Alternate Fingerings for Piccolo

Auxiliary Piccolo Fingerings

The Woodwind Fingering Guide.



“Special Piccolo Fingerings.”

"Tchaikovsky's 4th."

"Piccolo Trill Fingerings."


Treatise on contemporary techniques of the transverse flute for the use of composers and performers.
[Contains picc, alto flute and bass flute fingerings]

Fingering Tips for Piccolo.

A Modern Guide to Fingerings for the Flute. 2nd ed. Bloomington, IN: Zalo, 1972. [Contains quarter-tone fingerings for piccolo.]

A Basic Guide to Fingerings for the Piccolo. Bala Cynwyd, PA: Sopranino Press, 1990.

Simplicity Tutor.

Boehm System Piccolo Fingering Chart.

Chart of Chromatic Scale for Piccolo.

Tablature de la petite flute system Boehm.


Purchasing a Piccolo

Me and My Piccolo

The Psychology of Piccolo Practice and Performance: Working Toward Greater Security

Escaping the Nutcracker Suite: Composing for the 21st Century's Piccolo Player

The Piccolo: An Artist's Approach

Articles on various aspects of piccolo playing

Wooden Piccolo Maintenance

Piccolo Practice: What Are You Waiting For?

Life as a Piccolo Player

Interview With Jan Gippo, Part I

Interview With Jan Gippo, Part II

Piccolo Literature - The Good Stuff Does Exist!

Piccolo - Not the Tagalong Sibling Anymore!

How to Protect Your Hearing When Playing Your Musical Instrument


Notes from the 2005 NFA Piccolo Master Class with Nicola Mazzanti
by Christine Erlander Beard



Piccolo Perspectives (Midwest Convention Clinic, 2004)
by Nan Raphael

Christine Erlander Beard's
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Do you know of additional articles about any aspect of the piccolo or piccolo playing which should be added to this list? Would you like to submit an article or notes from a piccolo master class? If so, e-mail me the details!.

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Christine Beard's Alternate Fingering Guide for the Piccolo

A note from the author: Professional piccolo players use alternate fingerings on a regular basis. However, the fingerings listed below might not work on all piccolos. You should experiment with your instrument to find the fingerings that work best for you that will enable you to play in tune and with a good tone. Any alternate fingering that sounds bad is not an acceptable fingering! I also firmly believe that alternate fingerings are NOT to be used to make up for poor technique. That being said, alternate fingerings can do a lot to enhance the advanced piccolo player's performance. Enjoy!
Last Update: 9/9/2007
Purchasing a Piccolo
by Christine Erlander Beard
(Published April 2004 edition of Pick-up Notes, the official newsletter of the Nebraska Flute Club)

Greetings to all of you piccolo enthusiasts! In my first column, I thought I would answer the question I am asked most often: What kind of piccolo should I buy? My answer to this query always begins with another question: What do you intend to use it for?

If you intend to use the instrument outdoors (for instance, marching band) then your first priority has to be durability. Metal piccolos (silver plated or solid silver) are durable, and their bright tone quality is a good choice for outdoor venues. Another positive point for the metal piccolo is that the head joint style imitates that of the flute head joint: because it has the lip plate to help guide the player's lips into the correct position, it is easier for some students to make the transition from flute to piccolo.

If you wish to have a durable instrument that can be used outside but also want an instrument that is suitable for concert use, consider a plastic piccolo. This material is durable for outdoor use but has a warmer tone quality that blends more easily than most metal piccolos, ideal for concert playing. Plastic piccolos are inexpensive and for those players who want more options, a few companies offer "combo packs" in which two head joint styles are included: one traditional metal head with a lip plate, and one plastic head. With a combo pack, you can play the metal head in marching band to cut through the ensemble and then switch to the plastic head for concert season. Truly the best of both worlds!

Finally, if you only intend to use the piccolo indoors and/or if you want the highest quality instrument available, wood is the way to go. Wood piccolos are the choice of professional players due to their warm tone quality which blends more easily with an ensemble. Although there are a few choices out there, Grenadilla - a type of African Blackwood - is the standard material. There are two drawbacks to wood piccolos: first, they are very susceptible to temperature and must be cared for carefully to avoid cracking. Second, they are more expensive than plastic or metal piccolos. Unless you buy a used instrument, it is highly unlikely you will find a wood piccolo (in good condition) for under $1000.

For the young player just starting out, my recommendation is to go with a plastic piccolo. It's inexpensive, versatile, durable, and having a choice of head joint styles in my opinion makes it a no-brainer. For those players who are more serious and when money is no issue, wood is the material of choice. In either case, go to the music store and try out a few different styles. When you decide on one you think you like, ask to try a few of the same style for comparison. There can be a lot of variety in response and intonation from instrument to instrument, even with the same make and model! Because of this, when you find the one you want, make sure it is the instrument you will take home with you (not just the "floor model"); otherwise, you may not always get what you paid for.

Happy piccolo playing!

Information taken from the Powell Flutes Website

Getting Started
Prior to playing the piccolo be sure to warm it up using warm air. If the piccolo is going to be sitting for awhile with out being played, positioning the piccolo between your arm and rib cage will allow the piccolo to warm up quickly and safely. To insure that no damage is caused to the inside bore of the piccolo, use an extremely thin, short cloth, no more than 6" long and 1/2" wide. Using a cloth this small will also prevent the swab from getting jammed inside the piccolo.

Piccolo Wood: Preventing Cracking
A well made and well cared for wooden piccolo will improve with age and give you years of delight, Most wooden piccolo's are made from the aged grenadilla, although you may also find some instruments made from kingwood or rosewood,. Breaking in the piccolo for the first six months is extremely important to prolonging the life of the instrument (see below for more information on breaking in). Once the piccolo is broken in, the chance of cracks occurring can be minimized by:

Breaking in a Piccolo
For the first two months, you should play your instrument for no more than 20 minutes at a time. You should not play it again for at least four hours. Be sure to thoroughly swab out your instrument with a cotton or linen cloth immediately after each playing session. During the first month, do not play the wooden piccolo more than twice a day; during the second month, you may increase the frequency to three times a day. After the first two months, you may gradually increase both the time and frequency of playing sessions until, after six months, the instrument may be regarded as fully broken- in.

Oiling a Piccolo
The benefits of oiling are an improved appearance and a slight increase in the moisture resistance of the wood. Only an authorized repair technician should undertake the task of applying oil to the bore of a piccolo body.

Your wooden headjoint may benefit from an occasional application of almond oil to the bore and embouchure hole after it is at least one year old. Be sure to use only pure pressed almond oil. A small amount of almond oil may be applied to a cloth swab; use this oiled cloth to wipe the headjoint bore very lightly. Be very careful not to get oil between the cork assembly and the bore of the headjoint.

A cotton swab may be lightly moistened with oil and used to gently wipe around the inside of the embouchure hole. Use extreme caution in wiping, as the delicate edges of the hole might become damaged. Oil, after it is applied, whether to the bore or the embouchure, must be wiped off thoroughly but gently. A buildup of oil around the embouchure hole will have an adverse effect on the playing characteristics of the headjoint.
Piccolo Fingerings | Online Pedagogical Articles | Master Class Notes | Purchasing a Piccolo | Piccolo Maintenance
New! Download a PDF version of the piccolo fingering chart above by Christine Beard!
This file is designed to be printed on double-sided 11x17 paper to use in a folded booklet format,
but it can also be printed on 4 pages of standard 8x11 paper.