The piccolo is a half-sized flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The modern piccolo has most of the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written.
In orchestral settings, the piccolo player is often designated as "piccolo/flute III", or even "assistant principal". The larger orchestras have designated this position as a solo position due to the demands of the literature.
Piccolos are often orchestrated to double the violins or the flutes, adding sparkle and brilliance to the overall sound because of the aforementioned one-octave transposition upwards. In concert band settings, the piccolo is almost always used and a piccolo part is almost always available.
A musician who plays the piccolo is called a piccoloist, or simply "piccolo player."
As portrayed in Hibike! Euphonium
- The difference between a shy, quiet flute player and an arrogant drama-queen flute player is whether or not they also play piccolo.
- The piccolo reads the same sheet music as a flute but sounds an octave higher.
- Though a piccolo is smaller it is much more challenging to play compared to the flute.
- In bands or orchestras, there is typically only one piccolo player or two at most, as needed by the literature.