Celesta - Sound characteristics
Silvery, glistening, ethereal, sweet, wafting, bright, lustrous, shimmering, bell-like, mellow, soft, velvety, sensitive, golden, glassy, pure, fragile.
The celesta’s timbre consists of the attack and very long resonance.
A comparison between the sound of the celesta and the glockenspiel
- The celesta sounds warmer and rounder than the glockenspiel.
- Its resonance is long and is reinforced by the resonator boxes.
- The timbre lies somewhere between the glockenspiel and the glass harmonica.
- The sound is not loud.
A comparison with the sound of the piano
- Although the celesta is touch responsive (the harder the attack, the louder the note) it is far less so than the piano. Its dynamic range is therefore limited.
- A hard attack results in a somewhat piercing sound, and for this reason the celesta is used mostly for soft and gentle passages.
- The celesta is a relatively quiet instrument and cannot make itself heard in an entire orchestra.
- The resonance of its notes is similar to that of the piano in the same registers, though a little shorter. Lower notes resound for longer than high ones.
- A differentiation of registers on the celesta is not really possible, the timbre is relatively homogeneous over the entire compass. The lowest notes do sound particularly rich and warm, the higher notes especially bright, however.