Seven Great Songs to Play on the Saxophone This Summer

Whether you’re a seasoned saxophonist or a passionate learner, here’s a curated list that promises to infuse your summer with the soulful sounds of the season. From the bouncy melody of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” to the classic charm of Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” to the uplifting beats of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” this playlist is your perfect companion for the season.

And with our partner Tomplay, mastering these melodies for the summer is a breeze! Tomplay is a digital sheet music app and online platform designed for musicians. It offers a wide range of interactive sheet music for various instruments, including saxophone, trumpet, clarinet and more. Tomplay distinguishes itself by providing features that enhance the learning and practicing experience for musicians, such as :

  • Synchronized Professional Accompaniments. Musicians can effortlessly listen to and perform alongside professionally recorded piano accompaniments
  • Tempo Adjustment. Users have the flexibility to modify the tempo of audio accompaniments, tailoring practice to their skill level
  • Passage Looping. Musicians can loop specific sections of music, for more focused and efficient practice
  • Self-Recording. The app offers a self-recording feature, allowing users to record their performances and review their progress
  • Annotation Tools. Musicians can annotate scores with fingerings, bowings, customized highlights, text additions and more
  • Sharing and Collaboration. Users can easily share their annotations and recordings with their music teacher, promoting collaborative learning between lessons.

Each song in the list below is accompanied by a link to its Saxophone Sheet Music page, which includes a professional recording of the song, synchronized with the sheet music to enhance your learning experience.

1. Flowers by Miley Cyrus

“Flowers” is a song by American singer Miley Cyrus, released in 2023. You may have already heard it, as it broke streaming records. The lyrics of the song are directly inspired by the singer’s personal story. Stemming from her breakup with actor Liam Hemsworth, this ‘revenge song’ highlights a strong and independent woman who is recovering from a difficult breakup and learning how to love and accept herself. Its upbeat melody and affirming message have made it a favorite for summer playlists, inspiring many to embrace their strength and inner beauty.

Practicing the melody on the saxophone can be a great way to bring the song’s vibrant energy to life. On Tomplay, you can find various arrangements of “Flowers” suited to different skill levels, whether you play soprano, alto or tenor saxophone. The platform allows you to adjust the tempo to your liking and provides a professional audio recording to guide your practice, making it easy to master this hit and share its empowering vibe with your audience.

Play the soprano saxophone sheet music of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers.”

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers.”

Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers.”

2. Summertime by George Gershwin (as performed by Ella Fitzgerald

Composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by DuBose Heyward, “Summertime” was first performed in 1935 as part of the opera Porgy and Bess. Gershwin created the song to capture the essence of a lullaby, drawing on elements of African American spirituals and folk music. Singer Ella Fitzgerald, known for her impeccable vocal style and improvisational prowess, recorded her iconic rendition of “Summertime” in 1958, solidifying the song’s place in jazz history. Since then, the song has been covered by over 25,000 artists!

Tomplay features like self-recording and loop passages allow you to master this classic.

Play the soprano saxophone sheet music of Ella Fitzgerald’s version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Ella Fitzgerald’s version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

 Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Ella Fitzgerald’s version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

3. Happy by Pharrell Williams

Released in 2013, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams quickly became a global sensation with its infectious melody and upbeat lyrics. The famous singer crafted this song for the soundtrack of the animated film Despicable Me 2, and it went on to top charts worldwide, spreading joy and positivity wherever it was played. The song’s catchy rhythm and cheerful vibe have made it a staple of summer tunes.

Playing “Happy” on the saxophone is a great way to channel its exuberant energy and bring smiles to your audience. Tomplay offers various arrangements for different skill levels. Slow down the tempo and speed it up as you work on the piece to perfect this amazing hit!

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.”

Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.

4. Sunny by Bobby Hebb

“Sunny,” composed and performed by Bobby Hebb, was released in 1966 and became an enduring classic celebrated for its uplifting melody and positive lyrics. Hebb wrote the song in response to personal tragedies, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the death of his brother. Despite these dark inspirations, the song conveys a message of hope and resilience.

Discover multiple arrangements of “Sunny” with Tomplay. The sheet music is suited to different skill levels, complete with a top-notch accompaniment track. Annotate your scores and use the on-screen saxophone as a visual aid to get to grips with the piece.

Play the soprano saxophone sheet music of Bobby Hebb’s  “Sunny.

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny.”

Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny.”

5. Black Orpheus by Antônio Carlos Jobim

“Manhã de Carnaval”, also known as “Black Orpheus,” is a bossa nova song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá for the 1959 film Black Orpheus. It recounts the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set during Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. The story follows Orfeu, a charming musician, and Eurydice, a young woman fleeing a mysterious stalker personified as Death. They fall in love, but tragedy strikes as Eurydice dies while escaping her pursuer, and Orfeu, stricken with grief, ultimately meets a tragic end himself. “Manhã de Carnaval” was one of the first compositions to bring bossa nova to an international audience, helping to popularize the genre outside Brazil.

Tomplay provides multiple arrangements to accommodate all proficiency levels and allows you to perform the rich melodies of this song with a professionally recorded orchestral accompaniment.

Play the soprano saxophone sheet music of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Black Orpheus.”

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Black Orpheus. 

Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Black Orpheus.” 

6. Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” composed by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper, was recorded song just days before Redding’s tragic death in a plane crash in 1967, and released the following year. The song captures a reflective mood, with Redding’s soulful voice conveying a sense of longing and contemplation as he watches the tide roll away. The signature whistling at the end was added as an impromptu fill-in because Redding hadn’t yet written the final verse, and it has since become an iconic element of the track.

The soulful melody of this wistful song is perfect for the summer!

Play the soprano saxophone sheet music of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. 

Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. 

7. Despacito by Luis Fonsi

“Despacito” was composed and performed by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee in 2017, and quickly became a global phenomenon. This reggaeton-pop fusion is characterized by its infectious rhythm, with an upbeat tempo and romantic lyrics that celebrate the sensuality and passion of Latin music. The song became the first Spanish-language song to top the Billboard Hot 100 since “Macarena” in 1996. Its popularity surged even further with a remix featuring Justin Bieber, making it one of the most-streamed songs of all time.

Master this modern hit on the saxophone alto, tenor or soprano with Tomplay. Simply hit the play button and start playing along with a high-quality accompaniment track.

Play the soprano saxophone sheet music of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.”

Play the alto saxophone sheet music of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.” 

Play the tenor saxophone sheet music of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.” 

LOOKING TO ENHANCE YOUR SUMMER SAXOPHONE SESSIONS?

Explore the extensive catalog of Yamaha saxophones and saxophone gear to find the perfect instrument for your needs. From the sleek and innovative YDS-150 digital saxophone, which offers exact saxophone fingering and authentic sound, to a wide range of professional and student models, Yamaha has something for every level of player.

Whether you’re jamming to summer hits or practicing new pieces, Yamaha saxophones provide superior quality and playability. Plus, with your purchase or rental of a Yamaha brass, woodwind, string or mallet keyboard instrument, you’ll receive three months of free premium access to Tomplay, offering over 80,000 sheet music titles with backing tracks to play along to. Elevate your musical experience this summer with Yamaha and Tomplay … and let the summer festivities begin!

Want to try Tomplay? Register your Yamaha saxophone and get a three-month subscription to Tomplay for FREE.

 

A smiling woman holding a saxophone and touching a tablet.

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