Piccolo and flute 3

Hello everybody,

I have three flutes and the third play the piccolo. But in every edition the piccolo is above the two flutes and the third below.
Now I have three players :
1st the piccolo and flute 3
2nd the flute 1
3rd the flute 2
Now in my score if the piccolo play the flute the score is showing up the flute 3 first…
How can I make this with the same player for the flute 3 and piccolo ?
Thanks in advance


Are you making a new edition of a work from the past? If so, are you able to tell us what it is?

The reason I ask, is that according to the books and teachers from which I learned orchestration, the rule was that Piccolo appeared on the top staff only if the player played piccolo and nothing else. If the instrument alternated with Flute 3 (or Flute 2 if woodwinds were in pairs), then it remained below the others.

But it may be that this rule was an oversimplification, and if so, I would like to learn more.

Rinaldo is correct about current best practices. If you want to have a variable score position for Flute 3 and Piccolo, you will have “give” the Piccolo to a separate player which is at the top of the score. Doing so will require you to give up automatic instrument change labeling and staff distribution of instrument changes (i.e. you will have to manually add “to Piccolo” and “Piccolo” text, plus you will have to carefully manage your system breaks in the part). However, because it’s easy enough to tick instruments on and off in layouts on a flow-by-flow basis in Setup mode, making sure all the appropriate material in the part is easy if you do this — making it look perfect will just take some attention.

I make an edition of the opera “Die Toten Stadt” from Erich Wolfgang Korngold. In the edition I use for that, the piccolo is in the top. I suppose the Rinaldo’s solution is the only I see.
Hope a new functionality will be present in the future to do this.
Thank you

I would:

Enter the score with picc on top followed by the 3 flutes. When done, add a 4th flute and “copy down” picc and flute 3 to what will become the 3rd flute/piccolo part. You’ll have to add instrument change labels and transpose the piccolo entries down an octave.

Thank you, Joshua. (By the way, your critical edition affiliation definitely caught my eye, given my own work.) It’s always comforting to know that what I learned isn’t out of date. (Hey, it happens sometimes!) I was taught that Piccolo is a nearly unique instance of possible vertical variability (Eb Clarinet would be the other example), because for most woodwinds, the “auxiliary instruments” are lower in pitch than the standard one, and therefore lead to no positioning difficulties.

Of course, with older printed partiturs, all sorts of vertical anomalies happened – lower woodwind wander even below horns sometimes in Wagner. Some of their whimsy is probably better not perpetuated when the works are re-set.