An idiophone with a keyboard which looks somewhat like a piano

The "Celesta" is a musical instrument renowned for its unique sound, which resembles the soft and bell-like tones. It consists of metal bars that are struck by hammers when keys are pressed, producing a shimmering and ethereal sound similar to a glockenspiel or a music box.

Originating in the late 19th century, the Celesta is a keyboard instrument that introduced composers to a novel and distinct timbre to enrich their compositions. Its name is derived from the French word "céleste", meaning "heavenly", which fittingly captures the instrument's delicate and enchanting sound.

Constructed within a wooden case, the Celesta houses metal bars, each corresponding to a specific pitch. Depression of a key prompts a hammer to strike the relevant metal bar, resulting in a resonant, bell-like sound. The instrument accommodates both sustained tones and briefer, more percussive sounds.

The Celesta's timbre often evokes an ambiance of magic, mystery, or nostalgia within music. It has found a place in compositions across genres, from classical to film scores. One of its most iconic appearances is in Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker" ballet.

Notated on the treble clef, the Celesta's sound is instantly recognizable due to its ethereal and twinkling quality. Its presence enhances orchestras and ensembles, offering a distinctive sonic palette capable of creating contrasts and infusing compositions with an otherworldly charm.

Example of Celesta

Introducing: The Celeste