Meaning of celesta in English:


Pronunciation /sɪˈlɛstə/


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

    ‘A more sophisticated keyboard metallophone is the celesta.’
    • ‘Percussion plays a major role, particularly what Grainger called ‘tuneful percussion,’ chimes, glockenspiels, tuned gongs, celestas, xylophones, and so on.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To accompany Oberon, he uses the celesta, the same instrument he connects to Quint in The Turn of the Screw.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first movement's short ‘introduction’ is dominated by a characteristic ‘chiming’ texture, with crotales and celesta.’
    • ‘Quaternion for orchestra and piano/celesta explores four different ways of combining the orchestra with the piano (replaced by celesta in the second movement).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The scoring is for cello soloist, percussionists, celesta, and chamber choir (six sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses).’
    • ‘She invokes strong rhythms and uses the percussion section effectively throughout the work, including bells, piano, triangle - and celesta.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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