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celesta

[suh-les-tuh] /səˈlɛs tə/
noun
1.
a musical instrument consisting principally of a set of graduated steel plates struck with hammers that are activated by a keyboard.
Origin
1895-1900
1895-1900; < French célesta, for céleste, literally, heavenly (see celestial); the -a for -e makes the name pseudo-Italian
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for celesta

celesta

/sɪˈlɛstə/
noun
1.
(music) a keyboard percussion instrument consisting of a set of steel plates of graduated length that are struck with key-operated hammers. The tone is an ethereal tinkling sound. Range: four octaves upwards from middle C
Word Origin
C19: from French, Latinized variant of céleste heavenly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for celesta

orchestral percussion instrument resembling a small upright piano, patented by a Parisian, Auguste Mustel, in 1886. It consists of a series of small metal bars (and hence is a metallophone) with a keyboard and a simplified piano action in which small felt hammers strike the bars. Each bar is resonated by a wooden box or similar chamber tuned to reinforce the fundamental harmonic (component tone) of the bar. A pedal lifts a felt-pad damper from the bars, permitting use of either sustained or short notes. The normal range is four octaves upward from middle C

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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