Piccolos and other sizes

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Piccolo flutes

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 the orchestral setting, the piccolo player is often designated as “piccolo/flute III”, or even “assistant principal”. 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.

Alto Flutes

The alto flute is the second-highest member below the standard C flute. It is the third most common member of its family after the standard C flute and the piccolo. It is characterized by its rich, mellow tone in the lower portion of its range. It is a transposing instrument in G (a perfect fourth below written C), and uses the same fingerings as the C flute.

The bore of the alto flute is considerably larger in diameter and longer than a C flute and requires more breath from the player. This gives it a greater dynamic presence in the bottom octave and a half of its range.