An orchestral sparkler, the piccolo – which takes its name from the Italian for ‘small’ - is a half-sized flute and plays an octave higher.

Instrument: Piccolo

In this film, Keith Bragg introduces his instrument - the piccolo. Why not download our iPad app, 'The Orchestra', to learn even more? Visit www.philharmonia.co.uk/app for more information.

The Philharmonia's Principal Piccolo's Chair is currently available for endowment.

For more information on how you can support the Orchestra by endowing a player's chair, please visit: http://www.philharmonia.co.uk/support/individual/chair_endowment


The fingering is identical to that of the flute and flute players often alternate with piccolo. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the piccolo’s debut in a major work, where it adds a bright florescence to the Finale. Beethoven’s delighted rushes and trills also caught on, and the piccolo quickly became the go-to instrument for jubilation, a faculty it has never lost.

Fact File

Did you know?

The piccolo is particularly popular in military music. One of its greatest moments is its famous solo in The Stars and Stripes Forever!

Frequency Range

587 Hz - 4.2 kHz

Tube Length

33 cm