Piccolo facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Piccolo
Yamaha Piccolo YPC-81.png
Woodwind instrument
Classification
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 421.121.12-71
(Flute-like aerophone with keys)
Playing range
Written range of piccolo.png

The piccolo sounds one octave higher than written.

Sounding:
Sounding range of piccolo.png
Related instruments

The piccolo is a small flute that plays one octave higher than the normal flute. It sounds an octave higher than written. It is the highest instrument in the orchestra. Sometimes it sounds like a birdcall.

Traditional use

Joueuse de flûte à Château-Thierry
A piccolo being played

Historically, the piccolo had no keys, and should not be confused with the fife, which traditionally was one-piece, had a smaller bore and produced a more strident sound.

The Swiss piccolo is used in conjunction with marching drums in traditional formations at the Carnival of Basel, Switzerland.

It is a myth that one of the earliest pieces to use the piccolo was Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, premiered in December 1808. Although neither Joseph Haydn nor Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used it in their symphonies, some of their contemporaries did, including Franz Anton Hoffmeister, Franz Xaver Süssmayr and Michael Haydn. Also, Mozart used the piccolo in his opera Idomeneo. Opera orchestras in Paris sometimes included small transverse flutes at the octave as early as 1735 as existing scores by Jean-Philippe Rameau show.

Although once made of wood, glass or ivory, piccolos today are made from plastic, resin, brass, nickel silver, silver, and a variety of hardwoods, most commonly grenadilla. Finely made piccolos are often available with a variety of options similar to the flute, such as the split-E mechanism. Most piccolos have a conical body with a cylindrical head, which is like the Baroque flute and later flutes before the popularization of the Boehm bore used in modern flutes. Unlike other woodwind instruments, in most wooden piccolos, the tenon joint that connects the head to the body has two interference fit points that surround both the cork and metal side of the piccolo body joint.


Piccolo Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.