Adolphe Sax
Adolphe Sax

The life story of Adolphe Sax.

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Introduction to Adolphe Sax, the music maker.

Adolphe Sax, was native of Belgium and France. The Music maker was born in1814,  he was the maker of many music instruments. Adolphe Sax also originated saxophone, flute, saxotromba, sax horn, saxtuba etc . He was born in Belgium but been throughout his professional life in Paris. Adolphe Sax’ became interested in music in a very early age as his parents were musicians and designers of music instruments. At the age of just 15, he exhibited his flutes and a clarinet at a competition.

He also learned about the instruments used in music at the royal conservatory of Brussels. Then he shifted to Paris for learning more about the music and becoming a music designer. Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone. Still, it is a greatest invention of the music industry. Somehow, the legality of his patents were prob by his competitors. He was bankrupt twice because he was sued by his competitors most of the time regarding the patents.

Adolphe Sax is a name of history. His work is like a mile stone for the music diligence. However, his invention was over when he passed away. Jazz musicians again highlighted the saxophone in there music. Adolphe Sax made many headlines in the news when he was a musician. His biography is filled with many stories and rich source of music politics and music information. Nineteenth century in the life of Sax is enrich of controversies and theatrical reverse of luck. About the life of Adolphe Sax an observer commented “rises to the heights of a social event”.


Adolph sax’s early life:

Adolph sax was born in Dinant, it was first the part of France and was later occupied by Netherland. Dinant was famous for specific kind of yellow copper that lies, in a French speaking area which later became independent country of Belgium in 1830. He was the oldest of his 11 siblings, he was blessed enough to stay alive in his early years he was almost given up for death. He swallowed a pin, was scorched in a gunpowder mishap ,was again scorched by a pan, was hit by a cobblestone on his head, was sunk in a river, he was also poisoned thrice by varnish liquid. Sax took his father, Charles Joseph Sax’s profession as a cabinetmaker. Once he got a order for making musical instruments for dutch army and they were unbelievably, good at it.

Adolphe Sax’s early learnings:

Adolphe Sax started working as a learner and started his education in music side. Studying music, singing and flute was his passion. In no time, Sax was famous for his finest work in Paris hence, the roles of father and son was reset. His father ran into financial crisis in Belgium so he asked his father to join him as a production manager. Adolphe Sax at the age of 16 started making finest pieces of existing instruments and also started inventing new instruments. Later in his 20’s he displayed a 24-key clarinet. His new clarinet earned the attention of the conductor of opera orchestra Francois Antoine Habeneck, he was going by Brussels.

Adolphe Sax’s Migration to Paris:

according to him Belgium was too small for his dreams to come true. In 1840, a competition at Belgium he displayed nine of his creations including a piano tuning process, a sound reproducing screen and an organ. He was awarded a vermeil because the judge thought he was too young for a gold medal. Sax wanted to design a saxophone with the help of Fromental Halévy , a French Opera composer. So, he visited the capital of musical life, Paris. At that time he had only 30 francs with him.

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Sax lived in a shed

When he came to Paris he had no money. Hence, he was enforced to start living in a shed. Sax use to take money from people for establishing himself. But he was lucky enough to get attention of  Hector Beriloz introduced by Halevy.

Exhibition of saxophone:

Hector Beriloz, was a controversial composer and also a music critic. It was 1842 when Adolphe Saz displayed an early version of saxophone to Beriloz. Saxophone was a unique instrument; it had influence of brass instrument. The early saxophone was played with a reed. Beriloz gave Saz a date for meeting, he was very nervous and sleepless when he picked up a magazine Journal des Débats, it was a famous art publication of Paris. Berlioz said “He [Sax] is a calculator, an acoustician, and when required, a smelter, a turner and, if need be, at the same time an embosser. He can think and act. He invents, and he accomplishes.”


The gentle art of making enemies:

Beriloz kept praising the saxophone and soon Sax started making the instrument in seven different sizes. Soon the composers started writing the pieces for the groeing opera orchestras. And then problems started for Adolphe Sax. It was said that “had exceptional gifts for the gentle art of making enemies.” Instrumentalists denied to play sax and damage his inventions. And once when Sax displayed the saxophone at  Paris Industrial Exhibition, he was contended with allegations from German band leader, Wieprecht. They claimed that some German Inventors had already invented the instrument hence they backed up by ordering saxophones, they buffed his name on the saxophone and send them back to the France.

Adolphe Sax defended his creation wholeheartedly. Wieprescht was rigid that the german musicians already knew about saxophone. The german musicians were poor at playing the sax hence Wieprescht became a new backer of the instrument. He waited an year to see if anyone else can produce an original saxophone.

Adolphe Sax Received the Patent:

He received his patent in 1846 and also won a gold medal in 1849 at the Paris Industrial Exposition. But still his lawsuits plague him for many years. Sax’s workshop sold 20,000 pieces of the saxophone but still he he was bankrupted thrice in 1852, 1873 and 1877 just because he was a bad money manager. Before being bankrupted again, he was saved by his devotee, Emperor Napoleon III.

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Adolphe Sax’s Achievement :

In 1858 Sax was suffering from lip cancer but he was later cured by a French herbalist. He hasd five children from a Spanish lady to whom he never married. Adolphe Sax’s son  joined his workshop . It was then merged in Selmer company, it still exists. Sax never knew that saxophone will grow into a sign of American music, played heartily by musicians going from schoolchildren up to Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States.



  1. He also learned about the instruments used in music at the royal conservatory of Brussels. [13] The Turkic people also had an oud-like fretless instrument called the komuz, which was used in

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