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(It., Fr. céleste).

Small kbd. instr. not unlike glockenspiel. Patented in Paris by Auguste Mustel in 1886, his father Victor having constructed the instrument. Series of steel plates (suspended over wooden resonators) which are struck by hammers when keys are depressed, giving ethereal bell‐like sound. Range of 4 octaves upwards from middle C. Possibly first used by Widor in his ballet La korrigane (1880) and first used outside France in 1892 by Tchaikovsky in ‘Dance of the Sugar‐Plum Fairy’ in Nutcracker ballet. Many others have used it since, notably Bartók in Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. First used in sym. by Mahler in his 6th (1903–5).

Subjects: Music.

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