Flute/Ab alto piccolo


I read your answer on the Ab alto piccolo, which I had never heard of before.  Where does that place it in relation to the Eb flute?  Between Db or C pic and C flute?

Janice Spooner

Hi Janice!

The Ab alto piccolo is pitched a minor sixth above the standard C flute and a major third below the C piccolo.  Its placement in this part of the range, combined with its design give it tonal attributes of both its bigger and smaller brethren, as I mentioned in some of my other answers about these instruments.  They're beautiful, unique flutes, and probably the single rarest member of the flute family.

If you're intrigued by these piccolos, Robert Dick has done some recording with one, and there are a few other obscure recordings out there.  These may be your only option to hear an Ab piccolo unless you're lucky enough to come across one of their owners, or become one yourself.

Unusual instruments like these are one of my passions, so if you have any other questions about them, feel free to ask!  I'm always happy to write about these!

I hope this is helpful!



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Herbert Smith


I can answer questions about almost any flute-related topic.

I have trained professionally as a flute repair tech and music educator, and have a broad range of experiences as a performer. I also have experience with a huge array of flutes with any imaginable material or specification, and can comment on the quality of various instruments, as well as guide people through the flute-buying process. I'm willing and able to discuss various flute gadgets (Valgon rings, Foster extensions, etc.) as well.

I'm very familiar with piccolo, alto, and other harmony flutes (including those in unusual keys, such as Eb flute, Db piccolo, G treble, Ab alto piccolo, Flute D'amore, Contrabass, etc.).

I am also glad to offer advice on how to approach difficulties within pieces of music, offer teaching tips to those who give lessons, or answer just about any other flute-related query you can throw at me!

Please note, however, that I am not an appraisal service, and will not provide estimates of value. Please do not ask me about the value of your flute. I also must decline to date instruments based on their serial numbers.


I'm a professional repair tech with years of experience, and a veteran high school band director. I've maintained a successful studio for private flute lessons for many years, and have performed professionally in just about any imaginable venue.

I have bachelor's degrees in music education and performance from highly regarded universities, and have trained with one of the best flute techs/flute makers in the US.

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