Wednesday, 4 March 2015


The Piccolo instrument is a half-sized flute and a member of woodwind family of musical instruments.The Piccolos (or) Octave flutes,are a member of transverse flute family.It is the highest pitched instrument in the orchestra,its range reaches far higher than the human voice.This gave the rise to name Ottavino.

The first Piccolo appeared in the orchestra around 1700.The earliest work with a Piccolo flute part was Handel's Rinaldo (1711).There is also a Piccolo part in Bach's Cantata 103 (1725).Although neither Joesph Haydn (nor) Mozat used Piccolos in their symphonies ,some of their contemporaries including Hoffmeister , Sussmayr , and Micheal Haydn did. Also, Mozart used the Piccolo in his opera Idomeneo. Opera orchestras in Paris sometimes included transverse flute at the octave as early as 1735 as existing scores by Rameau show.Mozart used Piccolo flute in his German dances add in the overture to "The Abduction from the Seragilo".

It is a myth, that one of the earliest pieces to use Piccolo was Beethoven's Symphony no 5 in C Minor , premiered in December ,1808. The Piccolo was also given significant parts in Wellingtons Victory, Egmont , King Stephen and two of German dances. During Baroque era , the Piccolos were built of two parts , with one of  E-flat key. By the mid 18th century , it got popular in the orchestras .

The invention of the "multi-key" Piccolo is attributed to the flute teacher from Prague , Micheal Janusch , who developed the instrument in 1824. In the course of 19th century Piccolos were build according to more than 40 sets of fingerings  , seven different keys and from six various materials . The Piccolo D-flat developed in the 19th century . Since the Pre-Boehm Piccolos and Flutes were tuned to a key with two sharps , playing in keys that had flats was difficult and complex. However the music for military bands was often written in these keys , in order to make it easier for the Trumpeter's and Clarinetist's . Hence the innovation of the Piccolo in D-flat , on which the famous solo from "Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony" and the solo from "Stars and Stripes forever" by John Philip Sousa were played .

In the orchestral setting , the Piccolo player is often designated as "Piccolo (or) Flute lll"   (or) even "assistant principal" . Due to the demands of literature , the large orchestras have designated this position as a solo position . They are often designated to double (play together with ) the Violins (or) Flutes adding sparkle to and brilliance the overall sound because of the one-octave transposition upwards. In the orchestra the Piccolo was used in the classical period to imitate sounds of the nature such as a "birdsong"(or)"storms" and for "special effects". In the romantic period(19th century) it became an established part of the Woodwind section in orchestra.

Mollenhauer was the one who reached the satisfactory qualities and finally made a well-designed Piccolo.

Concertos have been composed for Piccolo including those by Lowell Liebermann, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Bruce Broughton, Valentino Bucchi, Avner Dorman, Jean Doue , Micheal Easton , Egil Hovland , Guus Janssen , Daniel Pinkham and Jeff Manookian.

No comments:

Post a Comment