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Piccolo - an introduction

Learn about the piccolo from an expert musician with the U.S. Marine Band. Includes a demonstration of the famous solo from "The Stars and Stripes Forever.".

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Video transcript

(classical music) - The piccolo is actually one of the highest instruments in the band. It does have a very nice feature in terms of adding a flourishing effect in the music a lot of times. We also do get to play solos with other instruments, as well, and have a chance to blend in with other instruments throughout the band. (classical music) During high school and college, I actually was very focused on the orchestral portion of my studies, and didn't actually study too much band repertoire or play a lot of band music. So coming into the Marine Band, I've had an opportunity to play a lot of the standard repertoire that I actually never had an experience playing in college. (marching band music) "Stars and Stripes Forever" is the national march of the United States, so it is a very popular march to be performed by our band and any band in the United States. It of course features the piccolo solo at the end, which is fun and challenging. I think one of the biggest challenges is to just have it sound as easy as possible, which actually, in the band key, it's written half a step higher than the orchestral key, so that adds some elements of difficulty, as well. I would focus on some of the high notes just to make sure that they do come out clearly and not to just try to play it all the way through all the time, but do focus on some of the faster notes to make sure that they speak cleanly and work in it, work at the solo in smaller sections. The first time I played it with a band, it was a lot of fun because the piccolos actually all stand up together and all of us in the section play it together in unison, and the flute section has such great talent, and we all play piccolo, and everybody can play that solo so well. (marching band music)