The Pacific Symphony musicians love talking with our audience and patrons! Often, our fans have many great questions about our instruments, our lives, and our jobs. Here are a few of the questions we hear, each one answered by one of your favorite musicians from the symphony!

Question: What is it like to play piccolo in the PSO? 

 Answer by Cindy Ellis, Flute/Piccolo

One thing for sure, the piccolo is the smallest, yet the most heard, instrument in the woodwind family. In fact the word ‘piccolo’ is Italian for ‘small’…it’s also the only instrument that is named by an adjective rather than a noun!

The instrument is self transposing, in other words, it sounds one octave higher than it’s written pitches. It is made out of  Grenadilla wood, the same African hardwood used to make oboes and clarinets.

Because of the high pitches, and accompanying perception of volume, I have always been sensitive to the second violin section seated immediately to my right. If we play a Shostakovich symphony, or something with prolonged high note passages. it is not uncommon for the violin players closest to me to find a cupcake or other  home baked treat on their chairs at rehearsals. Great baking makes great neighbors….Because I truly love them for their patience with their noisy neighbor next door in the flute section! Oh yeah…and I always remind them to have their ear plugs handy too!

Question: What is the difference between a violin and a fiddle?

Answer by MarlaJoy Weishaar, Second Violin

A violin has four strings, and a fiddle has fowor strangs! (Really, they are the same instrument, but the bridge may be less round on a fiddle in order to have multiple notes with a bass drone played at the same time. Also, the values of the instruments can vary a lot, and of course the styles of music played on each are different.)