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Piccolo oboe

Piccolo oboe

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The piccolo oboe, also known as the piccoloboe, is the smallest and highest pitched member of the oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

 family, historically known as the oboe musette. (It should not be confused with the similarly named musette
Musette de cour
The musette de cour or baroque musette is a musical instrument of the bagpipe family. Visually, the musette is characterised by the short, cylindrical shuttle-drone and the two chalumeaux. Both the chanters and the drones have a cylindrical bore and use a double reed, giving a quiet tone similar to...

, which is bellows-blown and characterized by a drone
Drone (music)
In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout most or all of a piece. The word drone is also used to refer to any part of a musical instrument that is just used to produce such an effect.-A musical effect:A drone...

.) Pitched in E-flat or F above the regular oboe (which is a C instrument), the piccolo oboe is a sopranino version of the oboe, comparable to the E-flat clarinet
E-flat clarinet
The E-flat clarinet is a member of the clarinet family. It is usually classed as a soprano clarinet, although some authors describe it as a "sopranino" or even "piccolo" clarinet. Smaller in size and higher in pitch than the more common B clarinet, it is a transposing instrument in E, sounding a...



Piccolo oboes are produced by the French makers F. Lorée
F. Lorée
F. Lorée is a manufacturer of double reed musical instruments based in Paris, France. Lorée produces professional-level instruments in the oboe family under the brand F. Lorée and student-level oboes under the brand Cabart.F...

 and Marigaux
Marigaux, also known as SML is a French manufacturer of high quality woodwind instruments.Marigaux is considered one of the world's best oboe-makers...

 (pitched in F) and the Italian firm Fratelli Patricola (pitched in E-flat). Lorée calls its instrument piccolo oboe or oboe musette (in F), while Marigaux and Patricola call their instruments simply oboe musette. As of 2006, a new instrument typically sells for US$6,000-7,500.


The instrument has found the most use in chamber and contemporary music, where it is valued for its unusual tone colour. It is also employed in double-reed
Double reed
A double reed is a type of reed used to produce sound in various wind instruments. The term double reed comes from the fact that there are two pieces of cane vibrating against each other. A single reed consists of one piece of cane which vibrates against a mouthpiece made of metal, hardened...

 ensembles such as Amoris, and in film scoring. Perhaps the best-known pieces requiring piccolo oboe are Solo for Oboe Instruments (1971) and Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra No. 2, both by Bruno Maderna
Bruno Maderna
Bruno Maderna was an Italian conductor and composer. For the last ten years of his life he lived in Germany and eventually became a citizen of that country.-Biography:...

, as well as Ar-Loth (1967) by Paolo Renosto.

Other contemporary works for the instrument are Scherzo Furioso by William Blezard
William Blezard
William Blezard was a talented pianist and composer who was musical director to Noël Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Joyce Grenfell.- Personal life :...

, Tasmanian Ants by Ian Keith Harris
Ian Keith Harris
Ian Keith Harris , is a composer of classical music, arranger, oboist and music educator from Australia.-Biography:Ian Keith Harris was born in Melbourne, living there for the first 26 years of his life. He started the piano at the age of five, was playing cornet in his school band, then violin for...

, Iberian Improvisations and Bailables by Leonard Salzedo
Leonard Salzedo
Leonard Salzedo was an English composer and conductor of Spanish descent....

, Variations on a Sicilian Shepherd Tune by Clive Strutt
Clive Strutt
Clive Edward Hazzard Strutt is an English composer born 19th April 1942 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England. He was educated at Farnborough Grammar School....

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