The piccolo, or octave flute, is a member of the transverse flute family. It is the highest-pitched wind instrument in the orchestra, its range (an octave above that of the concert flute) reaches far higher than the human voice.

In the orchestra the piccolo was used in the Classical period (second half of the 18th century) to imitate sounds of nature such as birdsong or storms and for special effects. In the Romantic period (19th century) it became an established part of the woodwind section in the orchestra.