Piccolo Flute Highest Register

In it’s highest register, the piccolo flute can be very piercing and shrill and sometimes even painfully loud. This can be a great effect when you want a really edgy sound. For example in action or horror music this sound can work extremely well. But it can be too much when you’re for instance doubling a melody line in the woodwinds and include the piccolo.

The safest way to get a decent balance and not overpower everything with that piercing sound is to take extra care when writing Piccolo parts. As it is hard to play the really highest notes on the Piccolo any softer than forte, unless you specifically want this effect, it’s a better idea to not use them that often. In some instances it might also be a good idea to write the piccolo one dynamic degree softer than the rest of the woodwinds.

As a side note: the Piccolo playing in its highest register might be the only instrument from the woodwind section that can cut through a dense and heavy tutti sound.


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