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The Twinkling Sound Of The Celesta

Jun 6, 2008
When first looking at a celesta, one might assume that it is a miniature piano. While it looks like a piano and it works in much the same way that a piano does, it is not a piano. The celesta, or celeste, is a percussion instrument that is played by pressing the keys on the keyboard. When each key is pressed, the hammer that it is attached to strikes a metal plate, which causes the plate to vibrate and make the sound that one hears. Like the piano, the celesta has a pedal that is used to either prolong the sound or to dampen it and shorten the sound; however, there is one model of the celesta that does not have the pedal.

There are three main models of the celesta, known as the fourth octave model, the fifth octave model and the third octave model. The fourth and the fifth octave models are the ones that have the pedal that the musician can use to lengthen the vibrations or dampen the sound. The third octave model is the one that does not have the pedal.

It can be mistakenly thought that the celesta is an extremely old instrument, but it was only first created in the late 19th century. The biggest improvement or change in the construction of the celesta would probably be the metal plates. The original celestas used tuning forks instead of the metal plates that are used in more recent models.

In more recent times, during the late 1920s and on, the celesta has been adopted by many well-known jazz musicians. It was an alternative instrument for them that was perfect for the kind of music they used to play. Some musicians who used the celesta for jazz include, McCoy Tyner, Fats Waller, Spud Murphy and Johnny Costa.

Many young musicians who are new to music may not have heard of the celesta, though many musicians who have studied jazz and earlier music will be somewhat familiar with it. The few who are familiar with the celesta will often view it as an instrument from the past that no longer has a place in the music world today. While music has changed and the celesta may not be as used as much as other instruments, it still has a place. Anyone interested in jazz can easily find a place for it, though there is always the opportunity to reintroduce it into another genre if someone becomes bold enough to try.

Someone interested in the celesta would most likely have to learn outside of school, because it could be more costly to acquire than a regular brass instrument. Learning how to play the instrument is not very difficult, especially for someone who has experience in playing the piano. As is true with most instruments, regardless of how easy it is to learn how to play an instrument, practice is key to improving one's playing. It could be a very good instrument for someone who is looking for a hobby, though, someone who is looking for an instrument to perform with, could also benefit.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments. You can find the best marketplace for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments at these sites for used celesta CDs, autographed celesta CDs, and used celestas.
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