The sopranissimo saxophone, nicknamed the soprillo, is the world’s smallest saxophone. It is followed (in terms of size and pitch) by the sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass, and the subcontrabass. It is a piccolo-sized transposing saxophone pitched in the key of Bb.
It ranges from low-Bb to high-Eb, and is equipped with complete keys to play within this range. Imagine a saxophone that is an entire octave above the soprano saxophone! (The soprillo saxophone is a half octave above the sopranino sax.) It’s upper register extends to a fifth above the sopranino saxophone.
The soprillo saxophone is one of the newest and rarest members of the saxophone family. It is the highest pitched saxophone ever known!
Constructing such a small saxophone has been very difficult and only recently has a true sopranissimo saxophone been produced.
The soprillo saxophone is so fantastically small that the upper octave key is placed in the mouthpiece and no existing parts could be used. They had to completely redesign the body with the tone hole network, as well as the keys and the mouthpiece. It is only 12 inches (30cm) in length and with the mouthpiece attached it extends to 13 inches.
You can well imagine how difficult it is to play such a small saxophone like the sopranissimo saxophone – an instrument that requires such a tight embouchure. (Embouchure refers to the use of facial muscles and the shaping of the lips to the mouthpiece of the instrument.)
Professional soprano and sopranino saxophone players can take several months of practice to be able to play its highest notes. If you’re a professional player, I’m sure you love a challenge. Why not give the sopranissimo a try. After all, only professional players can play such a difficult instrument. It is a superb instrument for sax choirs and can also be used as a solo instrument.
The sopranissimo is manufactured exclusively by Benedikt Eppelsheim,a German instrument maker. Last time I checked it was being sold for about $2900 online.