The celesta was invented at the end of the 19th century after several experiments and immediately found inclusion in the orchestra. It possesses an interesting dual character: the way its sound is produced makes it a percussion instrument (idiophone), but it is played as a keyboard instrument, usually by a pianist. Celesta parts are lively and quick and often require great virtuosity.
The name is derived from the French céleste, meaning “heavenly”. As with the names of many other instruments this appellation also alludes to the timbre and symbolism.
Idiophone with definite pitch, metallophone, keyboard instrument
Height: 110 cm,
width: approx. 100 cm,
depth: 60 cm
Piano keys for sound production.
Mechanical device that raises the dampers.
From 50–130 kg depending on size and range.
Below each metal bar there is a resonator box, made of wood and formed corresponding to the relevant pitch
Wood core wrapped in felt. As the pitch gets deeper the felt gets thicker to produce a warmer sound.
Chromatic, usually tuned to 442 hertz equal temperament (between 442–446 hertz depending on the tuning pitch of the orchestra)