Higher Register on Piccolo

Advanced Technique, Performance Questions, Auditions, Recording, etc.

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FLflutist
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Higher Register on Piccolo

Post by FLflutist » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:45 pm

When I play in the higher register on picc, like Bb6, my tone gets rather airy and, well... not nice.

Is there anything I can do to help fill the sound out? I use earplugs when practicing, just so you know.

Edit: I play on a Yamaha 62C wood picc.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:52 pm

More than likely you're simply blowing too much air into the instrument. You'll get much better results if you learn to control the air so that you can minimize the quantity you're using, but still produce the desired result. Try focusing your airstream more rather than trying to force the note out of the piccolo. Flute tone exercises can easily be adapted to piccolo, so I would start there. Find a note that's comfortable to start on and has a good tone, and slowly move upwards chromatically, matching the tone of each note to the one before it. Pretty much anything can be converted into a tone exercise if you slow it down so you're thinking only about sound rather than fingers or articulation, so use some of your pieces or exercises as picc tone exercises as well.

Though it won't explain the difficulty you're having with Bb3, many piccolos simply don't have a B3 (due to the size and placement of the trill toneholes), so if you're having difficulty with that note, it may be the instrument rather than you, and anything at or above top C is difficult to play on most piccs anyway (though most piccs do have a reliable C if you can learn to produce it).

You might also consider having your picc examined by a repair tech. It's less likely to be a repair issue than if you were having trouble with the low range, but the possibility is still there, and you won't know for sure unless a tech takes a look for you.

piccolo1991
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Post by piccolo1991 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:08 am

I have had a few teachers help me with some alternate picc fingerings...try:

High Bb: Try lifting your Left Index finger...so finger it
(Left) Thumb (Right) 1 + 1st trill + Pinky

High B: Try lifting your pinky (some books have it up...some have it down)
(Left) Thumb on B key +1 + 3 (Right) 2nd trill
MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT USE Bb THUMB KEY FOR THIS NOTE!!!

And then with C...just make sure to lift your right pinky!!!

Hope that helps...they helped me a great deal! And yes, anything above C is EVIL on picc. I had to hit a high C# and D in a version of Night on Bald Mountain and it was horrible to try get!!!

Best of luck!

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:24 pm

piccolo1991 wrote: High Bb: Try lifting your Left Index finger...so finger it
(Left) Thumb (Right) 1 + 1st trill + Pinky

High B: Try lifting your pinky (some books have it up...some have it down)
(Left) Thumb on B key +1 + 3 (Right) 2nd trill
MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT USE Bb THUMB KEY FOR THIS NOTE!!!
That fingering for Bb you mentioned is the default fingering and should be what the OP is using anyway. Same goes for that hint about B. I have yet to encounter a piccolo capable of sounding a B that will work if you leave your right pinky on....They may exist, but if they do, they're few and far between. There are plenty of alternative fingerings available for piccolo, and some of them are quite useful (for example, adding the 2nd and 3rd fingers of the right hand when playing high Ab). I would check out this website....They have a whole fingering chart dedicated specifically to the picc:

www.wfg.woodwind.org

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:13 am

flutepicc06 wrote:
piccolo1991 wrote: High Bb: Try lifting your Left Index finger...so finger it
(Left) Thumb (Right) 1 + 1st trill + Pinky

High B: Try lifting your pinky (some books have it up...some have it down)
(Left) Thumb on B key +1 + 3 (Right) 2nd trill
MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT USE Bb THUMB KEY FOR THIS NOTE!!!
That fingering for Bb you mentioned is the default fingering and should be what the OP is using anyway. Same goes for that hint about B. I have yet to encounter a piccolo capable of sounding a B that will work if you leave your right pinky on....They may exist, but if they do, they're few and far between. There are plenty of alternative fingerings available for piccolo, and some of them are quite useful (for example, adding the 2nd and 3rd fingers of the right hand when playing high Ab). I would check out this website....They have a whole fingering chart dedicated specifically to the picc:

www.wfg.woodwind.org
Ironically, I have a cheap junker picc that will play the B with the pinky, yet my wooden picc will only produce a b without the pinky. Go figure.

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