All about the celesta
The instrument with the heavenly sound
The celesta instrument (from the French “cèleste” for “heavenly”) is an idiophone with a keyboard which looks somewhat like a piano. The celesta musical instrument, also called celeste instrument, was invented in 1886 by Victor Mustel and the warm sound resembles a combination of a glockenspiel and a metallophone.
A unique mechanism with a keyboard, felt hammers, steel plates and wooden resonators is crucial for the sound production. Although it is a keyboard instrument, the celesta belongs to the family of percussion instruments, but is usually played by a pianist.
Unfortunately, there are many misleading and incorrect representations of the celesta instrument, its history and its action mechanism in music literature. Even the so-called classical reference works are often incorrect.
Breakthrough and Reaction
Design and Characteristics
Notation and Range
Use and literature
The celesta in the orchestra
Entering the Movie Theaters
The Schiedmayer Celestas
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely again on behalf of the State Opera House, Vienna for the wonderful instrument we purchased from your company. The dynamic spectrum of your Celesta is incredibly wide and it is especially pleasing that the touch even in piano always is reliable and very well balanced. It is a great joy to play important Celesta parts, for instance like the “Rosenkavalier”, on the new instrument. Thank you very much!”
“We are very happy for the instrument, in fact I have to tell you, we had a player few weeks ago who actually is the former pianist in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and now the orchestra pianist in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Stockholm, and he said that he never had played on such a good celesta, with so beautiful sound.”
“As a composer, producer, engineer, and recording artist, my entire career has been devoted to bringing music to life through unique and signature sounds. Ever since my first album release on Atlantic records, I have been traveling the world collecting and recording instruments from all genres of music. From the moment I discovered a Schiedmayer celeste, I was transfixed. The hypnotic universe that is created from playing this remarkable instrument is beyond description. It is a completely transportive experience that inspires and invites you on vast musical journeys. The richness, subtlety and intimacy, the precision of the tone, and especially the feel of the instrument is unrivaled. Without question, I consider my Schiedmayer 5 1/2 Octave studio celeste an essential part of my writing and recording process.”
“The instrument arrived safely and the Orchestra as a whole (musicians, directors, conductors etc.) are delighted with the quality and beauty of the Celesta. Me too, since I am proud of working with Schiedmayer.”
“Thank you for all your help. All the keyboard players I spoke with in UK orchestras said that Schiedmayer celestes were absolutely the highest industry standard unmatched by anyone else.”