Eb Alto Saxophone

Left Hand

Left Hand Saxophone Keys

Right Hand

Right Hand Saxophone Keys


Images courtesy of Leblanc.

 

 

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by Timothy Reichard
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