I have found the notation "sax loco" in these two songs. What does it mean? I believe it's related to the fact that there are parts for two instruments in the same staff. By why "loco"?

From Moanin'.

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From Stars and Stripes Forever, part for Eb Clarinet and Sopranino Sax.

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  • 1
    I am deeply disappointed that the correct answer below has nothing to do with the Spanish meaning of “loco”. Crazysax! 😜🎷
    – Ben Liblit
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


"Loco" means "in the written octave", as opposed to shifted by some number of octaves. Such a shift could be due to 8va/8vb marks, or in this case, because of instrument transpositions. Tenor sax sounds an octave lower than trumpet, so by writing both instruments on a single staff there's an ambiguity--are those tenor sax notes in the trumpet octave or the tenor sax octave? This mark means "in the written octave", so in the trumpet octave. The proper tenor sax part will be written an octave higher.

The second example is unclear, since Eb clarinet and sopranino sax transpose exactly the same. I guess this means that the clarinet is on the upper line and the sax on the lower, but that would be a clunky way to write that.

  • @user3338584 - any chance that the Stars&Stripes example has "8va" notated previously to the measures you posted? That would make the "loco" more reasonable here -telling the sax to drop off the 8va range while the clarinet stays high. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 13:04

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