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). It was also used 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 sometimes 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, the keyboard glockenspiel has been used by:
- Richard Wagner in his opera Die Walküre
- Giacomo Meyerbeer in his opera L'Africaine
- Léo Delibes in his opera Lakmé
- Jules Massenet in his oratorio La Vierge
- Giacomo Puccini in his operas Turandot and Madama Butterfly
- Richard Strauss in his tone-poem Don Juan
- Paul Dukas in The Sorcerer's Apprentice
- Maurice Ravel in Daphnis et Chloé and Ma mère l'oye
- Ottorino Respighi in the Pines of Rome
- Arthur Honegger in his Fourth Symphony
- Olivier Messiaen in his Turangalîla-Symphonie (where it appears along with celesta)
- Karlheinz Stockhausen in his Gruppen (1955–57), some versions of Refrain (1959) and Punkte (1969–93).
- Gryphon on their albums Midnight Mushrumps (1974) and Raindance (1975).
Position in the orchestra
Owing to the skills required of the player, the keyboard glokenspiel is placed in the keyboard section of the orchestra rather than the percussion section, and is similarly not regarded as a keyboard percussion instrument. It is however regarded as pitched percussion in organology.
- Blades and Holland 2001.
- http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/percussions/celesta/an_overview_of_yamaha_celestas/?mode=model retrieved 13 March 2012
- Schuller 1997, 472.
- Blades and Holland 2001.
- 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.
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