How to Play the Celesta
Celestas are basically played like pianos
How are celestas similar to pianos? How are they different?
Celestas and glockenspiels both use the same action mechanism as a grand piano. This means that anyone who practices the piano should be able to play either of these instruments.
However, in order to skillfully reproduce the metallic and gentle timbre of the celesta, a player needs to make skillful use of the pedal to make the sound reverberate. Celesta pedals generally function in the same manner as piano pedals, but should be skillfully used in order to bring out the characteristic reverberation of the celesta.
Compared with a Japanese koto, celestas produce a gentler sound with more reverberation, for a clear and beautiful sound.
Although it varies by instrument, many celestas have a range of between four to five and a half octaves. There are also situations where a celesta with a certain range is specified to play a piece of music.
Time to enjoy a famous piece and hear how beautiful the celesta is
Let's listen to a single phrase from Mozart's "The Magic Flute," as played by the same glockenspiel as used by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a perfect example of the gorgeous timbre of the celesta, and it expertly conjures up a feeling of a spell being cast.