The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The modern piccolo has most of the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written. This gave rise to the name ottavino (Italian for "little octave"), which the instrument is called in the scores of Italian composers. It is also called flauto piccolo or flautino, Vivaldi making use of the latter term.
Piccolos are now manufactured in the key of C or D♭. It was for this D♭ piccolo that John Philip Sousa wrote the famous solo in the final repeat of the closing section (trio) of his march "The Stars and Stripes Forever".
In the orchestral setting, the piccolo player is often designated as "piccolo/flute III", or even "assistant principal". The larger orchestras have designated this position as a solo position due to the demands of the literature. Piccolos are often orchestrated to double the violins or the flutes, adding sparkle and brilliance to the overall sound because of the aforementioned one-octave transposition upwards. In concert band settings, the piccolo is almost always used and a piccolo part is almost always available.