VIENNA ACADEMY > Woodwinds           > Flutes > Piccolo > BRIEF DESCRIPTION
BRIEF DESCRIPTION  
 

Piccolo, octave flute
German: Piccolo(flöte), Kleine Flöte
French: piccolo, petite flute
Italian: flauto piccolo, ottavino

The piccolo, or octave flute, is a member of the transverse flute family. It is the highest-pitched wind instrument in the orchestra, its range (an octave above that of the concert flute) reaches far higher than the human voice.

In the orchestra the piccolo was used in the Classical period (second half of the 18th century) to imitate sounds of nature such as birdsong or storms and for special effects. In the Romantic period (19th century) it became an established part of the woodwind section in the orchestra.

Classification
Aerophone, edge-tone instrument without fipple, woodwind instrument

Material
Tubing: wood (grenadilla, cocus wood), metal (silver, nickel silver, brass) or plastic
Keywork: silver, nickel silver

Embouchure
Rectangular with rounded corners. Narrower than the concert flute’s.

Tubing
Length approx. 32 cm; 2 parts: headjoint, body. Headjoint cylindrical, body conical or vice versa

Bore
Medium, inner diameter approx. 10 mm

Keys/finger-holes
Boehm mechanism

Tuning
C (rarely Db, Eb)