Current time:0:00Total duration:9:50

Piccolo: Interview and demonstration with Nadine Asin

Video transcript

("The Firebird - Suite" by Igor Stravinsky") - I'm a flautist. But I also play the piccolo. The flute has a range from-- (flute blows) to-- (flute blows) Whereas the piccolo has a range from-- (piccolo blows) So as you can hear, the piccolo is much higher than the flute. The flute and the piccolo are kind of sisters, or maybe they're brothers. They're in the same family. They're related. And the flute, obviously it's much larger and longer, and that's why it's a lower instrument. And we play notes by adding or subtracting, lifting our fingers. And that's what changes the length of the tube inside. And the same for the piccolo. I add, I put my fingers down, or I lift my fingers up to change the length of the tube. and therefore change the notes. So, as I add my fingers. (piccolo blows) As I'm pressing down on the keys, and we're closing the keys, I'm making a longer tube inside, and lowering the notes. I do use wind, but I don't use a reed. I use my lips. I create the same kind of compression that a reed creates for a reed instrument like the oboe or the bassoon, or the clarinet. I do that with my embouchure. My lips form the embouchure, and I create a tube of air inside my throat from my lungs through my neck, through my mouth, comes out into the flute. (flute blows) And the same applies to the piccolo. Although, because the piccolo is so much smaller, everything is kind of in miniature on the piccolo. So I have a smaller embouchure on the piccolo. You can see the difference in where I blow on the flute and the piccolo. On the flute I have an entire lip plate. On the piccolo, which as you can see is made out of wood, so it truly is a woodwind, I don't have that. So I use my lips to find the position for my embouchure. (piccolo blowing) ("Symphony No. 2 - I. Allegro maestoso" by Gustav Mahler) Piccolo is used primarily as an orchestral instrument. You won't necessarily go to a piccolo recital. Playing the piccolo, in the orchestra, you will also play the flute, as a member of the flute section. However, if you're playing in chamber music, you will primarily be playing flute. If you're playing a solo recital, you will be playing flute. ("Symphony No. 2 - I. Allegro maestoso" by Gustav Mahler) To me, the flute is a very lyrical instrument. And often in orchestra, we play along with the violins. And we kind of float on top of the orchestra, or we float on top of the wind section. And the fact that our instrument is either made of silver or gold, we've got this real shimmery quality that allows us to kind of create this sheen in the sound of the orchestra. And the piccolo is kind of the icing on the cake. Because it's so much higher than the other instruments. As a piccolo player, you have to be very careful not to overpower the sound of the other winds. You have to blend, you have to be a blender to play the piccolo. It's small, but it's powerful. So you have to really think about your role. Is the line that you're playing a supporting line? Are you playing along with other instruments, or is it a solo? If it's a solo, then you can kind of step into the spotlight. But if it's a supporting role, then you do best to really, just kind of cool it, and wait, and just blend with your colleagues. ("Daphnis and Chloe - Suite No. 2" by Maurice Ravel) I started playing the flute because my best girlfriend in elementary school had a piano in her house. Every time I went to visit my friend Linda, I would make a beeline for the piano. I was just totally entranced with this piano. And so when they offered, in my public school, a program for wind instruments, I asked my parents if I could play a wind instrument. And I was just about to get my braces. So we went to my orthodontist. "How about the flute?" he said. And thus... my fate was sealed. And my parents bought me an instrument. And they got me a teacher. At my first lesson we played "O Sole Mio" as a duet. And when I heard her sound, she was a high school student and I was 10 or 11. When I heard her sound I thought, "That's it, I've fallen in love." And from there on in, I played all the time. And I joined orchestras, and I went to music camp. And I was a real music nerd. ("Symphony No. 4 in F minor - III." by P.I. Tchaikovsky) I would say for wind players, the kind of sweet spot is 10 to 12. And after that, you don't want to lose too much time. So 10 to 12 is really, that's when you really have to start thinking about it. Doesn't mean you're going to grow up to be a flute player. Because, you don't know. If you're at all intrigued by the sound of the instrument or the personality, give it a try. give it a try. Because it's great stuff. ("Symphony No. 5 in C minor - IV." by L. van Beethoven)