The keyboard glockenspiel (French: jeu de timbre) is an instrument consisting of a glockenspiel operated by a piano keyboard. It was first used by Handel in the oratorio Saul (1739), and later in the 1739 revivals of his Il Trionfo del Tempo and Acis and Galatea, and the next year in L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Half a century later, Mozart employed a strumento d’acciaio in The Magic Flute (1791) to represent Papageno's magic bells, and this instrument is believed to have been a keyboard glockenspiel. This part is nowadays taken by a celesta. Maurice Ravel preferred the keyboard version of the instrument because it can play a true ff dynamic for brilliance and iridescence in orchestral climaxes. In the late 20th century, the firm of Bergerault began manufacturing a three-octave (F2–E4) mallet instrument with a damping mechanism operated by a foot pedal, which is capable of dealing with the wide range called for in contemporary scores.
More recently it has been used by:
- Blades, James, and James Holland. 2001. "Glockenspiel (i)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
- Schuller, Gunther. 1997. The Compleat Conductor. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195126610.