Invented over 125 years ago, the celesta remains a nicely obscure yet fascinating instrument: It sports a vibrant, mellow and charming sound remeniscent of a vibra- phone, glockenspiel, marimba and a piano – yet a sound of its own. The celesta offers rich harmonics and bell-like tone that chimes with force. At that time, it was inspiring to those looking for a new sound – Tschaikowsky wrote some parts of his Nutcracker for a celesta. Back then, no one had ever dreamt that a celesta would be as relevant today as ever – being the acoustic ancestor of the most popular vintage electric pianos, which share the same basic sound principles. Providing a warm and full bass, it carries more weight than a toy piano and is great for any track demanding an unconsumed yet familiar sound.
This instrument out of the Beurmann collection was built in Stuttgart, Germany, around 1960.
It cost a fortune, and it still does when buying a new one.
The steel plates are oppositely placed in the housing instead of juxtaposed placement.
The result: Neighbouring keys find their tones evolved from throughout the stereo image. Recording the dynamic shades of the instrument, we recorded every note with 16 different samples.
The release sounds got captured as well, providing 8 varitions of each key release sound to complete the virtual celesta.
The sample library contains nearly 1200 single samples.
For the critical task of recording the celesta, we employed custom-made WagnerTM U47w® tube microphones in conjunction with Crane SongTM Flamingo® preamps and Universal AudioTM 2192® digital converters to do the instrument justice. For maximum sound quality, we recorded in 192 kHz/24 bits resolution, downsampled to 44.1 kHz/24 bits.