The piccolo oboe, also known as the piccoloboe and historically called an oboe musette (or just musette), is the smallest and highest pitched member of the oboe family. Pitched in E-flat or F above the regular oboe (which is a C instrument), the piccolo oboe is a sopranino version of the oboe, comparable to the E-flat clarinet.
(Note: This musical instrument should not be confused with the similarly named musette, which is bellows-blown and characterized by a drone.)
Piccolo oboes are produced by the French makers F. Lorée and Marigaux (pitched in F) and the Italian firm Fratelli Patricola (pitched in E-flat). Lorée calls its instrument piccolo oboe or oboe musette (in F), while Marigaux and Patricola call their instruments simply oboe musette. As of 2006, a new instrument typically sells for US$6,000-7,500.
The instrument has found the most use in chamber and contemporary music, where it is valued for its unusual tone colour. It is also employed in double-reed ensembles such as Amoris, and in film scoring. Perhaps the best-known pieces requiring piccolo oboe are Solo for Oboe Instruments (1971) and Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra No. 2, both by Bruno Maderna, as well as Ar-Loth (1967) by Paolo Renosto.