The Piccolo Page
Orchestral Excerpts
Piccolo Makers
Bibliography and Links
Walfrid Kujala

Top Ten Ways to Practice Intonation on Piccolo

by Leonard L. Garrison

10 Watch the needle on a tuner as you practice.

Warnings: This does not take into account mean-tone tuning in chords with winds, “Pythagroean” tuning with strings, or “stretch” tuning in upper register; also, it does little to develop one’s ear.

9  Play along with a recording.

Warning: Many recordings are not well in tune!

8  Record a passage. Then play the harmonies on the piano along with your recording, listening for notes that are not in tune. Alternatively, record the harmonies first and then play the melody. Wellbaum and Rearick, Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo (Theodore Presser) is great for this.

Warning: Piano must be in tune.

7  Play along with accompaniment software such as SmartMusic. If accompaniment is not available, write it out in a music notation program such as Finale or Sibelius, and use the play back mode.

6  Write the piccolo part into music notation software. Play along while using the playback mode.

Warning: computers use equal temperament.

5   Concentrate on the perfect intervals (unisons, octaves, fourths, and fifths). Extract the main intervals of a passage. Play along with a tuner on a pedal tone.

4  Have a tuner sound a key note of the passage (usually the tonic or dominant); play along.

3  Record a passage on flute, then play along with the recording on piccolo. Alternatively, play in octaves with another flutist.

2  Record a passage on piccolo, then play along with the recording on flute.

1  Sing (preferably solfege), then play.

arrowTop of Page

Copyright ©2005 by Leonard Garrison; last modified 3/26/05.