The piccolo is about half the size of the concert flute.
Whereas the flute consists of three parts, the piccolo’s tubing has only two, the headjoint and the body (or middle joint). It does not generally have a footjoint. The headjoint is cylindrical, the body conical, although it can also be the other way round. In addition to piccolos with tubing either entirely of wood or entirely of metal combinations such as a silver head with a wood body and plastic tubing are also used.
The embouchure in the headjoint is only very slightly smaller than the flute’s, although narrower.
Piccolos with a metal headjoint very often have a lip plate like the flute, whereas the embouchure on purely wood piccolos is carved out of the wood. For ease of playing, flutists who often have to switch from the flute to the piccolo usually prefer piccolos with a lip plate.
Like the flute the modern piccolo is equipped with the Boehm mechanism. Its tone holes, which are about 6 mm in diameter, are closer together and the keys are smaller. Moreover, the additional keywork for the footjoint is missing. It is for these reasons that many flutists find the piccolo easier to finger.