Definition of celesta in English:



  • A small keyboard instrument in which felted hammers strike a row of steel plates suspended over wooden resonators, giving an ethereal bell-like sound.

    • ‘She invokes strong rhythms and uses the percussion section effectively throughout the work, including bells, piano, triangle - and celesta.’
    • ‘Webern's original intention for op.24 was to write a piano concerto, and the preliminary sketches are for a large and colourful orchestra, including mandolin, glockenspiel, celesta, harp and piccolo.’
    • ‘It has an often light orchestration, with lots of harp, tinkly percussion, and celesta and even harpsichord (which sounded, to my ears, a bit wrong for a late 19 th-century American salon).’
    • ‘The work is scored for strings (both a string orchestra and a quartet, spatially separated), vibraphones, celesta, bells, and harp.’
    • ‘It gives you the courage to play celesta, vibraphone, whatever.’
    • ‘Virtually the entire score is for piano, sometimes four hands; there are also occasional passages involving electronic effects (principally echo) and others for celesta.’
    • ‘The scoring is for cello soloist, percussionists, celesta, and chamber choir (six sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses).’
    • ‘A more sophisticated keyboard metallophone is the celesta.’
    • ‘To accompany Oberon, he uses the celesta, the same instrument he connects to Quint in The Turn of the Screw.’
    • ‘In the first section we hear a solo harpsichord; in the second, piano layers the harpsichord; and in the third, a celesta and chimes join in.’
    • ‘The first movement's short ‘introduction’ is dominated by a characteristic ‘chiming’ texture, with crotales and celesta.’
    • ‘From time to time, the unending song, gently driven on by two solo violins, is punctuated by the even rapping of a woodblock and the pretty chiming of a celesta.’
    • ‘In the middle part of this one-movement work there is some ponderous yet colorful music, that features some very interesting and delicate writing in various passages for reeds, horn and celesta.’
    • ‘Percussion plays a major role, particularly what Grainger called ‘tuneful percussion,’ chimes, glockenspiels, tuned gongs, celestas, xylophones, and so on.’
    • ‘Quaternion for orchestra and piano/celesta explores four different ways of combining the orchestra with the piano (replaced by celesta in the second movement).’
    • ‘The second movement is even more luscious, with languorous harmony and much lyrical writing for divided strings supported by a shimmering texture of harps and celesta.’
    • ‘The editor of the volume gives herself the plum job of dealing not only with the great string quartets but also the marvellous Music for strings, percussion and celesta.’


Late 19th century: pseudo-Latin, based on French céleste ‘heavenly’.