/seuh les"teuh/, n.a musical instrument consisting principally of a set of graduated steel plates struck with hammers that are activated by a keyboard.[1895-1900; < F célesta, for céleste, lit., heavenly (see CELESTIAL); the -a for -e makes the name pseudo-It]
* * *also spelled celeste,orchestral percussion instrument resembling a small upright piano, patented by a Parisian, Auguste Mustel, in 1886. It consists of a series of small metal bars (and hence is a metallophone) with a keyboard and a simplified piano action in which small felt hammers strike the bars. Each bar is resonated by a wooden box or similar chamber tuned to reinforce the fundamental harmonic (component tone) of the bar. A pedal lifts a felt-pad damper from the bars, permitting use of either sustained or short notes. The normal range is four octaves upward from middle C.The typophone, a similar, softer-toned instrument with graduated steel tuning forks instead of bars, is sometimes mistakenly called a celesta. It was invented by Mustel's father, Victor, in 1865 and patented, with improvements, in 1868.
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