The Celesta – Keyboard Instruments

The name “celesta” derives from the French term céleste, meaning “heavenly”. After multiple experiments, the celesta appeared by the end of the 19th century and quickly found its place in the orchestra. It’s an interesting instrument with a dual...

The Tam-Tam – Orchestral Percussions

In addition to the bass drum and timpani, the tam-tam adds an additional member to the orchestra bass percussion section. Even though it boasts similarities to the gong, one should not confuse both instruments since there is a range of important variations in their...

The Glockenspiel – Orchestral Mallets

The name glockenspiel means “bell play” in German. It refers to the sound of small bells. Indeed, the very first instruments to bear this name consisted of a set of exactly that. They were either played by a group of musicians, a style which is called...

The Xylophone – Orchestral Mallets

The term xylophone derives from two ancient Greek words which mean wood and tone. Its name has been in use for decades. A series of wooden bars of different lengths arranged according to pitch and struck with mallets essentially comprise this instrument. Nowadays, the...

The Vibraphone – Orchestral Percussions

The most recent addition to the repertoire of orchestral percussion instruments is the vibraphone (also known as the vibraharp or vibes), with its early origins dating back to the vaudeville era of the 1920s. The onomatopoeic name vibraphone refers to the vibrating...