The possibilities of some musical instruments can surprise even the most sophisticated listeners. The extraordinarily gentle sound of celesta is compared to the ringing of crystal bells.
Translated from the Italian keyboard percussion instrument "celesta" or "celesta" means "heavenly". Outwardly, it resembles a small piano, and is arranged according to its principle. Celesta is often included in orchestras.
Birth of a novelty
Touching the keys by the performer sets the hammers in motion. They hit tiny platforms of their metal fixed to wooden resonators. The clavier created in 1788 by Klaggett is called the prototype of the amazing novelty.
The Frenchman Mustel perfected the Englishman's invention, calling modernization dulciton. The son of the master Auguste replaced the tuning forks with plates. In 1866, Mustel Jr. received a patent for his version of the instrument called the celesta.
Two years later, the novelty sounded for the first time as part of a symphony orchestra. Chassen used the celesta to perform a composition based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. In Paris, the crystal sound struck Tchaikovsky.
It impressed the composer so much that he decided to use the abilities of the French invention in his ballad "Voivode" and the New Year's ballet "The Nutcracker" to imitate the ringing of water drops falling from the fountain in a solo of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Gustav Mahler used the celesta in the performance of Song of the Earth and several symphonies. The instrument in the "Planets" suite by Canvas creates a special flavor. Heavenly bells are also heard in the operas of Schrecker, Glass, Britten, and Shostakovich's symphonies.
I could not ignore the promising new items and Bartok. Successfully "heavenly" music replaced the glass harmonica, for which the parts were created by the composers of the "golden age". Notes for her are written an octave below the real sound.
In the twenties of the last century, celesta entered jazz music. It was first used by Carmichael and Hynes. Waller played the instrument with one hand while playing the piano part with the other.
Growth in popularity
The melodic jingle of bells is heard in the works of Monk, Tyner, Hancock, Ellington, Tatum, Peterson and Lewis. Currently, she is usually used in chamber music ensembles, including parts for her pop and rock groups in their works. More and more composers are composing solo parts for this amazing instrument.
The advantage of this remarkable invention is that it only needs one setting at the request of the musician. Additional ones, like grand pianos or pianos, are not needed.
Early celestas were equipped with a pedal in the middle of the body to improve the volume. The production was carried out by the company of the inventor in France, as well as by the companies of Morlay in England and Brose in the USA. Production ceased several decades ago.
Out of time
The device was upgraded by Schidmeier. He moved the pedal from an unusual place for pianists to the right. Since 1890, the production of the instrument began in his factories, complemented by the constant improvement of sound and mechanism.
Since the keys were too tight, they produced only short sounds, this did not suit the performers. Schidmeier proposed a keyboard with a familiar length that facilitates playback and delivers nuanced sound.
The Schiedmeier manufactory remains the only manufacturer in the world. Hearing the same unique sound is possible thanks to the special Mustel mechanics.