Piccolo Problems of a Serious Nature....

Alternate Fingerings, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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lachiquitadelaflautaloca
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Piccolo Problems of a Serious Nature....

Post by lachiquitadelaflautaloca » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:49 pm

There are two piccs in our band (which has about 100 people) and I am one of them... I can be heard over all of them... I am incredibly and annoyingly loud.... Any words of wisdom to make me quieter??? Thanks! :o

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:02 pm

Work specifically on dynamic control. Start playing long tones at what is a comfortable mf for you, and decrescendo to p, being sure to maintain intonation and tone. Generally this is easier in the lower octave, so start there, and as you learn to control your sound, move higher. One of the signs of a good picc player is their ability to play very quietly, even into the highest range.

FltnPicc_David
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Post by FltnPicc_David » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:18 pm

Scales are good for crescendo and decresendo practice. When playing softly, be sure to keep in ind that quiet doesn't mean less air. Keep the good, strong air flow! Open up your ears and listen.

Also, generally, the thought of playing high notes makes us tighten up, which might cause us to tighten up the throat, cheeks and restrict our air flow, thus causing our notes to possibly have a thin tone to them!

paleogrl456
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Post by paleogrl456 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:08 pm

One thing to remember: piccolo is not meant to be a pretty instrument. It is supposed to be incredibly loud and be heard over everyone. So unless your conductor tells you to be quieter, don't worry about it.

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:01 pm

Huh?!? :shock: The orchestal, wind ensemble, and, increasingly, solo repertoire include plenty of examples of beautiful, haunting piccolo writing. Shostakovich, anyone? True, it's quite a powerful instrument, but every possibility exists to play it in a sophisticated, refined manner. In rehearsing the Hindemith Symphony for Band, I simply couldn't please our conductor. I was so proud of myself for being able to control some VERY soft playing in the third octave, yet it never seemed to be quiet enough! We're talkin' a pianissimo, sustained high A, for Pete's sake! The Trevor Wye tone exercises are good for practicing dynamic control. Some dynamics are marked, but you can alter them in any way which will help you play better. For example, instead of crescendoing into the high phrases, try playing a decrescendo instead. Difficult, but possible. There's also a good piccolo method by Danielle Eden called Piccolo!Piccolo!. :D
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:36 pm

paleogrl456 wrote:One thing to remember: piccolo is not meant to be a pretty instrument. It is supposed to be incredibly loud and be heard over everyone. So unless your conductor tells you to be quieter, don't worry about it.
I absolutely agree with Melizzard. It's really unfortunate that people regard the piccolo as naturally "loud," "shrill," or any other number of other adjectives with negative connotations. It's really not true. The same musical possibilities (for the most part) exist on piccolo that exist on flute, or any other instrument. It may be more difficult to accomplish some of these possibilities on piccolo, but it's entirely possible. A talented piccolo player can play both very loudly and very softly, with a variety of tone colors, good intonation, and an excellent tone throughout the range of the instrument.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:07 pm

I agree with melizzard too. Piccolo is not an ugly instrument if played well. in my opinion, Symphonic bands sound too bottom heavy if there isnt a talented piccolo player in the mix. Look at "God of our Fathers" (a high school/ college symphonic piece). 3 minutes into the piece there is a huge solo for the piccolo that sets up the entire work. The piece relies on this solo being played well, WITH dynamic control. So, the piccolo isnt simply "loud" and "ugly".

It is like a violin. Wretched to hear if played badly, but moving if played with skill.

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:46 am

Imagine Lincolnshire Posy without all the picc solos! :shock:
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:12 am

MeLizzard wrote:Imagine Lincolnshire Posy without all the picc solos! :shock:

I love that piece! It just wouldn't be the same....

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Post by FltnPicc_David » Mon Aug 07, 2006 7:26 pm

Yes, piccolo is a very beauitful sounding instrument if played well. And Lincolnshire Posy has piccolo soloS in it (a sin a bunch?) I better start practicing more on my piccolo.....

My band director wants to play it for concert season this year..I had no idea it had piccolo solos in it!

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:51 pm

It does indeed, and some very important ones. If you'd like to hear a recording, my old high school's sister school performed and recorded it last year, and it's up on their website at http://whsband.org/media/

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:06 am

The major solos from it can be found in a band piccolo excerpt book compiled by Nan Raphael, recently retired from the U. S. Army Field Band in D.C., called In the Limelight. Very useful book. :D
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

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