Disney films have produced some of the world’s favorite songs. They are perfect for singing along and even better for playing on the saxophone.
Whether you love an old classic such as The Jungle Book or Pinocchio or one of the newer Disney films like Encanto or The Incredibles, one thing that hasn’t changed is the fabulous songs that are in them.
Learning to play Disney songs on the saxophone is not only fun and accessible for students of all ages, but they also have a wide range of saxophone skills and techniques that can be learned and trained.
Here, we have compiled a list of 10 of our favorite Disney songs on the saxophone that are great for beginner to intermediate players. Read on!
1. “Beauty And The Beast”
The theme song “Beauty and the Beast” was written by Alan Menken (with lyrics by Howard Ashman) and appeared in the film when it was released in 1991. It was recorded and released by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson and is a musical ballad song.
It is always easier to play songs that you already know, and this is sure to be one of them! The melody of “Beauty and the Beast” is simple and moves a lot in steps and repeated patterns. This is great if you know your scales and an excellent way to practice them.
The rhythm is also very simple, consisting mainly of eighth, quarter, and half notes in 4/4 signature. It is great for practicing tonguing and playing with expression and plenty of rubato.
2. “When You Wish Upon A Star”
The classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” was written by Leigh Harline (with lyrics by Ned Washington) for Disney’s 1940 film Pinocchio. The original version was recorded by Cliff Edwards, who voiced Jiminy Cricket, and the song is still widely known as the “theme from Disney.”
“When You Wish Upon a Star” is a little more challenging melodically. It includes the use of accidentals and octave leaps. The fact that it is a well-known song, however, means that it is easy to tell when there are mistakes, making it the perfect piece for practicing. It is relatively slow, giving you the chance to practice your tone.
The rhythm in “When you Wish Upon a Star,” however, is very simple, consisting mainly of quarter notes and half notes. It is in 4/4 signature but is another great song for practicing rubato.
3. “A Whole New World”
Taken from Disney’s 1992 film Aladdin, “A Whole New World” is another classic written by Alan Menken (with lyrics by Tim Rice).
The ballad has won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and a Grammy for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television, among many other accolades.
The song’s melody is relatively simple and makes use of patterns at different pitches, and includes accidentals and key modulation. It is in 4/4 signature and makes use of triplets and syncopation—a great one for all-around practice. It is a well-known song, so you will know when you make a mistake!
4. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”
Written by the much-loved Elton John (with lyrics by Tim Rice), “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is one of Disney’s most famous songs. It was released in 1994 as a single, reaching #14 in the British chart. It also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Melodically, much of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” moves in steps or arpeggios, using melodic patterns to tie it together. Rhythmically, the song is set in a straight 4/4, with some easy syncopation, so it’s perfect for beginner players.
5. “Married Life”
Our next song is the theme to the opening sequence of Disney-Pixar’s film Up. Called “Married Life,” the piece was written by Michael Giacchino and has become an integral part of the film. It is a classic instrumental piece that is fun to listen to and play on the saxophone.
Melodically, “Married Life” moves mostly in step or through arpeggios, mainly in the key of C major (in the version above) and goes up to a top C. The piece is written in 3/4 and, rhythmically, is relatively simple, with lots of quarter notes, but also upbeats and dotted notes.
6. “Surface Pressure”
One of the latest songs from Disney, “Surface Pressure,” features in their 2010 film Encanto. It was written by singer-songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda. The song was sung by Jessica Darrow and has hit the #3 spot in the British chart.
The melody for “Surface Pressure” uses a lot of repeated notes and is mainly based on arpeggios. The song is set to a cumbia rhythm, a Latin rhythm that makes you want to dance.
The main feature of this song is the fact that the notes are swung—an important skill if you are hoping to play Latin or jazz music. The piece is in 4/4 and includes syncopation but also a lot of repetition.
7. “Part Of Your World”
Another collaboration between Alan Menken and Howard Ashman produced “Part of Your World.” It was written for the film The Little Mermaid, released in 1989. The balladic theme song was performed by the actress and singer Jodi Benson, who played the character of Ariel.
The melody to “Part of Your World” includes a range of different aspects to practice. These include step patterns helping with scales, repeated patterns at different pitches, accidentals, and key changes.
Rhythmically, the piece is in 4/4 and can be used to practice syncopation, triplets, and tonguing. It is also quite a long piece of music, so practicing with control and stamina is great.
8. “Let It Go”
Most people who have had children in the past ten years (or have been one!) will almost certainly be very familiar with “Let It Go.” It was taken from Frozen and later became a commercial success.
“Let It Go” was written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and originally sung by Idina Menzel (the singer and actress who played the voice of Elsa in the film).
The much-loved “Let It Go” is a song that gradually builds tension throughout the verse, releasing in the chorus. The melody at the beginning is simple, but as it builds, it gets trickier. It includes grace notes, a key change, and goes up to a high C.
Rhythmically, “Let It Go” also begins pretty simply, but as the song progresses, we see more syncopation, dotted notes, and articulation, and is quite fast. Once you have this song under your fingers, you will have everyone singing along, from young children to older adults!
9. “Life’s Incredible Again”
Another score by Michael Giacchino, “Life’s Incredible Again,” comes from the 2004 Disney-Pixar film The Incredibles soundtrack. This jazzy instrumental piece lends itself perfectly to the saxophone, especially as they are prominent in the original recording.
The melody of “Life’s Incredible Again” isn’t complicated, but it does involve a fair few accidentals to get your head around. Its rhythm is a bit trickier as it is written in 3/4, and it uses upbeats, syncopation, and rhythmic patterns. Try playing this slowly at first, then speeding it up as you get the hang of it.
10. “The Bare Necessities”
For our last song, we have probably one of the most well-known songs in Disney animated film history. “The Bare Necessities” is from the 1967 film The Jungle Book.
The song was written by legendary Disney composers, the Sherman brothers, Robert B. and Richard M. The most famous version of this song was sung by Louis Armstrong. Still, it has also been covered by several other artists.
The well-known melody is pretty simple, mainly sticking within the key signature but with a few accidentals. The song is in 4/4 signature in a fast swing and, with its jazzy feel, is perfect for playing on the saxophone. The melody comes in on beat 2, and there is syncopation used throughout the song.
Due to its jazzy structure and relatively simple chord sequence, this is a great song to try to improvise if you feel the urge!
Summing Up Our List Of Easy Disney Songs For The Saxophone
Whether you love Aladdin, Frozen, or The Lion King, there is a Disney song for everyone who wants to play some of these on the saxophone. The range of these songs goes from easy to pretty tricky.
Plenty of them, however, are pretty easy and can be quickly learned. Give the ones on this list a try, and let us know how it goes.