I just rewatched the movie of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I stumbled upon something strange. In the orchestra at the Yule Ball you can clearly see a saxophone being played at 1:19:08, but in the song ("Potter Waltz") there is no saxophone (or I can not hear it).

So, are my ears too bad, or is there truly a saxophone playing without sound?

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  • 11
    Who says a wizarding saxophone sounds anything like a Muggle saxophone?
    – Joe White
    Jul 15, 2014 at 0:58
  • 2
    Is that a second saxophone to the right of the circled sax? Jul 15, 2014 at 5:11
  • 2
    @Slytherincess - An alto-sax, I believe.
    – Valorum
    Jul 15, 2014 at 11:24
  • anti sound charm? Jul 15, 2014 at 16:14
  • Useless aside information, I believe the band are actually made up members from Pulp and Radiohead...
    – Liath
    Jul 16, 2014 at 12:00

4 Answers 4


It's likely a continuity error on the part of the film makers.

As a parent to a saxophone player, I can attest that it is universally impossible for any person to blow into a saxophone and not have some sort of sound come out. Saxophones are very loud in person. Very.

  • 1
    Though I have, in more avant-garde styles, heard some noises coming out of saxophones that didn't sound remotely saxophone-like! Jul 14, 2014 at 22:21
  • 3
    @leftaroundabout -- Yes, definitely! It's a versatile instrument. My kid plays well now, but for a while there it was almost intolerable -- like the Rite of the Lamenting Walrus or something ;) But your point is well taken. :) Jul 14, 2014 at 23:04
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    As a horrible musician, I made it through a number of school concerts by only pretending to play my saxophone, mouth on the mouthpiece and breathing through my nose, until the school year was up and I was no longer required to be in the band. Jul 15, 2014 at 12:17

The official "Concert Suite for Full Orchestra" sheet music, written by Patrick Doyle and published by Warner Brothers is scored for a range of instruments (see below) but not the saxophone or alto-saxophone.

The most likely explanation therefore is that the presence of the saxophones in the band was either an oversight on the part of the film's Editor, Mike Audsley or a stylistic choice on the part of the Director.

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  • It might have been an oversight in the orchestration, if that wasn't done before the scene was filmed and the fact that a sax was seen on set wasn't communicated to or was forgotten by the composer. Jul 15, 2014 at 14:47
  • 4
    @MatthewWalton - My guess is that the composer wasn't anywhere near the set which is why I've blamed the editor/director.
    – Valorum
    Jul 15, 2014 at 15:22

As one of the musicians in that scene I can probably give some insight to this despite it being a long time later!

The orchestra in the film are a real youth orchestra and we could actually play. On set we were playing along with a backing track to the piece they we're dancing to however when the final film was edited they overdubbed a different piece of music hence you can't hear a saxophone etc...

Somewhere I still have the sheet music for that scene too!

  • 10
    This is an interesting answer but one that would benefit from some proof that you're who you say you are and that the things that you said happened happened.
    – Valorum
    Mar 5, 2018 at 19:31
  • 1
    IMDB lists no youth orchestra in the credits, and specifies all music (uncredited) played by London Symphony Orchestra.
    – JohnP
    Mar 5, 2018 at 19:35
  • 1
    Luke, can you confirm whether Jimmy Song played the part of 'clumsy lead violinist', whilst you're here? Mar 6, 2018 at 11:32
  • Anyone else find it funny that the Dark Lord is asking Luke about clumsy violins? Mar 6, 2018 at 19:18

Yes most likely the Song is not being played by the band on stage, therefore the creators of the movies did not edit the scene properly to take out the sax playing when there was no sax music.

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