The C melody was part of the series of saxophones pitched in C and F intended by the instrument's inventor, Adolphe Sax, for orchestral use. Since 1930, only saxophones in the key of B♭ and E♭ (originally intended by Sax for use in military bands and wind ensembles) have been produced on a large scale.

Further down is says this:

However, it is important to note that production ended for purely financial reasons, and not because of any inherent flaw in the design or poor manufacturing standards

-Wikipedia article on the C Melody sax

Why was the C melody never produced after this and E♭ and B♭ produced?

  • Hi Jacob, This question seems to be more about transposing instruments than it is about the C melody sax specifically. Have you seen this question? music.stackexchange.com/questions/7225/… It goes into this topic in detail. Let me know if that's what you were looking for, and I'll close this as a duplicate.
    – NReilingh
    Jul 28, 2015 at 0:36
  • @NReilingh Not completely, I'd like to see if I get different answers before closing. Jul 28, 2015 at 1:13

1 Answer 1


The C and F saxophones were designed for inclusion in symphonic orchestras (where most instruments are in C), while the B♭ and E♭ saxophones were aimed at military bands and wind bands (where most instruments are in B♭).

While the saxophone was quickly adopted by military and wind bands, it didn’t really found its place in orchestras. By consequence, more B♭/E♭ saxophones were produced, which in turn likely brought their price down and increased their sales. C/F saxophones, on the other hand, had less demand and consequently were more costly to produce. It came to a point where producing C/F saxophones at a large scale was not profitable,

  • How do you make those nice flat signs, @Édouard? Jul 28, 2015 at 2:45
  • 1
    @aparente001 I use the UTF-8 character for flat sign, which I access through tools provided by OS X.
    – Édouard
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:49
  • On the bright side (maybe :-) ) C-melody saxes command a decent price now. The rest of us consider the ability to transpose from C to Bb to be a requirement anyway. For one thing, now and then clarinetists get parts written in C and have to transpose them. Then their "side job" as a saxophonist (yes, I'm needling my counterparts here) is made easier as well. Jul 28, 2015 at 15:49

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